View Full Version : Butler - The Next Zags?

12-14-2007, 11:53 PM
The Indianapolis Star (http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071215/SPORTS06/712150466)

December 15, 2007
wooden tradition

The next Zags?
Butler's ambition: Be consistent Top-25 program
By Mark Alesia

Hinkle Fieldhouse stands as the hub of Butler athletics, not to mention as a National Historic Landmark where John Wooden played basketball in high school and Jesse Owens sprinted in an indoor track meet.

But in his modest office at the 79-year-old building, Butler athletic director Barry Collier looks ahead, not behind. The former Bulldogs basketball coach ponders an ambitious future, guided in part by a philosophy stated on a poster in his window.

"It's not the size of the dog in the fight," the poster says. "It's the size of the fight in the dog."

"The Butler Way" is working again. Coming off their second Sweet Sixteen in the past five NCAA men's basketball tournaments, the Bulldogs are 8-1, ranked 18th and favored to take down yet another much bigger school, Florida State, in today's Wooden Tradition at Conseco Fieldhouse.

As usual, Butler is doing it with selfless, sharp-shooting, generally homegrown players who were passed over by traditional basketball powers.

Yet even as national television exposure remains modest, the success begs a question: Can Butler go even further, move beyond a feel-good, small school gem and become a consistent Top 25 program?

The path is there to follow, blazed by Gonzaga, a private school in Spokane, Wash., of similar enrollment (4,095 to Butler's 3,872), endowment and athletic budget.

Since stunning college basketball in 1999 by advancing to the Elite Eight, Gonzaga has sustained its success, virtually shedding the label of a "mid-major" program.

"If I mention Gonzaga too many times, I suppose you should strike me down," Collier said during an hour-long interview in his office this week, "but the fact is they're at a place where I could see us going."
It would be nicer and sweeter to be a school they could emulate if only they weren't so darned tough.

You can't root too hard for a team that sends that mean-looking character Drew Streicher out to attempt to confound the hoop dreams of our own Matty Bouldin:


More here (http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071215/SPORTS06/712150466)

12-15-2007, 01:09 AM
shoot the way their going they might just become the next Butler

Butler Guy
12-15-2007, 06:28 AM
People are always getting out in front of their skis trying to label things before it is appropriate, and this is no different.

The climate surrounding Butler in Indianapolis vis-a-vis Gonzaga in Spokane couldn't be more different. As the article stated, there are 10 D1 college basketball teams in the state, Indianapolis has a NBA team, a Super Bowl champion, and Hinkle Fieldhouse, while historic, wasn't built with modern amenities, that blue-star recruits seems to look for. Butler also is situated 45 minutes from both Purdue and Indiana. In short, there is a lot of competitive reasons reaching Gonzaga's consistent excellence is a bit like Sisyphus pushing his boulder up the hill.

We are happy just being the first Butler, but to even be mentioned in the same breath without it looking ridiculous as Gonzaga, is a great honor.

12-15-2007, 10:32 AM
I would love a home and home with Butler. Or better yet, a cozy relationship like we have with St. Joes. One reason I like the St. Joes series is because their fans think of it as a big event. Their coach said the most recent game on Hawk Hill was the "toughest ticket" in his tenure.

And Butler Guy is being a bit modest too :)

12-15-2007, 11:13 AM
Another difference is that GU success has been mostly predicated on getting under-the-radar players or transfers and the staff developing them. Butler is more of a system team - not that they don't have great players or develop them, but they try to bring in guys who fit into their system well and do a great job of it. So the mechanism for success is different, too. Butler's system allows them to thrive with all the other big-time programs in proximity to them.

Butler Guy
12-15-2007, 11:23 AM
Current scholarship players and how they got there:

Julian Betko - Sr - transferred from Clemson
Pete Campbell - Sr - transferred from IPFW
Mike Green - Sr - transferred from Towson
Avery Jukes - So - transferred from Alabama
Drew Streicher - Sr - walk-on @ 6'3" grew to 6'8" scholarship player
Elliot Englemann - So - LOI
AJ Graves - Sr - LOI
Shawn Vanzant - Sr- LOI
Matt Howard - Fr - LOI
Zach Hahn - Fr- LOI
Grant Leiendecker - Fr - LOI

Lots of transfers and under-the-radar guys...

12-15-2007, 03:12 PM
hey butler guy, not trying to get too far ahead, but looking at your list it looks like you guys might have trouble next year with 5 seniors graduating, including your best players...any impact transfers or stud frosh coming in? if not, the comparison to gonzaga's continued excellence may hit a bump in the road soon.

Butler Guy
12-15-2007, 05:36 PM

Thanks for asking. The 2008 class is very promising, highlighted by a leading candidate for Mr Basketball, 6'7" SF Garrett Butcher. Butcher chose Butler over IU and Purdue. The other two incoming freshman are 6'8" 2-guard Gordon Hayward who chose Butler over Purdue and Michigan. Hayward will likely redshirt to put some weight on, he was a 6'2" point guard 18 months ago and now is almost 6'9" and playing the 2. He has the potential to revolutionize a bit with some extra poundage; and Chase Stigall who is just another in a long line of New Castle, Indiana guards that have gone onto Butler. Stigall is a long-range bomber AND great athlete who plays off the bounce. All three will be Indiana All-Stars, in the KY vs IN series.

BU is also likely to add Devon Dumes who is rated the 29th best juco player in country. Dumes plays shooting guard for Vincennes CC and is from Indianapolis.

If Dumes is added, I think the starting lineup nest year will be Hahn, Dumes, Butcher, Jukes, Howard - and I think we will win the conference, but not have the pre-conference resume to be in the Top 25.

What I am really excited about is the 2009 class. As you might imagine, spending the last two years in the Top 15 has opened doors that were never open before. I actually could see a class that Rivals/Scout/etc ranks in their Top 25. It truly is exciting right now, which you all surely can relate with, the same sort of thing happened to the Zag program about 10 years ago.

12-15-2007, 10:00 PM
sometimes i wonder if i have this board confused with the butler or wku boards...

12-15-2007, 11:25 PM
sometimes i wonder if i have this board confused with the butler or wku boards...

We have much in common