After a fairly satisfying season that finished with somewhat of a question mark for the future of the program (two star senior guards Kellen Dunham and Roosevelt Jones graduating), the Butler Bulldogs and their staff have managed to attract three promising young players. Despite all three missing the mark on the ESPN top 100 freshman recruits list, fans should be reassured that these young men are a great fit for 2017 and future squads to come.
Homegrown boy Joey Brunk stands at 6’10”, weighs in at a solid 240 pounds, and played high school ball just twenty minutes South of Hinkle Field house. Brunk averaged around 16 points and 8 rebounds for his high school team, working almost exclusively from the post with an occasional jump shot. Despite missing time his senior year, Brunk managed to still shoot 60% from the floor but only a bit better from the line.
The Bulldogs desperately needed to build an inside presence for this upcoming year, and they fulfilled this requirement. Brunk will be the biggest body on the court for Butler’s 2016-2017 team; this, paired with his soft touch around the rim, high shooting percentage, and defensive presence will make Brunk an extremely valuable piece for the Bulldogs if they hope to make another run in the tournament come March.
Three star recruit Kamar Baldwin is a scoring machine with a real nose for the ball. Standing at 6’2” and averaging a double-double (points and rebounds) in his last two seasons of high school ball is no easy feat. Baldwin averaged 27 points and 10 rebounds in his final season at his Georgia high school, also putting up 3 steals and 3 assists per game. With a knack for the outside shot, Baldwin will be a great asset for the Bulldogs, maybe not immediately, but in the long term, acting as a replacement for the graduated Kellen Dunham and caring the scoring load for the Dawgs farther down the line.
Coming out of St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Northern Ohio as a small forward, one is bound to end up being compared to LeBron James. Henry Baddley is no LeBron James, at least physically: but then again, who is? Standing at 6’4” and 170 pounds, the freshman will definitely need to put on some muscle if he intends to continue to play the 3 in Indianapolis. The upside for this freshman is his leadership and work ethic; Baddley has been called the most improved player in the state of Ohio, reportedly stays long after practice to continue to work, and has progressed with his jumper enough to really make it an important facet to his scoring numbers. Baddley averaged nearly twenty points in his senior season, mostly coming from fast break opportunities produced by solid defense on the other end: athleticism is a big part of Baddley’s game. While he may not begin to make a large impact on the Bulldog’s roster initially, look for Baddley to continue to improve at the college level.
While individually, Butler’s freshman recruits seem somewhat unimpressive compared to the draft classes of Duke, Kentucky, or Kansas, however, the Bulldogs seem to be building something strong when the pieces are combined. With the interior presence of Brunk, the shooting of Baldwin, and the ‘lead by example’ mentality that Henry Baddley so personifies, the future of the Butler basketball program looks to be in good hands.