Sun., Jan. 25, 2015
Fri., Jan. 23, 2015
Thu., Jan. 22, 2015
Thu., Jan. 22, 2015
Wed., Jan. 21, 2015
Tue., Jan. 20, 2015
Tue., Jan. 20, 2015
Butler forward Garrett Butcher, an Edgewood grad who scored more points than any player in Monroe County history, has not played in a basketball game since March 9. You could tell on his face it was difficult not having a chance to help his team during its historic run to within one basket of the national title.
During that time, though, he dealt with other concerns. On some days, the pain and swelling in his knees got so bad he could not straighten his legs.
Butcher, who says he had no knee problems in high school, has developed a problem in both knees and will have surgery next Wednesday. Depending on what doctors find, he faces three to six months of recovery and rehabilitation time.
I spoke to Butcher shortly after Duke beat Butler 61-59 Monday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Q: What was going through your head as you saw Gordon Hayward’s last shot bounce out and Duke players storming the court?
A: It hurts to know that you’re close. Anytime, in that big of a game, when you’re so close but just not quite there, it almost makes it worse to know you lose like that. You’re one shot away, or the ball rolling in, and it changes the whole game.
Q: What did you see from your vantage point on Hayward’s final shot and the one right before it?
A: That’s what Gordon does. He makes big shots for us. I thought the first one was good. It was a little bit long. The half-court shot, so close to going in. It’s tough. Those are good shots at the end of the game like that.
Q: Did Duke do anything to throw off your game plan, or did it go how your coaches had planned?
A: I thought it went how we wanted to go. We wanted to stay tough on their three guys, and I think for the most part we did that as best as you can do that. You can’t shut those guys down, they’re too good. Offensively, we knew we could score and run our stuff and we did that throughout the game. We did what we needed to do, it just didn’t go our way at the end.
Q: What did coach (Brad) Stevens say to you in the locker room?
A: I think it was kinda hard on him. He wasn’t prepared to talk about losing this game because we all prepared to win. Just thanked the seniors, talked about us as a team and how this, win or lose, doesn’t make us different people, doesn’t change our team. We’re still the same guys, we’re still the same team. It’s tough, but you gotta go on. You gotta look back on as a building experience and know that, even though we didn’t win, it’s going to change the rest of our lives forever.
Q: How will you spend the rest of what will obviously be a difficult night?
A: I really have no idea. I hope to see my family, at least for a little bit. Just kinda soak this all up tonight. I think it’s going to be a rough night, because I think the longer we sit back and look at this the more we’re going to realize how close we were to a national championship and that’s going to hurt for a while.
Q: You know how quickly things move. People are already looking ahead. Does this team have another run in it?
A: I think we will. We’re getting three new freshman coming in that are really good. We’re not going to replace the seniors we had. Not guys like that. You know, I think next year we’ll have another solid year and hopefully make a run. Gordon’s going to make the right decision for him and his family. Whenever he decides that, whatever he’s going to do, the team will be behind him and the coaches will be behind him. If he happens to go (to the NBA) we’re going to have to fill some big shoes. Something that we’ll deal with then.
Q: How do you hope your role evolves with this team? What’s your off season look like?
A: Hopefully work to gain that starting spot that’s going to open up. This off season is going to be a difficult one for me. I’m having knee surgery next Wednesday on both knees. It’s going to be a long off season and a lot of hard work. I look forward to coming back for next season and being 100 percent, which I haven’t been for a long time.
Q: What’s the diagnosis with your knee injuries?
A: I don’t know how much detail I can get into. Basically, cartilage in both knees is pretty messed up and I have defects in both knees. I’ m trying to take care of that right now. Recovery time is varying right now depending on (a few things). I won’t know until after the surgery. My knees have been bothering me for the past year and a half and it’s hindered my game for the last year and half. It’s gotten worse and worse, so it’s finally time to get it taken care of and hopefully get back to 100 percent like I had planned to be.
Q: So the prognosis is that the surgery will allow you to regain the strength and mobility you had?
A: That’s the plan right now. Hopefully it does. Obviously things aren’t 100 percent for sure, but that’s the plan. I’m praying that it will.
Q: You have any plans to be home in Ellettsville?
A: Hopefully, I’ll get home soon. It will be nice to get away from Butler for a bit and spend time with my family and see some of the people I need to see, some of my old coaches and people like that.
