Things rarely go as scripted.
After all, if they did, Gordon Hayward’s 3 pointer at the buzzer of the 2010 national title game with Duke in Indianapolis would have banked in for a butler win that would have made for the greatest championship finish in any sport.
On senior night, though, at Hinkle Fieldhouse, the basketball gods did write a homeside ending to two Butler careers that was special.
With under four minutes to go, and the game in hand vs. UIC, senior Garrett Butcher hit a free throw for his first point of the game. Hinkle erupted.
He then followed it with another free throw. The noise got louder. Moments later, he nailed a long jumper. Now the fans were hollering.
When his senior teammate, Ron Nored, scored on a breakaway, everyone was screaming. Seconds later, when Butler Head Coach Brad Stevens called timeout to bring both players to the bench for a curtain call, the old Fieldhouse was rattling with an ovation that lasted several minutes.
Interestingly, the two players, who started their Butler careers in 2008, couldn’t have led different basketball lives.
Garrett Butcher played his high school basketball in the state of Indiana, where the game is revered.
Ron Nored played his high school basketball in Alabama, where the game helps pass the time until the next football season.
Thru Feb.21, Garrett Butcher had played 834 minutes in his Butler career.
Ronald Nored had never played less than 866 minutes in a Butler season.
And, yet, after the UIC game and on the same stage at center court, both players were cited for one common trait: leadership.
Brad Stevens called Butcher “the ultimate teammate, the ultimate leader.”
When talking about Nored, Stevens wouldn’t say who the best leader Butler ever had, but did mention that “no one was greater than Ronald.”
At of the conclusion of senior night, the two young men had won 105 games, three Horizon League regular season championships, two League tournament titles and made it to three NCAA tournaments and back-to-back national championship games. (And their careers are hardly over, because, isn’t late February/March/April when Butler does its best work?)
How and when the season does end for Ronald Nored and Garrett Butcher, there won’t be spring press conferences saluting their moves into the NBA, such as were the cases for Gordon Hayward in 2010 and Shelvin Mack in 2011.
But with an internship at Merrill Lynch and a degree in business for Butcher, and a liking to kids and a degree in early/middle childhood education for Nored, both student-athletes won’t lack for career opportunities.
Brad Stevens talked to the crowd about both players leaving a legacy.
On that note, Nored and Butcher couldn’t have scripted their four years at Butler any better.
Tags: Butler - Men's Basketball