Defense is a staple at Butler University when it comes to the basketball program. Someone outside the state and outside the program thinks Butler Basketball, the defensive end of the floor is what comes to mind first.
That’s a given: Butler will put the opposing offense in pressure and will be tenacious in closeouts and in man defense. The thing that might change this team from average to good, though, is how well can the offense perform.
In Australia, there were a lot of three-point attempts, something they seemed to lean on for success there. However, that may just be due to the fact that they have yet to really work on offensive strategies this season.
“We spent 80% of the time on the defensive end in the practices,” said head coach Brandon Miller.
Laying the base on the defensive end of the floor isn’t necessarily a surprise in the Butler program, but this year has become even more of a struggle now with the loss of Roosevelt Jones who was returning as one of the top scorers and assists leaders on this team.
“No team has a player like Rose[velt Jones] including us looking to replace him. He was probably going to play multiple positions so there are multiple guys that are going to have to step up and help out moving forward,” said Miller.
Now, this team is looking to be effective without him. How? is the question that comes to mind.
Moving into his sophomore season, Kellen Dunham was very effective in Australia, averaging about 16 points per game and shooting at a decently high rate despite one game of going 0-11 from the extended Australian three-point line.
Another player that stood out, though, was senior Erik Fromm. A player who hasn’t spent all that much time on the floor in his career at Butler, Fromm showed strides of improvement against very good competition in Australia.
He grew during the trip,” said Coach Miller. “He had some strecthes on the offensive end of the floor where he looked really good. He’s turned into one of the leaders on the team.”
Especially with the loss of Jones, Fromm should expect to see a much bigger role on this team than last and his three-point shot could really help out an offense that may struggle too get the ball in the basket at times.
Besides those two, Kameron Woods also figures to play a much bigger role and be effective on this season’s team. Woods had a very impressive stint in Australia usually leading the team in rebounding and definitely contributed with his share of scoring. His shooting ability also seems to be moving to the similarities of Andrew Smith in being able to step out and knock down a shot from the perimeter. Freshman Nolan Berry showed an ability to do that as well.
Finally, it may also come to the freshmen playing a big role on this team’s offensive performance as well. Elijah Brown, Nolan Berry and Rene Castro all figure to get big minutes on this year’s team and will be put in a big situation very early in their college basketball careers.
“There’s a reason why each one of those guys were recruited to Butler. We have a ways to go as a team and the freshmen have a ways to go as well,” was the only thing Brandon Miller said in updating the progress of the freshmen, but each figure to play a part in this team’s season.
The progress they make specifically on the offensive end, though, along with the rest of the veterans on this team, may be key to whether or not this team can win in the Big East.