MU's Butler Could Emerge As Breakout Player

Alex JessweinContributor IAugust 12, 2009

NEW YORK - MARCH 12:  Dante Cunningham #33 of the Villanova Wildcats goes to the hoop against Jimmy Butler #33 of the Marquette Golden Eagles during the second round of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

With the graduation of four senior starters, the Marquette Golden Eagles will be looking for all the help the can get.

Enter Jimmy Butler, a 6’6 junior forward from Tomball, Texas who averaged 5.6 PPG and 3.9 RPG in less than 20 MPG.

Not exactly earth shattering is it?

Taking a closer look at his numbers, reveals both the progress that Butler made and the efficiency that he played with.

According to stats guru, Ken Pomeroy, Butler was first in the Big East in offensive efficiency and fourth in offensive rebound percentage.  His rebounding effort was highlighted by a 14-rebound game against Syracuse where 10 of them came on the offensive end.

Offensively, Butler made his mark by scoring in the paint and getting to the free throw line.  His season high 19 points came during the Big East tournament against Villanova.  He connected on 13 of 16 free throws in that contest.

Butler’s statistics from his lone season at Tyler JC, give reason to believe he can become much more involved scoring the basketball.  He averaged 18.1 PPG while shooting 54% from the field and 42% from three-point range.  In a triple-overtime-season-ending loss, Butler connected for 43 points.

Regardless of his scoring, Butler is going to see more time on the court this year, thanks in part to his versatility.  Last season, Butler played anywhere from the off guard to center. Butler’s ability to guard multiple spots on the floor allows for greater lineup flexibility. 

His mentality of doing all the little things got him on the court in the first place.  The question remains if he can build on them and become a more aggressive scorer.  If so, Butler could quickly become one of the surprises in the Big East.