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03/19/2013

How a former TCU basketball player reached the postseason via UTA

UTA_04The first time I heard about Kevin Butler, then TCU director of athletics Danny Morrison raved about the high school signee. A few months later, Morrison fired the head coach Butler signed to attend TCU, the late Neal Dougherty.

The coach that greeted Butler at TCU, Jim Christian, had honored the signing, along with the other members of that class. Christian wasn't crazy about Butler's size (6-5, 214) as a forward.

After Butler's sophomore season at TCU where he averaged 5.3 points and 4.6 rebounds, he saw the writing on the wall and transferred to UTA.

Today, Butler is preparing to play in the postseason again when Texas-Arlington hosts Oral Roberts in the CIT at 7:30 p.m. The Mavericks (19-13) came painfully to the NCAA tournament but lost against New Mexico State in the WAC tourney finals.

UTA finished 24-9 last season, Butler's first, and reached the NIT.

Butler is one those guys who is easy to root for - he's a good guy who has made the most of his size, and this opportunity. After leaving TCU, he has been one of the biggest parts of a winning team. He said he has already earned his degree from UTA, and he also led the Mavs in scoring this season (11.2 ppg.).

"It's been great," Butler said. "I liked my time at TCU but (Christian) had six guys coming in and I wanted to play. (UTA head coach Scott) Cross recruited me when I was at Duncanville and it was down to them and TCU when I was a senior. When they heard I was transferring from TCU, they called me and it was an easy decision. 

"I really have liked being a part of trying to build what Coach Cross is doing."

Butler said he hopes to play professionally, most likely overseas, when his career is over. Hope the college career lasts a little longer.

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