For the second consecutive year, Butler celebrated the first day of the NCAA fall signing period by landing three prized men's basketball prospects. First-year head coach Brad Stevens received signed commitments from a trio of Indiana high school players, 6-7 Garrett Butcher of Edgewood 6-3 Chase Stigall of New Castle Chrysler, and 6-7 Gordon Hayward of Brownsburg.
All three players were highly-recruited prospects. Butcher was the ninth-leading scorer in the state last year with a 23.4 scoring average. He finished just behind current Butler freshman Matt Howard (23.6 ppg) on the 2006-07 IHSAA scoring chart. Stigall was a backcourt mate of current Butler freshman Zach Hahn and the second-leading scorer at Chrysler last year. Hayward was a two-sport star at Brownsburg, and he enters his senior year as one of Indiana's top players in both basketball and tennis.
"I love this group's versatility and ability," said Stevens of his initial recruits. "However, and more importantly, they have shown themselves to be high achievers off the court, unselfish on the court and great representatives of their respective high schools."
Butcher was the leading scorer and leading rebounder for 22-1 Edgewood last season. He wound up 14th in the state in rebounding with a 9.1 average, and last summer, he was named a "Core 6" player for the Indiana Junior All-Star Team. In three seasons at Edgewood, he helped the basketball program to a 51-17 record.
"Garrett is a versatile forward who can score both inside and out," noted Stevens. "He brings a contagious passion and energy to the floor every night."
Stigall helped Chrysler High School to a 23-3 season in 2006-07 and a 63-15 mark over three seasons. As a sophomore, he helped New Castle win a 3A state championship. He averaged 14.8 points as a junior and 12.0 as a sophomore, and he was named to the "Central 6" on the Indiana Junior All-Star Team last summer.
"Chase is a wing who can really score in a variety of ways," pointed out Stevens. "He's a good athlete who understands what it takes to win basketball games."
Hayward averaged 13.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists for 14-9 Brownsburg last season. He also shot 84% from the free throw stripe. The versatile athlete earned All-State honors as the No. 1 singles player on Brownsburg's tennis squad.
"Gordon has the unique combination of size and great skill. He can play multiple positions, and he has a good understanding of the game," added Stevens.
A year ago, Butler added current freshmen Matt Howard, Zach Hahn and Shawn Vanzant on the first day of the national signing period. The Bulldogs, who have five seniors on this year's squad, have three additional scholarships to fill for next year.