2010 (Senior):HEADER DA'SEAN CHRISTOPHER BUTLER Small Forward/Power Forward West Virginia University Mountaineers #1 6:06.6-229 Newark, New Jersey Bloomfield Technical High School
OVERVIEW After four seasons and 146 games, 4,491 minutes on the court, 2,095 points, it all came down to nine minutes. That was all that stood in the way for this All-American and Wooden Award finalist to reach his goal of taking the Mountaineers to the national title game.
With 8:59 left to play in the Mountaineers' loss to Duke in the NCAA Tournament semifinals, Butler drove to the basket and collided with Blue Devils center Brian Zoubek. Moments later the senior was on his back clutching his left knee, grimacing from the pain. The athletic swingman, who had added more than 30 pounds to his frame since coming to West Virginia, had to be helped off the court after suffering a left knee anterior cruciate ligament tear, a medial collateral ligament sprain and two bone bruises.
There would be no Chicago pre-draft camp for the athletic forward whose 741 field goals made and 14.3-point scoring average proved that he can certainly get to the basket. There would be no workouts for teams leading up to the 2010 NBA Draft for this outstanding shooter whose 800 rebounds showed that he could also be solid on the boards.
Instead, Butler would continue to be a tireless worker in the gymnasium, taking the long road to recovery from an injury that could possibly see him miss at least part of the 2010-11 NBA season.
"I've learned from all of this that I can take a lot," Butler said. "I was pretty much at the highest point I could be when I was in the Final Four and then this happened."
An injury of this severity seemed to spell the end of Butler's dream of hearing his named read by NBA commissioner David Stern. But in a turn of character that speaks volumes about his maturity -- a maturity that is far beyond his years -- Butler immediately began to focus on what he needed to do in order to return to form.
"Teams gave me feedback as far as I would fit their system and I'm the kind of guy they'd love to have on their team," Butler said. "It wasn't so much about basketball as it was about me being a person they wanted, which is a good thing to hear."
What he hopes is that league general managers look at all that he has accomplished in four seasons with the Mountaineers.
As a senior, Butler established career highs in scoring (17.2 points per game), rebounding (6.2 rebounds per game) and assists (3.1 assists per game) while minimizing his turnovers (68 from 81 the previous season), the senior emerged as the go-to option for a team that spent the regular season ranked among the top teams in the country and made a run to the Final Four. The quality of his play last year has proved to be a great source of comfort for Butler in an otherwise trying time.
Butler was on the court for 107 WVU victories during his career, the most by any Mountaineer in the history of the program. His 134 points scored in NCAA Tournament action is second-best among the school's record-holders, as his 2,095 points scored placed him behind Jerry West and Hot Rod Hundley on the team's all-time list.
2009-10 SEASON All-American first-team selection by John Wooden and Basketball Times, earning third-team honors from the NABC...Wooden Award Finalist and team MVP...Recipient of the university's Fred Schaus Captain's Award and Leland Byrd Leadership Award...All-Big East Conference first-team choice, adding Big East Championship Most Outstanding Player honors...Member of the NCAA East Region All-Tournament team...Winner of the Lowe's Senior CLASS award...Played a school-record 1,360 minutes and paced West Virginia with 119 assists (3.1 assists per game) and 37 steals (1.0 steals per game), leading WVU to its first NCAA Tournament semifinal since 1951...Led the Mountaineers in scoring with 654 points (17.2 points per game), making 208-of-503 field goals (41.4 percent), 70-of-198 three-pointers (35.4 percent) and 168-of-213 free throws (78.9 percent)...Pulled down 237 rebounds (6.2 rebounds per game) and blocked 15 shots...Helped WVU win a school-record 31 games, as five of those victories included game-winning baskets he converted, including a three-pointer as time expired vs. Cincinnati in the Big East quarterfinals and a lay-up with 4.2 seconds vs. Georgetown in the Big East finals.
2008-09 SEASON All-Big East second-team selection...Started all 35 games, as the team MVP led the Mountaineers in scoring (17.1 points per game) and finished second in rebounding (5.9 rebounds per game)...Totaled 600 points behind 212-of-494 field goals (42.9 percent), 62-of-177 treys (35.0 percent) and made 114-of-150 shots from the foul line (76.0 percent)...Had 12 games of 20 or more points and four double-double performances...Snatched 208 rebounds to go with 60 assists (1.7 assists per game), 45 steals (1.3 steals per game) and 10 blocked shots, but also turned the ball over a career-high 81 times...His 43 points vs. Villanova was the most scored by a Big East player since 2003.
