In the words of head coach Brandon Miller last night on Twitter, yesterday was a “great day to be a Bulldog”. Not only was it the sixth month anniversary of Roosevelt Jones’ crazy floater to win the game against Gonzaga, but the Butler program added its first commitment in the 2014 class and the first on since Brandon Miller took over the basketball team earlier this summer.
His name is Tyler Wideman, a power forward/center from Lake Central High School in Indiana. His list of offers prior to this week only included the likes of Ball State, Indiana State, and Bradley among others, so when his first high-major school came calling, it was hard for him to turn it down.
Many coaches I spoke to this week were surprised that Tyler Wideman didn’t commit on the spot when Butler offered him.
— Trevor Andershock (@INBBallSource) July 20, 2013
The Junior Indiana All-Star held an offer just three days before deciding to commit to the basketball program and play for Brandon Miller as a part of the 2014 freshmen class next season. Now, the question becomes how can he come in and positively affect the roster when he steps on campus?
The first and easiest answer is that he fills a need. It’s no secret that Butler is short-handed at the center position, so that is likely where they will need him to come in and make an impact.
Tyler Wideman reminds me of Devontae Gardner of Marquette. Bulky and physical guys with good touch that have the ability to move people.
— Tyler Hicks (@THicksTBOH) July 20, 2013
As a junior at Lake Central, he averaged 15 points and 9 rebounds per game, proving that he could not only hold his own in the paint, but make a solid difference down there as well. The turning point in his recruitment, however, might have been his performance at the Nike EYBL Finals in South Carolina, with Brandon Miller in attendance.
By averaging almost seven points and eight rebounds while shooting nearly 50% from the floor, it is clear that he was able to standout to Butler’s head coach and filled a need on this roster.
That, however, does not mean that there isn’t doubt of his ability to play at the Big East level. ESPN and Scout have him rated at just a three-star, which is primarily what this year’s class consisted of, while the rest of the Big East seems to be loading up on four and five-star athletes.
— Jerry Palm (@jppalmCBS) July 20, 2013
Sure, the rankings and not the end-all-be-all, but there is something to be taken away from something like that. With his performance at the EYBL, though, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start to creep up a little bit.
His senior season will be a big one to keep an eye on to look for improvements in his ability to dominate a game in the paint and clean off the glass at a very high-level, as those will be the things he needs to do in order to garner some playing time at Butler.
*Video Courtesy of PrepHoopsTV