Tuesday, August 08, 2006

In appreciation of Jamar Butler

They aren't even all the way through the football season previews, yet the boys in Bristol have released their edition of "2006 Big 10 Summer Session" I guess it's pretty much just the equivalent to the Spring Ball recap, but pretty in depth. They aren't specific with and predictions, and there aren't any preseason awards given out, but from the looks of things, Wisconsin is the preseason pick to win the conference, and Alando Tucker is preseason player of the year. It's pretty hard to argue with either of those picks, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Ohio State give them a run for their money if Greg Oden's wrist injury isn't one of those season-long nagging ones. As for now, you have to give the edge to Wisconsin based solely on experience.

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Although you can't really argue them nabbing Tucker as the best player in the conference (he had the most PPG last season of all the returners in the B10), don't be surprised if Jamar Butler ends up with the honor when all is said and done. Last year, he was the team's anchor, and when Je'Kel/TD were off, Jamar was always there to back them up. With both those guys gone, his PPG should go up, and his season could be almost an identical clone to Deron William's 2004 season. It will be his responsibility to gell these freshmen together, and there's no doubt in my mind that he will be able to do it. Jamar does all of the things a premier point guard is supposed to do, he doesn't make many mistakes, and when he does, they aren't glaring ones. A 41% stroke from behind the arch doesn't hurt much either. In the article, ESPN had a little write up on Butler, but it wasn't anything huge.

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Who are the players who do all the little things that help a team win? The coaches were split on Ohio State's Jamar Butler and Penn State's Geary Claxton.

Claxton was described as "one of the better perimeter players in the league" and "a competitive kid that hates to lose and … simply makes plays."

Coaches said Butler "just makes the right pass" and "doesn't get credit for his defense. He's a tough kid."

If I'm not mistaken, I do remember Butler getting the better of Claxton in the team's two meetings last season, but if ESPN wants to view them as equals, maybe I just missed something. It is possible. I don't really put a premium on watching Penn State basketball. BigTenWonk, a highly recommended Big Ten basketball blog, made Butler their POY last season, even though Butler couldn't even crack the all-conference team, making many of the points I offer here, but with stats to back it up. Read it here.

Okay...this is too much basketball for me right now. It's only August, check back in November for more in-depth previews.

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