Former Latrobe standout Austin Butler back to work after surgery | TribLIVE.com
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Former Latrobe standout Austin Butler back to work after surgery

Bill Beckner
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Holy Cross Athletics
Latrobe graduate Austin Butler is second on Holy Cross with 12.7 points per game.
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Tribune-Review
Latrobe’s Austin Butler (4) dunks over Butler’s Collor Ollio (24) in the third quarter of the WPIAL Class 6A quarterfinals on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, at Penn Hills.

The ball went through the basket — swish — and a smile curled up on the shooter’s face.

Yes, this is the stuff. How I’ve missed you, old friend.

Austin Butler was out of basketball for the last three months as he recovered from shoulder surgery. But the former Latrobe star and rising junior guard at Holy Cross got up a few shots Monday at a playground court for the first time since he went under the knife April 18. It was like a release of pent-up energy; the beginning of a return to full strength.

Butler, a former Patriot League All-Rookie selection who has started 53 of 64 games in two seasons in New England, played most of last season with a torn labrum.

“I tore my labrum completely, and my rotator cuff was frayed,” said Butler, a two-time WPIAL scoring champion who averaged nearly 30 points a game as a senior at Latrobe. He played through the pain last season as he delayed a diagnosis and, ultimately, the surgery.

“I played all season with it and knew something was up with it but waited until after the season to get it checked,” Butler said. “I am getting better each day.”

Butler started all 33 games last season and averaged 12.6 points and 4.1 rebounds in 34.5 minutes. He made 56 3-pointers, second most on the Crusaders (16-17).

The repaired shoulder should be less of a distraction now for Butler, who again is expected to be a key backcourt player come November.

He still likes to pull up from any spot at which he feels comfortable on the floor.

“No more discomfort every time I shoot,” Butler said. “And less fatigue.”

Butler will play for a new coach this season. After the retirement of Bill Carmody — who coached the Crusaders for four seasons and stalked the sidelines at various stops over four decades — former Marquette assistant Brett Nelson has taken over.

Butler said he is excited to play for Nelson.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bill by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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