If you are a basketball fan and live in the South, you obviously have heard of Jackie Butler, a 6-foot-10, 240-pound center from McComb (Miss.) High School.
RivalsHoops.com's reporter, Tim Watts, who has seen Butler play several times, describes Jackie this way: "A strong post player with long arms and great body ... offensively, prefers to play with his back to the basket. Defensively, he is a good shot blocker and rebounder..."
Watts said after an event he watched in June, "Butler turned out some disappointing performances when squared up against some of the better big men during the tournament."
"He will get by on potential," Watts said. "But needs to pick it up a little if he is to be considered one of the nations finest. NBA is first option but is considering Alabama, LSU, Louisville and Ole Miss if he attends college."
Yes, Butler has spoken about putting his name into the 2003 draft. The first high school player taken in that draft will be LeBron James for sure. But Butler is a recruit who plays in spurts. RivalsHoops.com has seen Butler play many times across this country.
This past weekend Butler competed in the Three Stripes event at Hofstra. Butler scored 21 points to lead his team past the Philadelphia Phoenix, a matchup against some decent sized players in Wayne Marshall and Chaz Crawford.
In a loss to the Baltimore Select, Butler scored 14 points. Players like Richard Dorsey and Denard Abraham battled Butler in this game. Against Team Minnesota, Butler dropped in 20 points.
Butler certainly has the skills to someday be an NBA player. But taking it to the next level is dangerous for any high school player without first proving it on the college level. The experience of playing on the college level would only help Butler and his chances of having a long NBA career. Consistency needs to be improved and extending his range on his jumper would help him avoid double and triple teamming in the post.
Alabama, LSU, Louisville and Ole Miss are the schools frequently mentioned by him as possibilities if he decides to take the college route. But he has also mentioned schools like Florida, Michigan, and North Carolina too.
This route needs to be seriously looked at.