Butler commit honors Andrew Smith by changing jersey numbers

Cooper Neese is a Butler commit in the Class of 2017.

Cloverdale High School (Ind.) junior guard Cooper Neese won’t play for Butler until the fall of 2017, but that hasn’t stopped him from already becoming part of the tight-knit community.

On Saturday, an emotional crowd at Hinkle Fieldhouse paid tribute to beloved Butler center, Andrew Smith, who passed away earlier in the week after a two-year battle with cancer.

David Woods of the Indy Star penned a story about how Neese choose to honor the former Butler star.

Neese’s usual jersey number is 11. He asked teammate Robert Nally, who wears No. 44, if he could wear Smith’s number as a tribute to the former Butler player who died Tuesday at age 25 after a two-year battle with cancer.

He scored 33 in the win.

Neese went back to wearing his No. 11 on Saturday, scoring 38 points in a win over Clay City.

Neese is Butler’s first commit in the Class of 2017. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard plays for the Indy Hoosiers in the Under Armour Association during the spring and summer. 

He committed to Chris Holtmann and the Bulldogs back on Dec. 8.

(h/t Indy Star)