Butler to open new season with private practice
Butler doesn’t want television cameras, large crowds or hype. So
the national runner-ups are going under cover for their opening
Players and coaches boarded a team bus in the afternoon and
drove about 25 miles south of Indianapolis to Franklin College.
They moved into their temporary housing and prepared for their
first official workout Friday night.
”I think it’s sort of out of necessity because of the football
game and volleyball games here, and at the same time, it gives us a
chance to really be focused,” senior center Matt Howard said.
”You know, if we’re not focused there, we’ve got problems.”
Fame hasn’t changed Butler’s approach to the start of basketball
While most schools turn opening night into a glitzy showcase for
fans and recruits, the Bulldogs have never subscribed to that
theory and won’t start now.
Instead, the Bulldogs are doing what they’ve always done on the
night formerly dubbed Midnight Madness – using the first practice
to set the tone for the season and letting wins, losses and
game-day crowds make their pitch to recruits.
”It wouldn’t have made me want to come here,” Howard said. ”I
was looking at performance, and Midnight Madness is not indicative
of why you win games. If you come to a game, in general, you’ll see
the fan base.”
Coach Brad Stevens wants to do it his way, and that means
sticking to basics.
”That’s just not part of our preparation,” he said before
leaving Hinkle Fieldhouse. ”For me, it’s about getting a chance to
go to work. To each program, their own. But just because other
schools are doing it, doesn’t mean it’s the thing for us.”
Players will work out once Friday night and twice Saturday
before returning to school. Stevens describes it as a two-day
”mini-camp,” and acknowledges it’s something he’s wanted to do
But it’s also practical. With the Bulldogs’ volleyball team
playing at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Friday night and Saturday
afternoon, practice time would have been limited anyway. The
football team also hosts rival Dayton on Saturday at 1 p.m..
”I think it’s great that we get to spend some more time with
our teammates off the court,” guard Shelvin Mack said. ”And to
get away from campus a little bit is great, too, because a couple
of players can’t really go home because of distance anyway. So it’s
an opportunity for us to grow as a team.”