2017-18 BUTLER BULLDOGS BASKETBALL PREVIEW

HEAD COACH: LaVall Jordan, (1st season)

2016-17 RECORD: 25-9, 12-6 Big East

2016-17 POST-SEASON: Lost to North Carolina in Sweet 16

LAST NCAA TOURNAMENT MISS: 2014

 

FIVE-YEAR BIG EAST WINNING TREND:

2013: 11-5

2014: 4-14

2015: 12-6

2016: 10-8

2017: 12-6

 

KEY LOSSES:

F Andrew Chrabascz, 11.4ppg

G Tyler Lewis, 6.6ppg

G Kethan Savage, 8.0ppg

G Avery Woodson, 8.9ppg

 

2017 STATLINE

SCORING: 76.3

SCORING DEFENSE: 68.9

FG%: 47.7

3FG%: 36.6

EFFECTIVE FG%: 54.6

FT%: 74.1

OFFENSIVE REBOUND%: 25.5

DEFENSIVE REBOUND%: 75.2

TO MARGIN: +3.1

REBOUND MARGIN: +0.6

ASSISTS: 13.3

 

2017-18 SCHEDULE

October 28                        Hanover (exhibition)

November 4                      Lincoln Memorial (exhibition)

November 10                    Kennesaw State

November 12                    Princeton

November 15                    at Maryland

November 18                    Furman

November 23                    Texas at Portland, Oregon

November 24                    Duke or Portland State at Portland, Oregon

November 26                    TBA

December 2                       St. Louis

December 5                       Utah

December 9                       Youngstown State

December 16                    Purdue at Indianapolis

December 19                    Morehead State

December 21                    Western Illinois

December 27                    at Georgetown

December 30                    Villanova

January 2                           at Xavier

January 6                           Seton Hall

January 9                           at Creighton

January 12                         Marquette

January 15                         at Providence

January 20                         at DePaul

January 27                         St. John’s

January 31                         at Marquette

February 3                         DePaul

February 6                         Xavier

February 10                       at Villanova

February 13                       Georgetown

February 17                       Providence

February 20                       Creighton

February 28                       at St. John’s

March 3                              at Seton Hall

March 7 – 10                     Big East tournament at New York

 

2017 – 18 ROSTER

0 Campbell Donovan, 5’11”, freshman

2 Aaron Thompson, 6’2”, freshman

3 Kamar Baldwin, 6’1”, sophomore

4 Tyler Wideman, 6’8”, Senior

5 Paul Jorgensen, 6’2”, Junior

20 Henry Baddley, 6’4”, sophomore

21 Jerald Gillens-Butler, 6’4”, freshman

22 Sean McDermott, 6’6”, sophomore

25 Christian David, 6’6”, freshman

30 Kelan Martin, 6’7”, Senior

50 Joey Brunk, 6’11”, sophomore

51 Nate Fowler, 6’10”, Junior

 

TOP NEWCOMER

Aaron Thompson. Thompson is a true point guard the Bulldogs will need this season. He may step in right away to help in the greatest source of uncertainty for Butler.

BACKCOURT

This is a guard oriented basketball team returning only one, Kamar Baldwin, from the starting five. Baldwin scored more than 10ppg and was selected to the All-Big East Freshman team. His 58 steals were 8th best in Butler history. Baldwin may become the permanent shooting guard if Coach Jordan can find a point guard. Newcomer Aaron Thompson may be the answer. Thompson is a four-star point-guard from Washington, DC. Transfer Paul Jorgensen (George Washington) and Jerald Gillens-Butler could also be possibilities. Christian David is listed as a guard, but will also play at forward. In all, there are six guards looking for playing time this season at both guard positions.

FRONTCOUNT

Kelan Martin made second-team All-Big East and was the Bulldogs’ leading scorer. Coach Jordan will need even more from Martin and Center Tyler Wideman if Butler plans on making a run at a Big East title. Jordan and Wideman will also need to show more leadership as seniors. Martin came off the bench over the final nine games of last season and averaged almost 18ppg and shot 50% (41%-3’s). Wideman is a defensive presence with 26 blocks last season (90 in career). Coach Jordan is looking for Wideman to increase his scoring and rebounding averages this season. 6’10” forward Nate Fowler was one of the most effective offensive players in the country, in limited minutes. Fowler shot 68% from the field and nearly 48% from 3-point range. Coach Jordan will also have Christian David, Sean McDermott and Henry Baddley looking for playing time. David was the top Canadian prospect in 2017 before injuring his ACL in 2016. Sophomore Joey Brunk (6’11”) was an Indiana All-Star (Southport) and played only seven games before leaving to attend to his father who was ill.

FINAL OUTLOOK:

Butler has produced 18-“20” win seasons in the last 21 years. Coach Jordan has a squad that has the ability to defend, which has been a trademark of Butler basketball. They will be versatile, physical and very mobile, the way Jordan played at Butler.

The Bulldogs had their highest Big-East finish last season (2nd). Matching that finish won’t be an easy one. The non-conference schedule will feature basketball powers Maryland, Purdue, Texas and perhaps Duke in the PK80 Invitational, all on the road.

Butler deserves respect from the college basketball world. They were picked 6th in the conference last season and finished 2nd. Don’t be surprised if they show the doubters the “Butler” way ends in the NCAA tournament again.