Dick Jerardi

West Virginia candidate Da’Sean Butler is the real deal

by Dick Jerardi January 18, 2010 in Men's Basketball

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West Virginia’s Da’Sean Butler exemplifies every attribute necessary for a Senior CLASS Award candidate. He is the epitome of a young man whose life is the very essence of the four Cs _ classroom, character, community service and competition.

“He has never missed a practice,” West Virginia assistant Billy Hahn said. “He is going to have the school record for most consecutive starts. He played last year on a sprained ankle against Villanova and had 43 points. He wasn’t expected to play, but insisted that he would play. That’s just how he’s made.”

It is how he is made on the court and off it.

Going into his senior year, Butler had a 2.83 grade point average in his major, which includes theater, communication studies and sociology. Someday, he would like to go into sports broadcasting.

“We’ve had him for three years and I’ve never seen him unhappy,” said Hahn who came aboard when Bob Huggins was named head coach. “He’s always got a smile on his face. He’s got a very good sense of humor. When he’s around people, they feel good. He makes people smile.

“Everything he does in the community is real. He has a way about of making people feel good.”

In the community, Butler visits hospitals at Christmas time and has been an active participant in the Coaches vs. Cancer campaign.

There is all that. And there is the player who is on his way to scoring 2,000 points at the school Jerry West made famous.

Butler made the game winning shot in the final seconds against Marquette on December 29. He is among the most versatile players in the country. There is no basketball skill he does not possess. And he is always working to get even better.

“He’s in the gym before everybody comes,” Hahn said. “He shoots after everybody leaves.”

When your best player is also your hardest worker, it sets an example for the younger players to follow.

“He is a coach’s dream.” Hahn said. “Every coach in America would love to have 10 Da’Sean Butlers on their team. He’s the real deal.”

In an era where so much time has to be spent coaching things other than basketball, all that other stuff is never an issue with Butler.

“He’s as steady as can be,” Hahn said. “You know what you’re going to get every day with him. You never have to worry about what he’s doing or how he’s going to show up. He’s always solid as a rock.”

Butler came to West Virginia from Newark, N.J. It was not necessarily an idyllic pre-college life.

“He comes from a pretty tough background,” Hahn said. “He’s come a long way.”

In fact, Da’Sean Butler has come so far that he is the kind of role model that young people, be they basketball players or not, gravitate to and emulate. Regardless of the wins and losses, the points scored or the points prevented, that life legacy will linger at West Virginia even longer than the cold hard statistics.