When former Butler Bulldogs coach Chris Holtmann accepted same position at Ohio State in June and Butler turned to alum LaVall Jordan.
The immediate thought on everyone’s mind was if Jordan would be able to keep the impressive five-man recruiting class Holtmann built intact.
The answer: Yes, mostly. Jordan retained four of the five players. They include: Cooper Neese, Christian David, Jerald Butler, and Aaron Thompson, a former Pitt commit who switched his allegiance to Butler in May.
Of that group of four, it’s Thompson who may very well see the starting lineup on opening night.
See, the Bulldogs lost Kethan Savage, Tyler Lewis, and Avery Woodson to graduation. All three primarily played the two guard positions, with Savage and Lewis getting the bulk of the work at point guard for Butler last season. One of the two spots will belong to Kamar Baldwin, as he looks to improve upon a masterful freshman campaign. As mentioned, Lewis and Savage generally played point last year while Baldwin was at shooting guard. Baldwin, however, was recruited as a point guard and has been working there over the summer, as noted by David Woods of the Indianapolis Star.
This is where Thompson comes in. If the Bulldogs decide to stick with Baldwin at shooting guard, the point guard competition comes down to Thompson and George Washington transfer Paul Jorgensen.
When Butler went to Spain over the summer, they played a mix of the three at the two open spots in the four games. All three did fairly well in the fourth game, which certainly doesn’t make the decision any easier, though Jordan offered up the following, “I thought Aaron Thompson did a really good job as he’s learning basketball at this level, just coming in and managing the game. But then, when they pressed up and changed defenses, he was on the attack. So he played with much more poise.”
The big thing Thompson has going for him is that he seems to embody “The Butler Way”. If you watch the video below you’ll see a fast, physical player who has great court vision. It’s easy to think of a guy like Alex Barlow or Tyler Lewis when you watch Thompson, which has to thrill Butler fans.
It will likely be a while until Jordan decides who he wants starting at point guard, and even then, he may switch on a game-to-game basis. Unlike Holtmann who seldom changed starting lineups in his time at Butler, Jordan has options to plug and play guys depending on match-ups. Regardless of if he starts or comes off the bench, Aaron Thompson should be another weapon on a very talented Bulldogs squad.