The Butler Bulldogs have always prided themselves on getting the most out of under-the-radar talent.
Since 247Sports began tracking recruits, they have had only three four-star commits: Kellen Dunham, Joey Brunk and Khalif Battle. Nobody needs to tell you how good Kellen was for the Dawgs, and Brunk will be looking to take a big step forward in the 2018 season. Battle, meanwhile, will be suiting up for for LaVall Jordan’s bunch starting next season (assuming a decommit isn’t in the future, of course).
Other than that, it’s a host of three-stars and two-stars. But that hasn’t affected their trajectory, and you don’t need me to tell you that. They have 12 20+ win seasons, seven 25+ win seasons and two 30+ win seasons. That’s pretty remarkable considering that that’s not really how it’s supposed to work. Yet Butler’s winning tradition marches on even without a lot of blue-chip prospects.
The same can basically be said for their 2018 class. It’s a two-man group with two three-star players. The class ranks 103rd in the nation and ninth in the Big East. The only team rated worse is the Marquette Golden Eagles. But MU’s lone recruit of course is the much-celebrated Joey Hauser. So solely based on that, it could be argued that Butler has one of the “weaker” recruiting classes. Yet, would it surprise you if these two players make the most out of their careers at BU? Probably not. Just went over that above. Let’s keep it moving here.
Here are the 2018 recruits that Butler will be bringing into the mix this coming season.
From: Grand Rapids, MI
Played At: Godwin Heights Senior HS
Position: Small Forward
Height/Weight: 6’6/190 lbs.
Star Rating: 3-Star
Rankings: 477th Nationally/105th Position/11th State
Markeese Hastings was the first commit for the Dawgs in 2018. He committed all the way back in November, and also holds the honor and distinction of being head coach LaVall Jordan’s very first commit. At the time of his commitment, he was choosing between Butler as well as the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers and Western Michigan Broncos, among others.
At 6-foot-6 and 190 lbs., Hastings has a well-built frame and will be able to give Butler some production on the wing. The positives that most have pointed out about him are his athleticism, his ability to play standout defense and his rebounding. He might be a little bit rough around the edges offensively right now but there will be plenty of room for growth for him.
It will be interesting to see if he is able to scourge up any playing time as a freshman. Henry Baddley and Duke Blue Devils transfer Jordan Tucker are ahead of him in the experience department and may take up PT on the wing. There’s a chance that they could put him down at the ‘4’ along with his fellow freshman (who we’ll be talking about shortly) but we’ll see. In all, Hastings certainly has a chance to be a promising player in the future and may very well find a way to make an impact as a freshman.
From: Sharpsburg, MD
Played At: St. James School
Position: Power Forward
Height/Weight: 6’9”/220 lbs.
Star Rating: 3-Star
Rankings: 224th Nationally/39th Position/7th State
The Bulldogs’ second incoming recruit this season is Bryce Golden. The Maryland native is listed at 6-foot-9 and 220 lbs. as he enters his freshman season. An under-the-radar recruit, Golden is a three-star player who ranks 224th nationally in the 2018 recruiting rankings.
Depending on where he’s at, he may be asked to do a little more heavy lifting than his freshman contemporary. Right now, Butler’s size is a bit of an “issue,” so to speak. Butler has just two players listed at 6-foot-9 or higher who aren’t Golden. Those players being Nate Fowler and Joey Brunk. Brunk has only logged 158 minutes in college and does figure to be essential. But with size being a need, you might see Fowler on the floor quite a bit.
BUTLER WRITERS ANALYSIS
Brett Johnson: I think Butler got two high motor, high energy guys that can definitely contribute if the current guys (Brunk and Christian David) can not. I see Hastings and Golden pushing for possibly the 8-9 spot off the bench but definitely being able to make an impression before Tucker has his shot at the Crossroad Classic.
Both guys can rebound so it will be a classic Butler situation where if any of the guys show the ability to make the extra effort they can steal some minutes but, it will be difficult without an injury projecting a heavy role in the team this year. It will be interesting to see if LaVall will feel pressured to play more than 7ish guys now that he is bringing in his recruits. But Hastings is pretty much Michael Jordan.
Kevin Urquhart: Hastings seems like he could become a classic Butler steal. The hustle and effort are already there and it sounds like the team mentality is as well. That being said, a lot of skills are pretty raw. Reminds me of Henry Baddley a little bit. It all depends on his skill development.
Golden is intriguing as well because I think Butler is going to have some serious problems in the paint this year. They had trouble defending the paint a little bit last year and now they’ve lost Wideman. My guess is that at some point, Golden is going to see some minutes because LaVall will be looking for a stopper in there. His offensive game won’t get him on the floor with Fowler already there so he should commit to developing his defense and rebounding.