Latrobe’s Butler expands game for Holy Cross basketball
Austin Butler always wanted to be the scorer, the go-to guy who had the green light to fire away and get to the rim whenever he wanted.
But he lived that life. It was glamorous. Everything he thought it would be, in fact.
Now the former Latrobe star believes it is time to round out his game as his college basketball career progresses at Holy Cross.
A sophomore guard for the Crusaders, Butler continues to reshape his game to counter opponents at the Division I level. He looks at the game through a different lens.
“Each game is a learning experience,” said Butler, a member of the Patriot League All-Rookie team last year. “I am paying attention to what’s going on around me so I can be the best player I can be for my team.”
Latrobe’s all-time scorer in boys basketball (1,905 points) doesn’t just look for spots from which to score — he has stretched his court vision and worked tirelessly on his defense.
At Latrobe, he took shots from anywhere on the court. Once he crossed the halfcourt stripe, he was spotting up. Now, it’s about running sets, screening and cutting. And face-guarding on the other end of the floor.
“In our offense, anyone can be the scorer on any given night,” the 6-foot-5, 212-pound Butler said. “This year I am working on being more than a scorer.”
Don’t sell him short, though. He still can fill it up. Butler is second on the team with a 12.7 scoring average and also chips in 4.4 rebounds in 34.2 minutes per game.
He is tied for the team lead in steals with 23 — a total that ranks fifth in the conference.
He had a 26-point game one night and a six-assist one later for the Crusaders (11-7, 2-3).
Given the fact Holy Cross plays mostly a matchup zone, Butler has had to adapt to the style.
The Crusaders are second in the Patriot League in scoring defense (69 ppg).
“Every guy is working together,” he said. “Our defense is what starts our offense. We have a league full of shooters so we know the scouting report a several days before games. We study to see how we can relate what teams do to our zone.”
From meeting Boston Celtics great and Holy Cross alum Bob Cousy to taking a trip with the team to Northern Ireland, to late-night workouts, Butler has enjoyed every moment of his collegiate experience.
He has posted photos of solo practice time on social media with time-stamps of 11 p.m. and 3 a.m.
“I have to keep working and learning,” Butler said. “It’s about everyone buying in to what we’re doing.”
And buying in to a more well-rounded role.
Bill Beckner is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BillBeckner.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bill by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .