The last time we saw Da’Sean Butler, the inspirational forward for the hard-charging West Virginia Mountaineers, he was being helped to a seat after writhing on the floor in agony from what was later diagnosed as a torn ACL and a sprained MCL, injured and out of the 2010 Final Four game against Duke. But surgery, a bit of rehab, and belief in his recuperative abilities by the front office of the MIami Heat could see him with a championship ring early in his career — if all goes well. Monday evening, according to ESPN, Da’Sean Butler became the 18th player signed by the talent-heavy Heat for the upcoming season.
Da’Sean Butler may have ended his career at West Virginia University without the fanfare he would have liked (Duke went on to win against West Virginia and against Butler for the NCAA Championship), but he left WVU as one of its most outstanding basketball players ever. According to ESPN, Butler averaged 17.2 points and over 6 rebounds per game his senior year, leading the way to WVU’s first Final Four appearance in decades. He was also instrumental in West Virginia’s NIT Championship victory in 2007.
Regardless of his injuries, the Miami Heat, who engineered some off-season trades that may prove to have created one of the most powerful teams in NBA history (acquiring Lebron James and Chris Bosh to add to a line-up featuring the inestimable Dwayne Wade), picked Da’Sean Butler 42nd overall (second round) in the 2010 NBA Draft. He joins an elite roster that could conceivably pull off an NBA championship its first year on the court. That is, of course, if Butler makes the squad. He has become the 18th man on a team that will pare itself down to 15 by the start of the season.
His participation in training camp is doubtful, however, according to ESPN. However, he is expected to put in some playing time before training camp ends, and his ACL is expected to be fully healed by the start of the NBA regular season. It is unclear as yet how the Miami Heat coaches will view his entrance onto the team, whether they will continue to simply have faith and bring him in as the 15th man on promise alone, seeing his limited playing as potential to be exploited and banked upon, or view him as a liability and let him go.
But will he be ready? Will De’Sean Butler have the time to both heal properly and put in enough playing time in training camp to convince the Miami Heat coaches that he was worthy of such a high draft choice, despite the injury?
Time will tell, but if he remains with the team, it is conceivable that there is at least one championship ring in his very near future. Da’Sean Butler was fortunate to be drafted by a team that wrangled deals that put Dwayne Wade, the NBA’s highest scorer, Lebron James, the NBA’s MVP for two consecutive years, and Chris Bosh, the Toronto Raptors leading scorer, rebounder, free throw maker, and shot blocker, on the same roster. Analysts are looking at the Heat to be the major contenders in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, an all-star team to take on the perennial championship-bound Boston Celtics, not to mention the oft-Finals bound Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference. And if Butler’s past is an augur, the Miami Heat will certainly be championship bound — or at least knocking at the championship door.