Friday, December 16, 2005

Where have you gone Keith Butler?

"Call me Aaron Burr, the way I'm droppin Hamiltons"

It might have been his impressive stature and above average leaping ability. It might have been his true seven foot status. Could it have been the recruiting battle that erupted between Cincinnati and Temple over Butler’s services? Perhaps it was a collection of things that were emphasized by his calm demeanor on the court and “I don’t give a fuck” presence in the paint. Of course by “I don’t give a fuck” I am not referring to the look on Samuel Dalembert’s face after he throws an adherent elbow or hurls a small guard to the floor on their way to the basket. I mean this in the literal sense of “I don’t give a fuck if you want me to hustle, rebound or block shots….”
Through his years with the Owls Butler never amounted to much. In all the games I saw him play only two standout. A home game against South Carolina in 2004 and last seasons win over Villanova at the Palestra. In both games Butler had a double double and the Owls looked like a totally different team with a presence in the post.
Keith was a disappointment without a doubt. He stayed getting mo’fouls called on him and always had a short leash with Coach Chaney. While his best attribute was his shot blocking he rarely was in good position to make great defensive plays and as a result appeared frustrated on the floor.
In Keith’s defense he wasn’t given many touches and the Temple offense is so horrendous how can you blame a big man for being frustrated? Do you think when Keith was spending his recruiting trip with Dave Hawkins the coaching staff sat him down and painted this picture?:
“Look Keith, we really want you here at Temple. We expect a lot of you as a player so we plan to consistently ignore you on the block, expect you to set hard screens without ever getting touches and keep that fire burning deep within your belly. Oh yea, you also have to wakeup at 4:45 each morning, listen to Coach Chaney bitch for four years and reside in North Philadelphia .Sound good?”
My guess is no. I don’t want to make excuses for Keith but the point of my ramblings is that Keith would be helping the Owls this season. I have written time and time again that I am an advocate of the smaller lineup for Temple and so far this season it has been working but Keith coming off the bench to provide some support in the paint would be a good look.
I also didn’t think it was fair when Mark Tyndale called out Keith this summer after his departure to DePaul. (For those of you who don’t know Keith transferred this past summer to DePaul University. He will sit out this season and play his final season of eligibility next year) In an article by Andy Katz of ESPN Mark referred to Keith as a “cancer” and implied the team will be much better off without him.

True, TU is off to an improved start this season but I think that should be linked to the improvements of Antwayne and Dustin and not to the departure of Keith. Look, I wasn’t in the locker room but I never heard a thing about him being a problem off the court. He was a waste at times on the court but off the court he seemed like a good guy. Either way I think its bad policy to talk about a guy after he transfers. Mark is a tough kid from a rough area and Simon Gratz high school has a reputation for no nonsense so I see where he is coming from. I’m just saying I think that was a pointless statement and kind of out of character of the program. To call a man a cancer is pretty harsh, I think a bum woulda been more appropriate.