Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Maryland Now Showing Interest In Elev8's Butts

Having de-committed from both Rutgers and Rhode Island, Leroy Butts has veteran experience understanding the inexact science that is the ever-evolving recruiting process.

Cognizant of the annual coaching carousal and merry-go-round of transfers in today's college basketball landscape, Butts will invest plenty of thought in his final decision. Maryland, behind assistant coach Dustin Clark, is now recruiting the versatile 6-foot-7 post-graduate in aggressive fashion.

They say the third time is a charm.

Butts, a battle-tested post-graduate who can play up to four positions and now provide rim protection (injuries to 6-foot-10 Levi Cook and 6-foot-11 Kasper Christiansen forced him to play bigger), hopes these words prove prophetic.

Butts, now averaging 15 points and eight boards at Elev8 Prep  (Delray Beach, FL) heads into the national tournament on Sunday with LaSalle, Virginia Tech, and nearby Florida Atlantic University also recruiting him. 

Delaware, High Point, and LaSalle have all offered the Washington, D.C. native.

“He’s wide open right now,” explained Elev8 head coach Chad Myers.

 Clark has expressed considerable interest lately, trekking to see the versatile 6-foot-7 4/3 in South Florida.

 Butts played alongside current Maryland poster boy and All-American candidate Melo Trimble at Bishop O’Connell HS, though Butts ended up transferring to Clinton Christian.

Florida Atlantic, now under 2004 NBA champion Michael Curry and longtime Philadelphia 76ers guard Eric Snow, was in attendance during Elev8’s thorough 101-57 thrashing of Impact Academy on Feb. 23.

Though Butts appeared Rhode Island-bound last June, the plans faltered when did not receive the ACT score projected for him.

Toting an increased all-around package, Butts’ evolution has occurred with higher emphasis on all the little details.

More adept with point-blank finishes, a thirst for 50-50 balls, and stronger around the rim, Butts also opened up a beyond-the-arc game.

His ball-handling and ability to create for himself while drawing bigger fowards out to him has paid dividends. Initially recruited by West Virginia and Tennessee while in high school, Butts' recruiting has been all over the place.

Rick Pitino and Louisville assistant Mike Balado watched Butts and since-departed 6-foot-11 Denmark import Christiansen during an October practice. 

With no apparent timetable, Butts is still wide open and not clinging to any favorites.

 This weekend will be a major source of exposure for the 20-year-old.

"He's put good weight on about 10-15 pounds this season," Myers said.

 "He's extended his range. He can shoot threes. He's got a better feel of how to play in ball screens, a better feel of how to guard bigger guys."

Myers said he's noticed a different player in Butts since an 11-point victory over Coastal Academy in Palm Beach Gardens last year. Elev8 was without its top scorer, 6-foot-5 catch-and-stick threat Kobie Eubanks (currently at Texas A & M) and 6-foot-11 Yankuba Sima (St. John's) was saddled with early foul trouble.

And so Butts took game-changing matters into his own hands.

 He got into the teeth of the defense for at the rim finishes.

He got loose for shallow water jumpers, steering Coastal's bigs away from the rim. Playing with unrivaled confidence and consistency, Butts' buckets and an electrifying one-handed dunk from then-PG guard Jamal Gregory enabled Elev8 to run away with it.