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Report: Baylor's Jared Butler Medically Cleared to Play in NBA Ahead of Draft

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJuly 17, 2021

Baylor guard Jared Butler (12) drives up court past Gonzaga guard Aaron Cook (4) during the second half of the championship game in the men's Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 5, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Former Baylor guard Jared Butler, who led the Bears to their first-ever NCAA Division I men's basketball championship, has been medically cleared by the NBA's fitness-to-play panel to play in the league, per Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic.

On June 22, Charania reported that Butler had been referred to the panel and wasn't allowed to play or practice in the NBA until cleared.

Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee reported that a heart condition raised red flags initially.

Butler earned consensus first-team All-American honors during his junior year, averaging 16.7 points and 4.8 assists for a Bears team that defeated the undefeated Gonzaga Bulldogs to win the national title.

Analysts have raved about Butler's NBA potential and character, including Jeff Goodman of Stadium and former ESPN NBA draft analyst Chad Ford:

Jeff Goodman @GoodmanHoops

This is AWESOME news. Jared Butler should be a LOCK first-rounder now. Terrific player, even better person. <a href="https://t.co/WgFKpV17fM">https://t.co/WgFKpV17fM</a>

Chad Ford @chadfordinsider

Great news for Jared Butler. So happy for him. If teams agree with the league’s assessment he’s in 14-22 range. <a href="https://t.co/MmSyiebVq6">https://t.co/MmSyiebVq6</a>

The 6'3" guard is listed No. 22 on Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report's 2021 NBA draft big board.

"We've given him a mid-first-round grade all season for his ability to fit in after improving his playmaking, spot-up shooting and defense," Wasserman wrote.

The NBA draft is set to take place from Brooklyn, New York's Barclays Center on July 29, and Jonathan Givony of ESPN reported that Butler may even receive an invite to the green room:

Jonathan Givony @DraftExpress

Source: Five more players are expected to be added to the Green Room next week. Likely to come from this group of players based on NBA team voting:<br><br>Ziaire Williams<br>Cam Thomas <br>Sharife Cooper<br>Usman Garuba<br>Alperen Sengun<br>Trey Murphy<br>Isaiah Jackson<br>Jared Butler<br>Chris Duarte <a href="https://t.co/mP5ZwAX5ei">https://t.co/mP5ZwAX5ei</a>

Butler isn't the only Baylor guard considered a first-round draft prospect, as point guard Davion Mitchell is also slated to be taken early. The last Baylor player to go in the first round was Taurean Prince in 2016. Baylor has never had two or more players go in Round 1.

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