2012-2013 Overall Rank: #66
Conference Rank: #6 Atlantic 10
Butler Team Page
Butler split for the Atlantic 10, along with fellow Cinderella regular VCU, joining a conference that is loaded with talented basketball programs. Coach Brad Stevens is ready for the challenge and the Bulldogs should now have the luxury of being seriously considered for at-large berths if they manage to stay towards the top of their new conference. Butler has won games with their backcourt during their Horizon League days, but now the frontcourt will need to do more to battle with, in general, better post players. For now that should not be a problem with Andrew Smith and Khyle Marshall returning. Smith is a big, experienced center who led the Bulldogs with 10.9 points last season and added 5.2 rebounds. At 6-11 and 243 pounds, Smith has the bulk and strength to make some noise in the paint. Marshall is undersized for his new league, standing 6-6 and 216 pounds. However, he is a fine interior scorer and can step outside and knock down the midrange jumper. The daily grind of the A-10 may take its toll on Marshall sooner or later.
2011-12 Record: 22-15, 11-7
2011-12 Postseason: CBIT
Coach: Brad Stevens
Coach Record: 139-40 at Butler, 139-40 overall
The frontcourt loses a little depth with the graduation of Garrett Butcher. When healthy, Butcher was a fine interior player, but he was rarely healthy. The biggest loss is Ronald Nored. Nored could do a bit of everything and do it very well. During his senior season he averaged 7.8 points, 5.2 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.8 steals. Those numbers may be replaceable by a handful of players, but his leadership will be much more difficult to replicate.
The freshmen are a great group, but the addition of Rotnei Clarke, a transfer from Arkansas, takes away a little of their thunder. Clarke made a huge impact for the Razorbacks ever since he arrived on campus. As a freshman back in 2008-2009, he averaged 12.2 points per game. A year later Clarke was hitting just about everything he threw up at the basket. On the year he connected on 3.2 three-pointers per game and made 42.7 percent of his attempts. By his junior campaign Clarke shot 44.0 percent from long range and averaged 15.2 points per game. After sitting out last season, Clarke should make a huge contribution at Butler. His superb shooting skills will fit right in with Coach Stevens’ offense and Clarke should have no trouble finding open looks. If it was not for Clarke, Kellen Dunham would be making a splash at the shooting guard spot. At 6-6, Dunham can easily play at the three spot in Butler’s scheme. At this point in his career, Dunham is mostly a pure shooter. With his size, he will be a tough matchup off of the bench as a freshman. Point guard Chris Harrison-Docks and wing Devontae Morgan will likely have to bide their time, but both are quality recruits with plenty of potential. That potential will be realized in a year or two.
Who to Watch:
Clarke will step into a starting spot on the perimeter, but the key for this group will be replacing Nored, or at least his ability to run the show. Chrishawn Hopkins, who started 24 games last season, will likely take over the point guard duties. Hopkins is a fine scorer, but he will have to work at keeping his turnovers down. There are more choices at point guard, most notably Jackson Aldridge. The 6-0 sophomore was eased into things last season and averaged just 13.7 minutes per game. He is a very talented point guard, but he really never showed much of his potential as a freshman. Chase Stigall was a part-time starter in 2011-2012, but most of his offense came from long range and he was horribly inconsistent shooting during his junior campaign. Roosevelt Jones had a lot of pressure on him to perform as a freshman. He was a top flight recruit and did not disappoint. The small forward averaged 7.8 points and a team high 6.0 rebounds last season and, with a year of experience under his belt, the expectations are rising quickly for Jones. And Jones has the talent to have a huge, breakout season.
The Bulldogs frontcourt is in good shape with Smith and Marshall leading the way, but Coach Stevens will need a couple more bruisers who can play 15 to 20 minutes per game. Kameron Woods and Erik Fromm will look to fill that role yet again. Woods is a quality rebounder, but he needs to develop his interior scoring skills. As a 6-8 sophomore, he certainly has the potential to improve his offensive game. Woods is also the best shot blocker on the team, so the more minutes he can earn, the better for the Butler defense. Like Woods, Fromm is 6-8 and not shy about taking some long balls. Fromm, however, proved to be much more consistent when it comes to shooting. Coach Stevens has plenty of talent and experience with this group. A few underclassmen played a significant role for the Bulldogs last year and that is relatively rare for this program. That year of experience will go a long way, but the new conference will provide plenty of challenges.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Chrishawn Hopkins, Junior, Guard, 9.1 points per game
Rotnei Clarke, Senior, Guard, DNP last season
Roosevelt Jones, Sophomore, Forward, 7.8 points per game
Khyle Marshall, Junior, Forward, 9.8 points per game
Andrew Smith, Senior, Center, 10.9 points per game
Madness 2012 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#109 Kellen Dunham