On Monday, Chris Holtmann and the Butler Bulldogs secured a commitment from one of the best all-around basketball players in the class of 2017 when Kyle Young, a four-star recruit out of Ohio, offered up his pledge to play for the Bulldogs.
This is the third 2017 commitment for Holtmann and company.
Young’s pledge, though, may represent a shift in how Butler will be viewed on the recruiting trail in the years to come.
Proud to announce that I will be a bulldog!???? pic.twitter.com/oYBKpVsc8D
— Kyle Young (@kyleyoung3144) August 29, 2016
In the past under Brad Stevens and the coaches before him (Todd Lickliter, Thad Matta and Barry Collier), Butler was playing in mid-major conferences and was known as a school that mined the country for under-the-radar prospects.
The Bulldogs were mostly known for developing two- and three-star recruits and molding them to fit their system. The method defined the “Butler Way.”
Butler was rarely, if ever, a destination spot for four-star, top-100 recruits.
Sure, Stevens started to change that dynamic and was moving the program in a direction to land four-star recruits. However, ever since the move to the Big East and with Holtmann coming aboard, Butler is starting to be viewed in a different manner.
With Stevens responsible for changing the perception of the program from “the little engine that could” into a program that could contend for titles—as it did in 2010 and 2011—Holtmann is now reaping the rewards of what Stevens started.
Considering that ex-Bulldogs Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack are in the NBA, recruits are noticing that Butler is a place that can further their basketball careers.
Even before the commitment of Young, Holtmann was laying the groundwork for making Butler a viable destination for elite recruits. This isn’t even the first four-star recruit Hotlmann has snagged.
Last year, he landed Joey Brunk, a four-star big man expected to make a huge impact this season, and that may have gotten the ball rolling.
As for the player Young is, he will give Holtmann an extra dimension on the court.
Young, a 6-6, 205-pound small forward from Massillon, Ohio (Jackson High School) is rated a four-star recruit according to 247Sports. The site ranks him the No. 81 overall prospect in the 2017 class and the 17th-best small forward in the country. 247Sports also regards him as the third-best basketball player in the state of Ohio.
Young packs athleticism and smarts into one lethal package. While not particularly fast, Young is quick with his decision making on the court.
As with many Butler recruits, Young is a gifted shooter. He can score from anywhere on the court. He will fit perfectly in Holltmann’s system.
One aspect of Young’s game that will endear him to the Butler faithful is his ability to find the open man. He has great vision and loves drawing defenders and dishing the ball. Young offers more versatility than Kellen Dunham, to whom some will no doubt compare him.
Young will join Jerald Butler and Cooper Neese in Holtmann’s class. The momentum of Holtmann landing Brunk last year and Young this year should snowball into bigger and better things. Considering Indiana is usually a hotbed for top-notch recruits, Holtmann has a great home base to work from.
Combining the groundwork laid down by Stevens, the recent tournament success, the move to the Big East, and playing in one of the most historic basketball arenas (Hinkle Fieldhouse), Holtmann has a lot to sell, and recruits are clearly noticing.
No matter the coach, Butler always runs a great program, but landing elite-level talent has always evaded the Bulldogs.
That’s all changing now.
The commitment of Young to Butler is a game changer. It will go a long way in redefining how Butler will be viewed in the eyes of recruits.