Butcher faces uncertain few months

Butler forward Garrett Butcher, an Edgewood grad who scored more points than any player in Monroe County history, has not played in a basketball game since March 9. You could tell on his face it was difficult not having a chance to help his team during its historic run to within one basket of the national title.

During that time, though, he dealt with other concerns. On some days, the pain and swelling in his knees got so bad he could not straighten his legs.

Butcher, who says he had no knee problems in high school, has developed a problem in both knees and will have surgery next Wednesday. Depending on what doctors find, he faces three to six months of recovery and rehabilitation time.

I spoke to Butcher shortly after Duke beat Butler 61-59 Monday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Q: What was going through your head as you saw Gordon Hayward’s last shot bounce out and Duke players storming the court?

A: It hurts to know that you’re close. Anytime, in that big of a game, when you’re so close but just not quite there, it almost makes it worse to know you lose like that. You’re one shot away, or the ball rolling in, and it changes the whole game.

Q: What did you see from your vantage point on Hayward’s final shot and the one right before it?

A: That’s what Gordon does. He makes big shots for us. I thought the first one was good. It was a little bit long. The half-court shot, so close to going in. It’s tough. Those are good shots at the end of the game like that.

Q: Did Duke do anything to throw off your game plan, or did it go how your coaches had planned?

A: I thought it went how we wanted to go. We wanted to stay tough on their three guys, and I think for the most part we did that as best as you can do that. You can’t shut those guys down, they’re too good. Offensively, we knew we could score and run our stuff and we did that throughout the game. We did what we needed to do, it just didn’t go our way at the end.

Q: What did coach (Brad) Stevens say to you in the locker room?

A: I think it was kinda hard on him. He wasn’t prepared to talk about losing this game because we all prepared to win. Just thanked the seniors, talked about us as a team and how this, win or lose, doesn’t make us different people, doesn’t change our team. We’re still the same guys, we’re still the same team. It’s tough, but you gotta go on. You gotta look back on as a building experience and know that, even though we didn’t win, it’s going to change the rest of our lives forever.

Q: How will you spend the rest of what will obviously be a difficult night?

A: I really have no idea. I hope to see my family, at least for a little bit. Just kinda soak this all up tonight. I think it’s going to be a rough night, because I think the longer we sit back and look at this the more we’re going to realize how close we were to a national championship and that’s going to hurt for a while.

Q: You know how quickly things move. People are already looking ahead. Does this team have another run in it?

A: I think we will. We’re getting three new freshman coming in that are really good. We’re not going to replace the seniors we had. Not guys like that. You know, I think next year we’ll have another solid year and hopefully make a run. Gordon’s going to make the right decision for him and his family. Whenever he decides that, whatever he’s going to do, the team will be behind him and the coaches will be behind him. If he happens to go (to the NBA) we’re going to have to fill some big shoes. Something that we’ll deal with then.

Q: How do you hope your role evolves with this team? What’s your off season look like?

A: Hopefully work to gain that starting spot that’s going to open up. This off season is going to be a difficult one for me. I’m having knee surgery next Wednesday on both knees. It’s going to be a long off season and a lot of hard work. I look forward to coming back for next season and being 100 percent, which I haven’t been for a long time.

Q: What’s the diagnosis with your knee injuries?

A: I don’t know how much detail I can get into. Basically, cartilage in both knees is pretty messed up and I have defects in both knees. I’ m trying to take care of that right now. Recovery time is varying right now depending on (a few things). I won’t know until after the surgery. My knees have been bothering me for the past year and a half and it’s hindered my game for the last year and half. It’s gotten worse and worse, so it’s finally time to get it taken care of and hopefully get back to 100 percent like I had planned to be.

Q: So the prognosis is that the surgery will allow you to regain the strength and mobility you had?

A: That’s the plan right now. Hopefully it does. Obviously things aren’t 100 percent for sure, but that’s the plan. I’m praying that it will.

Q: You have any plans to be home in Ellettsville?

A: Hopefully, I’ll get home soon. It will be nice to get away from Butler for a bit and spend time with my family and see some of the people I need to see, some of my old coaches and people like that.

Q: What do you think you’ll remember most about this experience?

A: The time you spend with the guys, just in the hotels and on the road, busting jokes and laughing. Just the friendships and bonds you form that you’ll have for the rest of your life.

3 comments

  1. Garrett —
    Maybe someday when the hooplah subsides and you have time to return to this site, you can read this post.
    If we could say a few things to you and your Coach and your team, this is what it would be…
    You have this tremendous accomplishment that many only dream of. You all played extremely tough and hard during this run and you should hold your heads high. Don’t you dare dwell on losing…in our book, you’re all winners. People are talking about the NCAA games but they aren’t really talking about Duke, they’re talking about Butler and the Butler Way! They’re talking about these talented and intellingent young men who are student athletes…young men who are kind, caring, considerate…young men who are devoted to not only their beliefs but their belief in their Coach and in each other. These are the young men who epitomize what Indiana believes to be the definition of a true Hoosier.
    This game does not define you, you all defined what Indiana basketball should be.
    Congratulations! Well done, Sirs, well done!

  2. Well said.
    Having been on both sides of championship runs throughout my life I have learned that it is seldom the championship, or lack thereof, that remains with you. It is the singular lesson that an individual derives from the experience. Sometimes it takes a while to even know what that lesson may be. My experience has been that the championship is often clung to more by the fans than by the champions themselves. Having achieved what you have and having played as you did, will bring you a strength of spirit that will take you much farther than merely bringing home a piece of hardware. Had a Kentucky, or the like, won the title it would have been meaningless as compared to what the student-athletes at Butler achieved.

  3. How true. pUKe expected a cake walk win, the bulldogs weren’t expected to even be there.

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