MENASHA -Brian Butch starred on the basketball court at Appleton West, earning a trip to the McDonalds All-American game. He then became an All-Big Ten player at Wisconsin. His professional basketball life has been a much more winding path taking him to foreign lands, NBA cities, and outposts of the American basketball landscape.
Through it all Butch continues to return to his roots each off-season to hold camps for kids throughout the state. This summer while he’s teaching the next generation of hoopsters about the fundamentals and sharing his message of perseverance Butch is figuring out what’s next for his career.
“I have had some summer league opportunities and decided being out of college for as long as I have if summer league was going to make sense again this year. We decided to pass on that and we will look to try and get some individual work outs in in August and if none of that happens we will look at doing some stuff overseas and still playing.”
Butch played last season in the Philippians and said he enjoyed his time there. He has played internationally in China, Germany, Greece, and the Philippines. Butch was honest, not every experience abroad has been positive but he remains amazed at how far the game of basketball has taken a kid from Appleton.
“It has made me a world traveler, good or bad I don't know what it is. I think if I stay healthy, I have a lot more years in the NBA, but everything happens for a reason in this world and that is how I have been able to get through everything. The positive side of me being hurt is that I have had a chance to see a lot of things and experience a lot of things,” Butch reflected.
Butch has enjoyed his time playing abroad but playing in the NBA full-time remains his biggest professional goal.
“That is the ultimate goal, to give it a couple more shots at the NBA Whether it be through individual work outs and those sorts of things.”
Butch, who’ll be 30 years old later this year, has played in the NBDL (the NBA’s Developmental League) before, earning all-star and MVP honors, and feels at that level there’s not much left for him to accomplish.
“I have done the D-League as long as I could have done it and had as much success as anybody in the D-Leauge over those years. We are going to see what happens and see what is out there and while it all is unfolding.”
"I love the game and everybody tells me it is better than a real job, I am going to keep playing as long as I am allowed too.”
Butch’s love of the game is why he does camps like the one this week at UW-Fox Valley. “I love the game and the game has been so good to me. I have been able to see the world and see so many different things that is kind of how the process of the camp started as well. The game has been so good to me it is my job to give back to the game. And it started by running these camps and doing stuff for these little kids, get them excited so that hopefully we have more kids from the Fox Valley that get Division One1 scholarships and can see the world.