When Brad Stevens was hired to replace Todd Lickliter as Butler head coach in April of 2007, he knew it was important to make sure the incoming freshmen (Zach Hahn, Matt Howard, Shawn Vanzant) were still on board to come to Butler even though there was a coaching change. He also knew it was important to start working on the class that would come to Butler the following year.
Stevens remembers a phone call he made after driving home from the introductory press conference at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Butcher was an Indiana High School star at Edgewood High School. Stevens also remembers a drive to Alabama to check out a point guard.
"As we were trying to fill out the next year's class, I drove down to Birmingham to see Ron and I felt like he was the perfect leader for our group. Both those guys have done such a terrific job, you wouldn't trade them for anybody that's for sure," added Stevens Monday.
Butcher and Nored were two of six players who joined the program in 2008. They are the only two who will participate in senior night ceremonies at the conclusion of this, their fourth season on campus.
"Most classes that start with six and you have two on senior day it's not a positive vibe, it's not a positive story. This one can't get any better. Two of them played against each other in the NBA the other day (Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz and Shelvin Mack of the Washington Wizards) these two have done a great job leading us and Emerson (Kampen) and Chase (Stigall) will be two of next year's leaders. We've got a great thing, we're really blessed to have all six of those guys," added Stevens.
Nored has been a key figure for his entire Butler career. He immediately made an impact during his freshman season will go down as one of the most important, well-liked players in Bulldog history. It is hard for many Butler fans to envision a Bulldog team without Ronald Nored.
"This is a special time for Garret and I just because we put a lot of time into this place, but the main thing that we're focused on is to make sure that this team is better and ready to play tomorrow and then on down the road and see what happens from there," said Nored Monday following practice.
Butcher's college career has been slowed a bit on the court by knee injuries, but it hasn't stopped him from contributing in a major way to the Bulldogs. When Butcher's health has allowed him to give a "thumbs up" to Coach Stevens, he has delivered. Stevens referenced his performance against in the NCAA tournament victory against Old Dominion last March during the post-game press conference Saturday.
"It's unreal how fast it goes. It's going to be bittersweet, the experiences I've had here the past four years couldn't have asked for a better four years and a better experience, it's going to be an emotional time," said Butcher.
Emotions will be running high inside Hinkle Fieldhouse Tuesday. Expect the Butler underclassmen to perform at a high-level to help ensure a Senior Night that Nored and Butcher can savor. However, the final regular season home game is not the final chapter of their storied careers. Two players who have been such a big part of Butler's basketball success hope to help lead the Bulldogs on one last run.
"We've had quite a bit of success the last four years and a lot more than what I would've believed coming in, you never know," said Butcher.
Butler hosts UIC at 7:00 PM Tuesday with a Senior Day ceremony to be held at the conclusion of the game.
"The banners that are up there, aren't up there without them. They have been terrific ambassadors for the program, terrific leaders," adds Stevens. "They've done a great job leading this team and the program is in great shape moving forward due in large part to their efforts."
Butler to honor "terrific ambassadors" at Senior Night Tuesday against UIC
Ronald Nored and Garrett Butcher are the only two players of the six freshmen who joined the Butler program in the fall of 2008 who will go through Senior Night festivities Tuesday