Butler Basketball: Sales Pitch to Top Recruiting Targets
Be the one that elevates a program from good, to elite.
I may be a few dozen credits short of my Butler psychology degree, but rest assured, it doesn’t take Sigmund Freud to understand the magnitude of those words as it registers in the 17-year-old brain.
Especially when they come out of the mouth of Brad Stevens; and especially as they relate to the surging Butler basketball program.
As much credit as Stevens has earned from basketball TV analysts to casual pick-up game connoisseurs and everyone in between, the fact remains simple: the 36 year old has yet to really make a splash in the recruiting aspect of college basketball.
New conference, new challenges. His time needs to be now.
Currently, Stevens and the Butler staff have offered scholarships to four players rated four stars or above by rivals.com in the class of 2014.The question is, will these lofty aspirations (judging by their recruiting history, at least) finally produce a long-coveted blue-chip recruiting class?
Well fear not, Coach Stevens. Simply follow these recruiting sales pitches specifically tailored to each of the top players on your board, and these kids will be dawning the navy and white in no time.
Trey Lyles, Power Forward
6'8", 215 lbs
Arsenal Technical High School - Indianapolis, IN
AAU: Indy Spiece
5 Stars, #5 player in the nation (rivals.com)
All of the obvious reasons are, well, obvious.
He grew up right down the road at Arsenal Tech. One of his best childhood friends and AAU teammate, Trevon Bluiett, is also one of Butler’s top prospects. He de-comitted from Indiana already, so it would just be too perfect.
The new Big East, while not as strong as the old, is still one of the best conferences in the country. And lastly, with the graduation of Khyle Marshall, Butler will have a gaping need at the power forward spot.
No disrespect to Nolan Berry, but there are questions as to whether Lyles will not only be the starter but the focal point of an offense at his other destinations, and those questions do not apply to Butler. He would fit all of those bills.
Not to mention, Brad Stevens is one of the best X’s and O’s coaches in the country. If he can make the likes of Andrew Smith look competent, he hasn’t even scratched the surface of his coaching potential until he coaches a talent like Lyles.
And to further elaborate on the Bluiett point, there is something to be said for familiarity.
Rewind the clock a few years back. If Jared Sullinger and Trey Burke (high school teammates) could do the recruiting process all over again, don’t you think they’d be crazy not to play together?
As it turned out, they not only went elsewhere, but to extreme rivals of one another (Ohio State and Michigan, respectively). Both had excellent college careers, but Trey Burke never had a Sullinger at Michigan, and Sullinger never had a point guard like Burke at Ohio State.
Burke and Sullinger would have absolutely wreaked havoc on the college basketball landscape. If Lyles and Bluiett chose to team up at the next level, the possibilities are endless.
Lastly, if he chose Butler, Lyles would have the opportunity to do what no player has done with Brad Stevens.
Each great coach has that one player than defines their legacy, and the two are forever linked to each other. Jim Boeheim has Carmelo Anthony. John Calipari has Derrick Rose, Rick Barnes has Kevin Durant, and the list goes on and on.
Can Brad Stevens have Trey Lyles?
The ball is in your court, Trey.
Trevon Bluiett, Small Forward
6'5", 185 lbs
Park Tudor High School - Indianapolis, Indiana
AAU Team: Indy Spiece
4 stars, #46 player in the nation (Rivals.com)
While the idea of Bluiett and Trey Lyles teaming together in college is nothing but speculation, you have to wonder—if one domino happens to fall towards Butler, wouldn’t it be plausible that the other could too?
If so, that makes Brad Stevens’ job a whole lot easier in terms of recruiting the two Indianapolis products. If Lyles decides to go elsewhere, Bluiett still has great reason to consider Butler.
In fact, he may be a more realistic target.
Again, Bluiett is a hometown kid. He is deadly from the outside, and just look at the success of Rotnei Clarke, Kellen Dunham, Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack if you need any evidence of how Brad Stevens is able to get his snipers wide-open looks regardless of the defenses thrown at them.
Roosevelt Jones will be a senior when Bluiett is a freshman. If Bluiett choses Butler, both could conceivably have the ball-handling ability to play at the same time, possibly with Jones at point guard.
Likely not a one and done guy like Lyles, Bluiett will then be “the man” for the rest of his time at Butler beginning as a sophomore.
His other top considerations? Indiana, Florida, Louisville, Illinois, Purdue, Michigan and many others.
I can guarantee you one thing: with the loaded recruiting classes these top-flight programs reel in on a yearly basis, Trevon Bluiett would not be the focal point of any of those offenses for an entire three years.
He could be at Butler.
Shane Hall, Power Forward
6'8", 200 lbs
Johnson Central High School, Paintville, Kentucky
AAU team: Louisville Magic
4 stars, #65 player in the nation (Future150)
Hall's situation is an intriguing one.
While Butler fans can continue to pray for Trey Lyles to stay in Indianapolis, Hall is much more likely to come to the Bulldogs. In terms of his game, think Nolan Berry with much better athleticism.
The odd thing is, for a consensus 4 star recruit, (which is what scout.com, rivals.com, and Future150 have him listed as) the late bloomer hasn't exactly garnered serious recruiting attention.
According to Scout.com, he has offers from Butler, Tennessee, UAB, Eastern Kentucky and Western Kentucky. There are expected to be many more as Hall bursts onto the scene in AAU ball this year.
If you're Brad Stevens you have to preach loyalty to this young southern buck.
The Dawgs' saw his potential before most major schools did, and we've seen how that has worked out successfully in the past with players like Gordon Hayward.
Not to mention, Butler has had recruiting success in the state of Kentucky as of late. Former bulldog Shelvin Mack and current forward Kameron Woods both hailed from the Bluegrass State.
If all else fails, the new Butler college of education is going to need a name. If "Shane Hall" doesn't have the perfect ring to it, I don't know what does.
Tyler Ulis, Point Guard
5'9, 150 lbs
Marian Catholic High School, Matteson, Illinois
AAU team: Meanstreets
4 stars, #49 player in the nation (rivals.com)
All Tyler Ulis did against the daunting Indy Spiece team featuring recruits Trey Lyles and Trevon Bluiett was put up 25 points and 10 dimes en route to a victory on the AAU circuit.
And while it may be a bit premature to dub Butler "point guard U," there's one thing to be certain of: Brad Stevens has no trouble making the point guard a mainstay in his offense.
The current Bulldog roster is about as thin at point guard as Ulis has been, well, ever since he could walk. Still, that shouldn't stop Butler's pursuit of the Chicago product.
While Ulis has several offers from Division 1 programs, the most notable are Purdue and Vanderbilt. Certainly nothing to turn a blind eye to, but also nothing that Butler can't compete with from a recruiting standpoint.
Truthfully, Ulis's consideration of Butler may hinge on the development incoming freshman Rene Castro. If Castro falters, Ulis has the fast track at a starting job within his first two years at Butler. If Castro is the real deal, Butler's interest in Ulis could wane.