By Will Chamblee | Sports Writer
On the final day to withdraw from the 2020 NBA Draft, junior guard Jared Butler announced that he would be returning to Baylor for his junior year of collegiate basketball.
Butler’s announcement followed senior guard Macio Teague’s decision to also return, meaning that Baylor men’s basketball would have its’ two leading scorers for another season.
Butler spoke with the media following his announcement where he detailed why he chose to return, saying that there were “a lot of hypotheticals” and uncertainty surrounding the decision and that he had to rely on his faith.
“We just had to put it in God’s hands and hope that he would make it right,” Butler said. “Through my faith, I found a lot of peace in this decision.”
Butler said the potential to be a part of another successful Baylor team was also a factor in his choice to stay.
“With the guys that we have coming back and how successful our team could be, I didn’t want to miss out on that opportunity,” Butler said.
Head coach Scott Drew was excited by the news of Butler’s return. In an interview with the Waco Tribune-Herald, Drew spoke on the impact that Butler has on the team.
“Jared brings great energy, charisma, and confidence,” Drew said. “He’s an absolutely tremendous player.”
While Butler did ultimately decide to withdraw from the 2020 NBA Draft, he gained valuable feedback from a host of NBA teams. The Reserve, La. native said that most teams told him that he needed to improve his passing, court vision and athleticism.
“The consensus I got from all the teams was that I need to improve my assist to turnover ratio,” Butler said. “I need to be able to handle the ball and make plays for my guys on a consistent level.”
Despite concerns about his passing and athleticism, Butler was seen by many as a first-round draft pick in this year’s draft and the decision to return to Baylor could be seen as a risk. Butler acknowledged the risks he was taking but said that he wasn’t worried.
“As far as getting hurt, that didn’t weigh on my decision,” Butler said. “And if we don’t play [due to the pandemic], then my draft stock can’t be hurt.”
With the return of Butler and Teague this upcoming season, Baylor is primed for another historical run in basketball and is considered by most to be favorites to win NCAA and Big 12 championships. Butler said that while they may be the favorites, the team knows they have a target on their back.
“Every team we play is going to be desperate,” Butler said. “We know we are good but at the same time we have to get better every day.”
As for Butler’s aspirations for next season, he was straightforward.
“I want to win a National Championship for Baylor,” Butler said.