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Basketball Player Preview: Bullish On Trent Buttrick

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The junior forward will fill many roles this season.

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Minnesota Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Position: small forward, power forward, center.

Height: 6-foot-8

Weight: 234 pounds

Trent Buttrick scored 13 points last season against Alabama while hitting all of his 3-point attempts, going 5-5 from the field. It was the only time through two seasons that he made more than one field goal in a game. That being said, Buttrick was a critical substitution early last year and showed glimpses of his upside.

Penn State may not need Buttrick to play more than a handful of minutes per game this year, but they should get a lot more production from him then some people expect.

What He Did Last Year

Trent Buttrick started twice and played in 26 games as a sophomore. While his numbers did not jump off the stat sheet, his role was vital at times. His minutes dropped off midway through January. He averaged 10 minutes per game until he reportedly got hurt in practice. For the final two months of the season he failed to play more than ten minutes in a game, averaging fewer than 5 minutes played per game.

Per 40 minutes played last year, Buttrick averaged 9.1 points and just under 1 assist and 1 steal, to go along with 6.4 rebounds. There is reason to believe that he will produce if given a bigger role. If you go to his shooting percentages from last year, they do not match the shot that the big man has. He should be able to shoot 3 pointers at a respectable clip when needed this year.

What We Need This Year

With Mike Watkins healthier than he has been since before the Lions went on the NIT Championship run two years ago, Buttrick may not be asked to play much center this season. If Abdou Tsimbila is able to join the team in January as expected, and able to contribute as the 3rd center, Buttrick’s role may be pushed further out into the perimeter.

Buttrick shot 28% from 3-point range last year and there is reason to believe he can get that number up above 35% this coming year, which would make him a threat if the opposing team’s big men don’t want to chase him out that far.

Lamar Stevens mentioned Buttrick during the press conference that he gave while announcing his intention to make himself eligible for the NBA draft back in April. Buttrick was the first name that came out of Stevens’ mouth when asked about players that are improving fast. If Stevens is suggesting that we buy stock in Buttrick, we should all be bullish on the big man.

While it is not likely that Buttrick’s role will be more than a backup big man this year, he will be counted on heavily next year when Stevens and Watkins are gone. No one figures him to be the player that the two four-year starters are, but he could develop into a very useful player. If he can play his best, he could become a guy that scores 8-10 points per game, gets rebounds and makes the defense stretch by hitting a jumper now and then.