Q: What do you think you’ll remember most about this experience?
A: The time you spend with the guys, just in the hotels and on the road, busting jokes and laughing. Just the friendships and bonds you form that you’ll have for the rest of your life.
Indiana announced Monday that former goalkeeper Chris Munroe will be a volunteer assistant coach for the Hoosiers this fall. Munroe, who will be working on a master’s degree in counseling and counselor education, served as a volunteer assistant under IU coach Todd Yeagley at Wisconsin last year while attending grad school for his Ph.D in Social Psychology. (more…)
After a long day of waiting and avoiding the rain, the Butler Bulldogs and Duke Blue Devils will play for the national championship of college basketball tonight.
I’m here at Lucas Oil Stadium, where you can see ominous clouds out of the windows behind the end zones. Fans are filtering in. Students waited outside much of the day and last night; apparently their seats are first-come, first sit.
The amount of analysis and prediction out there for you to consume is somewhat absurd. I will not add much to it. Here are my thoughts:
A quick run-through of some IU notes for you:
Due to somewhat shaky Internet and somewhat to a deadline that means I’ll be writing through most of the game, I’ll probably opt to tweet the game again instead of live blogging. Follow me here.
Let me leave you with this, though.
Yesterday, I wrote about how Garrett Butcher and two of his Butler teammates, Emerson Kampen and Chase Stigall, played together for a U-17 Indiana Elite AAU team back in the summer of 2007. That group was completely overshadowed by another Indiana Elite team so full of talent you couldn’t help but watch every time they played. Team Indiana featured Tyler Zeller (UNC), Emmanuel Negedu (Tennessee, but out with a heart condition), DeAndre Liggins (Kentucky), Lewis Jackson (Purdue), Matt Roth (Indiana) and Walter Offut (whose career at Ohio State never blossomed due to a couple of knee injuries.) That group was astounding.
Butcher’s group — which also had Daniel Moore and Stu Douglass — simply found ways to win, though. It always went further than people expected it would, and even reached the finals of the Adidas May Classic, where they lost to their brethren.
That group played, to simplify it, the Butler way. Coached by South assistant Kyle Simpson, who used many of J.R. Holmes’ plays, it was patient on offense and dogged on defense. Nobody looked at that group and thought they’d be much of a challenge, but they found a way to be.
As I was searching the Internet for video of that team, I ran across the following clip. Nothing summarizes that group’s identity better than this weird little video, which is inexplicably set to some cheesy song that apparently appeared ind something called Grease II:
Enjoy the game.
UPDATE, End Of Game
Just realized I didn’t update this. Indiana won 26-6. Hoosiers had four players with four hits in second baseman Tyler Rogers (4-for-4, six RBIs), left fielder Alex Dickerson was 4-for-4 with four runs and three RBIs, shortstop Michael Basil was 4-for-4 with two runs and three RBIs and first baseman Jerrud Sabourin was 4-for-6 with five runs scored. IU improves to 13-13 with a 1-2 Big Ten record.
UPDATE, End of Eighth Inning
Indiana first baseman Jerrud Sabourin didn’t have an RBI yet, so he drove in himself with his fifth home run of the year to make it 26-6 going into the top of the ninth inning. (more…)
Indiana head coach Tom Crean had good seats for Michigan State’s game against Butler. While coaches usually get Final Four tickets, they usually aren’t prime seats near the team bench. Crean and his entire family, though, were not far from where his mentor, Tom Izzo, coached the Spartans to a 52-50 loss against the Bulldogs.
Crean scooped up his youngest daughter, Ainsley, and stood, as did everyone in the building not wearing a credential, for Michigan State’s final possession. Crean’s mind was no doubt racing — when does it not? — and running through thoughts on what his friend had called. He probably even recalled similar situations the two faced in the past.
Draymond Green, the Spartan’s exuberant and better-than-he-looks forward barreled through the lane. He was met by Gordon Hayward, who’d admit after the game that maybe he got ball, maybe he got arm. Either way, the shot missed and the ball fell into Hayward’s arms.
The fans in the arena were set up so that there were four distinct quadrants of fans, with the teams opposing each other situated in opposite corners.
Butler’s corner exploded. Michigan State’s went completely silent. The West Virginia and Duke fans sort of clapped politely.
Crean kept standing. I’m sure his mind worked through what had just happened, reflexively.
