Nearly a year ago to the day (May 2nd) Butler pulled in a spring commitment from a freshman who had decommitted from Pittsburgh. That freshman, point guard Aaron Thompson, would go on to play a pivotal role in getting Butler back to the NCAA tournament. Is history repeating itself? On Monday the Bulldogs once again got a commitment from a former Pittsburgh recruit. Bryce Golden, a 6'8" PF from Saint James, Maryland, announced on twitter that he will be suiting up for Butler next season.
Similar to Thompson, Golden fills an immediate need for the Bulldogs. He will be the only traditional power forward on the roster, which paves an obvious path for playing time should he prove himself ready. He is a "stretch 4" who can finish above the rim inside but can also step out to the 3-point line and knock down jump shots. Butler will frequently play wings at the PF position, much like they did last season when Kelan Martin put together one of the best scoring campaigns in program history. At worst Golden will give head coach LaVall Jordan a different look for that PF spot as well as an emergency center option should Nate Fowler or Joey Brunk be unavailable for any reason, or if LaVall simply wants to play small. At best Golden will take advantage of a great opportunity, earn major minutes, and lock down that PF spot for the next four years.
While we will have to wait to evaluate the impact of this addition on the court, there is no denying this is a major recruiting victory for Coach Jordan and his staff. Butler fans were anxiously watching all spring as Butler opted not to pursue numerous grad transfers who could have filled their need down low. Instead the coaching staff stayed patient and went out and won a recruiting battle against Syracuse, Illinois, Georgetown, and UConn to land the player they wanted all along. The Bulldogs have historically struggled to win recruiting battles with this caliber of competition, so seeing Coach Jordan pull this out in his first spring on the job is extremely encouraging.
Butler still has one scholarship remaining for 2018. It seems unlikely they would add another freshman, but it's possible they could fill the roster out with a graduate transfer. A player like senior Brock Stull, who was coached by LaVall Jordan in Milwaukee, could potentially be an option to add an experienced scorer for next year. Most of the focus will turn to the 2019 class. Expect to see a lot of new names popping up following the conclusion of the April evaluation periods (you can read my thoughts on the EYBL event here). Be sure to follow the forums at ButlerHoops.com to say up to date on all the latest Butler recruiting targets.