Butch patient in reserve

Redshirt freshman's focus remains strong despite drop in minutes

Fans of the University of Wisconsin men's basketball team may be wondering: where's Brian Butch? The 6-foot-11 former McDonald's All American center redshirted last season, his first on campus, to get stronger and spend a year learning in practices. He has played a significant role in some of the Badgers' wins this season but is averaging just 12 minutes per game.

"It's a team aspect," Butch said. "When our number is called we've got to get in there and do it."

Butch played only four minutes in Wisconsin's 74-61 loss at Indiana Saturday evening with no points, no shot attempts and one rebound. In the Badgers' first Big Ten game, Jan. 5 at Purdue, he scored three points on one shot attempt—a made 3-pointer—with no rebounds in 11 minutes.

Certainly, the Appleton, Wis., native would like to be on the court. But Butch has not shown the slightest hint that he is unhappy with his playing time.

"Our job as a bench is just to be ready whenever our number is called," Butch said. "That's what we've got to do. We've got to bring energy off the bench and we've got to take care of it when we are in the game."

Butch established season bests in points (11), rebounds (9), minutes (20) and assists (2) in Wisconsin's win over UNC Greensboro Dec. 23. He followed that outing with a 7-point, 7-rebound performance in 13 minutes versus Western Carolina. In the past three games, however, he has averaged 1.7 points, 1.0 rebound and 8.0 minutes.

Regardless of how much playing time he receives, Butch spends his time on the bench focusing on the game and how he can help his teammates—whether he is on the floor or offering suggestions during timeouts.

"You are just looking at the game," Butch said. "You are seeing what they're doing. You are seeing a couple mistakes that our guys make where we can make adjustments on them. You are listening to coach. And you are just watching the game and learning from the game."

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