Later, though, he said he couldn’t think clearly about what had happened on the basketball court.
He was just sad to see a friend’s dream end, he said.
When players need to get from the locker room to the interview room — a trip of about 300 steps — they are driven on a golf cart by an NCAA staff member.
Earlier in the week, it was a sort of funny scene. Three big basketball players jammed onto a golf cart zooming through a hallway.
Last night, it was unbelievably wrenching. Raymar Morgan and Draymond Green sat on the back two seats, close together, showing everyone that the last thing they wanted was to be seen at that moment.
Plenty of other people have broken down what took place last night, and others are already looking ahead.
I caught up briefly with Matthew Graves, the Butler assistant from Switz City, last night while he was waiting to get the final tape of Duke’s win against West Virginia. He’ll handle the scouting duties for the game, and already had a good idea of the match-ups that would be best for the Bulldogs. He’d watched eight or nine tapes of Duke earlier in the week, just in case.
Graves greeted many people while I spoke to him, and repeated the same answer to all of them: no, this isn’t surreal. It’s just basketball right now. The process hasn’t changed. There’s more surrounding it — more people, more cameras, more questions — but the machinations remain the same.
“Maybe later in the week, after I sleep for a few days, I’ll think about what we’ve done,” he said.
Couple notes of local interest.
Butler is the third No. 5 seed to make the national championship game. The last, of course, was Indiana in 2002. Five-seeds are 0-2 in title games.
Shelvin Mack broke the Butler record for most points in tournament play last night, passing Matthew’s little brother A.J. Graves with a jumper in the first half.
A.J. had 87 points in the tournament.
The battle for Indiana’s backup quarterback job is one of the most intriguing. The battle for the starting job, though, already appears to be decided.
Though the athleticism and big arms of redshirt freshman signal callers Edward Wright-Baker and Dusty Kiel bode well for the future of the offense, senior Ben Chappell proved again at Saturday’s controlled 100-play scrimmage that it’s very much his job to lose.
Chappell unofficially completed 10 of the 13 passes he threw for 190 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown strike to redshirt freshman wide receiver Duwyce Wilson. He made sharp throws on all sorts of routes, from deep throws over the middle to sideline routes. It was a continuation of what has been a very impressive spring for Chappell. (more…)
I did not partake in any of the Final Four festivities this afternoon, as I was off in search of other stories. Lucas Oil is swarming with journalists (that scene ain’t pretty, by the way) and there’s been a ton of good coverage out there. I will link to some of it, and perhaps comment about it.
First, you’ve gotta follow the young writers working for what’s been dubbed the Student New Bureau. They’re college students from IUPUI and Indiana under the guidance of Tim Franklin, who runs the sports journalism program, and Ron Johnson, who directs the IDS. Simply terrific work being done by the kids who are the future of our business.
Second, you might be wondering about the proposal to push the tournament to 96 teams. There’s been much consternation about this, and John Feinstein — he wrote a book about Indiana that you might want to check out — had a little public kerfuffle with an NCAA honcho (recounted well here by Deadspin) on Thursday. Anyway, Feinstein’s column came out Friday and is worth a read. He explains the proposal well, even will attempting to tear it to shreds. The New York Times, always so enlightening, took a interesting look at the situation.
*My thoughts? I’m not as against the expansion as most people seem to be. It certainly reinforces the fact that big-time college basketball is, first and foremost, a business. But you had to be really squinting to see anything otherwise. None of the teams added to the tournament will ever win a tournament, which is fine. It’s already an impure format; you’re not getting the 64 best teams. But having the interlopers — the teams from smaller conferences — creates the buzz that surrounds the tournament early. Adding to that is sort of like putting more cheese on a burger. It’s not changing the meal all that drastically, but it’s not terrible, either.
Finally, the Indianapolis Star put an illustration of a scribbled-upon Coach K on some of its sports covers Friday. An crap-storm ensued because Mighty K took offense. The Star has since apologized.
*This one seems overblown to me. We compete with the Star, and I go to bed every night hoping we whooped them on IU news and wake up worried we got beat. But I can’t criticize this. They tried something creative, and it was clearly a joke. Newspapers should be able to have a little fun. This attempt may not have been all that well-executed, but for people to question the paper’s ethics or morals or [insert loaded term here] is ridiculous.
More to come.
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