Latrobe native and Holy Cross guard Austin Butler has had to deal with many challenges during his college career.
From personal health issues and two years worth of obstacles related to COVID-19, Butler was forced to stay positive and to work in order to play the game that he loves. Butler’s four years Holy Cross ended this spring when the Crusaders withdrew from the Patriot League playoffs due to a positive COVID-19 case on the team.
In any other year, Butler’s college career would have been over but due to the NCAA allowing players to return next season, he has one more chance to return to the college hardwood.
A week ago, Butler made the decision to enter the transfer portal and now is a college free agent and waiting to hear from all programs that are interested in him. At this point, Butler tells me that two schools he’s heard from are Duquesne and Robert Morris. A bunch of other mid and high major schools have also contacted him but have asked him to not release their names until after their season is officially over with and Butler will respect their wishes.
Butler told Pittsburgh Sports Now that he has mixed emotions about this period because he loved attending Holy Cross and will miss the program, he admits that he’s excited to have the chance to play one more year of college basketball.
“Making this decision was hard,” said Butler. “One thing we knew as I sat down with the coaching staff before the season and knew that COVID was going to give us an extra year of eligibility, we had a brief conversation about academics and with Holy Cross not being a grad school, it probably wouldn’t be a realistic option for me to stay. Since I already had a major and a minor, we knew that once the season ended that this was going to be the next step. While I am excited for the next chapter, this is hard for me because of everything that Holy Cross has done for me and the relationships that I have with my teammates and coaches.”
“I’m very excited and grateful for what’s upcoming for me and the extra year that we’re given to play. I believe the NCAA did the right thing but giving everyone and especially seniors this opportunity because we only played 15 games and normally we’d play 32. Hopefully things return to normal next year and we’re able to play a full year and play at a high level and the chance to win a championship wherever I end up.”
This past season, Butler was an All-Patriot League second-team selection as he averaged 16 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. In 94 games, Butler started 83 of them and finished his Holy Cross career as a 1,000 point scorer (1,300+ points). I asked him things he’d be looking for in his next team.
⚜️ Available Transfer ⚜️
**1 Year of Eligibility Remaining**
— Transfer Tapes (@TransferTapes) March 4, 2021
“I’m a big-time competitor and want to go to a play where I’ll be challenged,” said Butler. “I want to be pushed and coached very hard. I want to come in and be able to compete somewhere and get better, which is my main goal. I want my next school to be a place that’s going to push me to be both a better player and person. I have goals after this season to play professionally wherever that may be, so I feel this next year for me is huge in terms of self-growth and getting my game better.”
“I want to go to a place that I can win and I want to be able to help that team and use the four years I had at Holy Cross and go to a place where I can lead and be that old guy with experience and be someone that can help the younger players in the program. I want to go somewhere that cares about basketball and a place that wants to win.”
Butler describes himself as a player that “brings it everyday” and refers to himself as “any everyday guy” because he gives it his all everyday whether it’s in practice or a game. Being from Western Pennsylvania, it’s not surprising that Butler prides himself on his toughness and physicality.
“With only year left I have to make sure I take my time and make the right decision. I’m taking calls and not telling any programs that I’m not interested yet, because I’m open to anything,” said Butler. “While it would be nice to play around my hometown, I’m going to choose a place whether it’s in Pittsburgh or California, that is best for me.