Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Westside

March 18, 2014

Uphill climb awaits Butler hoops

(Continued)

Worse than the on-court results, it appeared some of Miller’s players lost respect for him and the jersey they wear. Five different players served suspensions, including juniors Jones and Kam Woods in the final month. Jones wasn’t allowed to make the trip to New York for the one-and-done in the conference tourney, a sad end to an equally sad season.

Most of us aren’t blessed with Stevens’ kind of brilliance, thus we learn on the job. Miller certainly deserves another year to improve the program and his own coaching acumen, but if next year looks anything like this, especially on the disciplinary end, Butler has to cut him loose. It doesn’t have time to be patient. Other than Rotnei Clarke’s transfer in, Butler won no big-time recruiting battles after two Final Fours. What chance would it possibly have if it slides to virtual irrelevance?

Stevens benefited from being in the Horizon League, which Butler won four times in five years during his tenure. The Bulldogs finished third in the Atlantic 10 last year and made the NCAA tourney as an at-large. It’ll take a six-game turnaround next season to have a shot, and right now, it’s hard to picture where those wins will come from.

We’ll see what Butler’s made of quickly next season when it goes to the Battle of Atlantis, a Thanksgiving tournament filled with the likes of Florida, UCLA, North Carolina and Wisconsin. More than that, we’ll see if it’s more prepared and suited for Year 2 in the Big East.

Butler now enters what is arguably its most critical offseason in program history. It has a long way to go, and a short time to get there.

— Brent Glasgow is a sports writer for the Westside Flyer. He can be reached at brent.glasgow@flyergroup.com or 272-5800, ext. 173. Follow him on Twitter @BGlasgow37.

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