From the legendary and inspirational head coach departing the Butler University basketball program to injuries suffered by star returning players, the Bulldogs’ upcoming season will be nothing shy of interesting and concerning.
Although the loss of former head coach Brad Stevens raised many worries, this issue was merely a little fish in a big pond compared to the other countless blows to the face the program was hit by within the past year.
The loss of Chrishawn Hopkins, former Butler basketball soon-to-be phenom, last season will seriously wound the team during this upcoming season. The 6-foot-1 guard tallied 337 points for the Bulldogs during their last year in the Horizon League in 2011-12 season. While the Bulldogs struggled and unsuccessfully made the NCAA tournament that season, Hopkins showed hoped for the future. Regardless, his departure from the program last fall will definitely raise big questions of who can fill his shoes.
Without Hopkins, the team still battled and salvaged any possible losses due to his absence in the 2012-13 season. However, as the 2013-14 season approaches, and the other loss of Roosevelt Jones, the Bulldogs will struggle against the powerhouse programs of the new Big East.
As a sophomore during the 2012-13 season, Jones, a returning forward, gathered 365 points, 203 rebounds, and 17 blocks. Also, remember when the Bulldogs defeated Gonzaga in buzzer-beater fashion as part of ESPN College GameDay? Well, Jones was the man who deftly lofted the ball into the hoop.
The 2013-14 season will bring major concerns and worries about who will fill in Hopkins and Jones’ shoes. With a finalized roster, the Bulldogs contain six freshmen. Of those six, there is no doubt that Rene Castro will see plenty of minutes during this upcoming season.
Castro, a 6-foot-2 guard from a suburb right outside of Boston, Mass., enrolled at Worcester Academy (MA) in 2009, where his future in basketball blossomed. For the 2011-12 season, he was named Gatorade Massachusetts Player of the Year.
Nevertheless, the 2013-14 season will provide the Butler community incite in which direction the program is headed in, now that Brandon Miller holds the torch.