Compiling a “wish list” for Butler basketball at this point for the Bulldogs' 2015 recruiting class has proven more difficult than trying to compete in the Big East with a roster recruited by a Horizon League program.
If it were for the 2016 class, it'd be absolutely no problem. There are lots of underclassmen in that class, as well as the 2017 class, which intrigue the Butler coaching staff. The names roll on and on: Clayton Hughes, Joey Brunk, Kyle Guy, Payton Pritchard, Matt Moyer, C.J. Walker, Justin Jackson and the names just keep on going. But as far as this summer's recruiting period is concerned, naming who the Bulldogs are chasing is a bit challenging.
Butler's second-year coach Brandon Miller had five open scholarships at one point for the class, but filled two of them when he received verbal commitments from Pendleton Heights wing Sean McDermott and Ohio post man Nate Fowler earlier this summer. With the graduation of point guards Alex Barlow and Jackson Aldridge next May, that position is still of obvious need as far as depth is concerned moving into the 2015-16 season.
Butler coach talks recruiting:
Butler landed North Carolina State transfer Tyler Lewis this spring, and he'll have eligibility through the 2016-17 season, so that gives Miller one guy at the spot. In addition, veteran Roosevelt Jones can play the spot in a limited role, but really Butler needs a back-up to Lewis out of the 2015 class and they haven't secured a commitment yet from a floor leader.
The Bulldogs could also use length up front, if not necessarily depth.
For the 2015-16 season, Butler will have four bodies (Andrew Chrabascz, Tyler Wideman, Fowler and Jackson Davis) up front, but only Fowler (6-foot-10) gives the Bulldogs length like senior forward Kameron Woods will this upcoming season. So another long body would be useful, as well as simply finding the best possible player – regardless of position – for that final scholarship. Having said all of that, using all five scholarships this recruiting class probably won't happen, as it is always useful to have one scholarship in your pocket in case of a talented recruit or transfer pops up that you couldn't have foreseen months earlier.
This “wish list” could include super-recruited players such as Louisville forward Raymond Spalding, who Butler offered early in the recruiting process, but that is all it would be, is a “wish.” Despite the difficulty, here is a list of 2015 high school prospects that Butler has on their radar early in this recruiting period.
Also, check out the 2014-15 Bulldog roster here.
School: Saint James (Maryland) School, Manassas, Virginia (hometown)
Position: Point guard
Offers: A gazillion of them. Old Dominion, Providence, Virginia Tech, UMass, Maryland, Temple, Illinois, George Washington, Memphis, Butler, UNLV, Penn State, Xavier, Kansas State, Creighton and George Mason.
Considering: A gazillion places, but word is Virginia Tech leads the pack.
Bulldogs' interest: As stated earlier, Butler needs depth at point guard and Robinson certainly would give Butler depth – and great talent – at the position. What hurts Butler is the fact that Lewis is sitting in the assumed starting position through the spring of 2017, which would probably turn off a heralded recruit like Robinson. He's not signing with a program unless he probably is going to be the starter from day one, or at least a back-up for one year, but not two. But the way that the Bulldog coaching staff operates is that no job is guaranteed, even Lewis'. So perhaps they sell the concept of competition to Robinson.
School: Morgan Park High School, Chicago
Position: Shooting guard
Offers: Northern Illinois, South Carolina, Creighton, and Bradley.
Considering: Seemingly wide open.
Bulldogs' interest: Harris is certainly interested in Butler, as he visited the campus earlier this summer, but what level of interest is being reciprocated remains to be seen. An issue with Harris isn't athletic ability or his transition game it's that he comes with some baggage. Two days after helping Morgan Park High School to a Class 3A state title in Illinois, Harris announced that he was transferring from the school. This followed his being moved to the bench during the latter part of the high school season.
He told CSNChicago.com in December that he had scholarship offers from Bradley, Creighton, Kansas State, Northern Illinois and South Carolina, while he also claimed interest from DePaul, Illinois, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Tennessee.
Have to think Butler will be in Chicago this week. 2016 Kyle Guy & 2015 G Curtis Cobb at Adidas Event, 2015 G Kain Harris at Chi Summer Jam.— Tyler Hicks (@THicksBH) July 10, 2014
School: Gibbs High School (St. Petersburg, FL)
Position: 4- and 5-man
Offers: A ton of them. Auburn, Xavier, Butler, Tulane, Florida Gulf Coast, Virginia Tech, Georgia
Considering: Seemingly wide open, but considering those above, plus Purdue and Clemson.
Bulldogs' interest: Butler jumped on Ford late last summer as the big man developed his perimeter skills during a productive summer. As many players his size do, Ford has developed late and is getting better all of the time. He's matured from a non-starter on his high school team to playing in front of a horde of ACC and SEC coaches this week.
Ford has the ability to play a “stretch 5” position, which would be a difficult defensive match up for many teams. Butler has had a lot of success in securing Florida-based players, but if they were to land Ford over all of the southern programs that are chasing him, that would be very, very impressive.
Ford comes from a family of height, and has a brother that also played Division I basketball.
School: Pike High School
Position: Small forward
Offers: Western Illinois and Ball State
Considering: Indiana State, San Jose State
Bulldogs' interest: This is where this “wish list” delves into the “reach” category. Butler has Teague on its radar, as they are intrigued – as is everyone – with his athleticism, length and potential. Word through social media this week was that Indiana assistant Tim Buckley was watching Teague play, and he has visited Purdue.
Other Indiana players such as Brownsburg wing K.J. Walton (grade issues) and Corydon Central's Bronson Kessinger (ability questions) fall into that "on the Butler radar" category, as well.
Teague isn't ready for a power-conference today, but neither was JuJuan Johnson the summer before his senior year in high school. He is all about potential and you can't teach that kind of length. Word at the adidas invitational was that Teague's grades might be an issue for some schools.
School: Peru High School
Offers: Indiana State, Ball State, Belmont, Loyola (IL), Valparaiso
Considering: Wide open
Bulldogs' interest: Adelsperger would be another player that falls into that “he's on the radar” category. The agile post player actually fits the Butler mold in a lot of ways. He is incredibly hard-working, well-spoken, is a great kid and strong academically. He is exactly what one thinks of when they think of Butler student-athletes. He is another player that is not at that level today, but just might be a few years down the road. Bulldog fans should think in terms of Andrew Smith.
Adelsperger is long, has a nice frame that will be able to put weight on, works very hard at both ends of the floor and is developing his game each time out.
He has a limited basketball history, so he's a kid with a high ceiling. Butler offered Zionsville big man Derrik Smits a few years ago, but has since cooled on that recruitment. This past week at the adidas Invitational, Adelsperger outplayed Smits (which would have been unthinkable just months ago) in the eyes of many.
No, Adelsperger isn't what Butler needs right now, but redshirt him his freshman year and he's 28 months away from ever being asked to take the floor for the Bulldogs. Ohio big man Luke Knapke (6-foot-10) is another senior that falls into this category and some feel he is better than Adelsperger.
Worst case scenario? Butler gets a 6-foot-11 agile guy that is exemplary off of the court and does whatever you ask of him on the court. He'll be able to defend relatively well and his offensive game will continue to evolve. He could end up being a steal for a high-major program.
More on Adelsperger: adidas Invitational Profile: Seth Adelsperger