2007-08 SEASON Started all 37 games, finishing third on the team in scoring (12.9 points per game) and second in rebounding (6.2 rebounds per game)...Scored in double figures in 28 games and had three double-double performances, as he tallied 479 points...Connected on 49.5 percent of his field goals (186-of-376), 36.6 percent from three-point range (34-of-93) and 64.0 percent from the charity stripe (73-of-114)...Collected 228 rebounds, 64 assists (1.7 assists per game), 26 steals (0.7 steals per game) and blocked seven shots.
2006-07 SEASON Butler was a key reserve as a true freshman, coming off the bench in all 36 games...Was named to the Big East Conference All-Rookie Team...Scored 362 points (10.1 points per game), hitting on 48.0 percent of his field goals, including 39-of-113 from three-point range and delivered on 66.3 percent of his free throw chances...Averaged 3.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 1.3 steals per game.
CAREER NOTES Butler produced 108 games with at least ten points, the school career-record. His 741 field goals rank third, his 205 three-pointers rank fourth, his 408 free throws made placed fifth, his 800 rebounds are good for 11th and his 154 steals are 12th in school annals...Ranks third in school annals with 2,095 points.
HIGH SCHOOL Attended Bloomfield (N.J.) Technical High School, earning All-State honors after scoring 15.1 points per game as a senior...Led the team in rebounding at 11.0 boards per contest and scored 1,044 career points...Helped the team win 97 games, three NJSIAA Group I titles and the 2006 Essex County tournament... Averaged 15.7 points per game as a junior, earning first-team All-Essex County accolades in each of his final two seasons...Named Essex County Player of the Year in 2006...Also played in the Jordan All-American Classic regional game and competed in AAU basketball for the New Jersey Elite.
PERSONAL Multidisciplinary Studies major...Member of the West Virginia Athletic Director's Academic Honor Roll...Son of Koreena Butler and Ira Puryear...Born 1/27/88 in Jersey City, New Jersey...Resides in Newark, New Jersey.
SCOUTING REPORT Positives: Compensates for a lack of quickness and athleticism with solid basketball IQ...Uses his long arms to get to rebounds and elevate his shot over the arms of a defender...Sets his feet and has a quick release executing his mid-range jumper...Scans the floor well looking for space to create his shot...Displays good hands for guards to feed him on catch-and-shoot situations...Shows developed muscle tone and adequate strength to play power forward, but with his mid-range scoring ability, he might be a better fit at small forward in the NBA as his body continues to mature...Active under the basket, using his length and elevation to secure the rebound...Works well without the ball in his hands and gets most of his points facing the basket...Has enough range to connect from three-point range...Tireless worker who will do the little things to help the team...Shows no hesitation attacking the rim, contorting his body to draw contact on the way to the basket...Finishes well in transition and when he parks himself beyond the arc, he can force his man out of the paint...Has the long arms and good hands to feather the ball into the basket over bigger defenders...Sets his feet and squares his shoulders as a shooter, showing a high release point that defenders rarely block...Has enough elevation going to the rim to be an effective dunker.
Negatives: Lacks athleticism and court quickness...His adequate speed will be further reduced as he recovers from left knee surgery...He averaged 3.1 assists last season with most of his turnovers coming because of his high dribble...Struggles trying to shoot off the dribble...His injury could sideline him for the beginning of the 2010-11 season...Lacks the ability to create his shot and lacks the passing ability to create shots for others...For a frontcourt player, he will need to greatly improve his leaping ability...Despite good weight-room strength, he can be handled by bigger defenders...Has increased his bulk, but must dedicate time in the weight room to add strength needed to take on small forwards at the next level...Often beaten by quicker wings and slashers, as he lacks the lateral movement to stay in front of the shooter.
--Report by Dave' Te-Thomas
Compares To: CARON BUTLER, Dallas -- No relation to the Mavericks' small forward but has a game akin to Caron Butler's -- good court savvy, a nice mid-range jumper and a knack for coming up with clutch plays. The left knee (ACL) surgery might keep Butler out of the draft, especially if teams feel that he won't be ready for the start of the season, but he could be a hot free agent commodity.