Jared Butler’s Path to Waco | How Baylor Was Built

Jared Butler, 6-3, 195, G, Jr., (Reserve, La.)
Transferred: Aug. 19, 2018

When Scott Drew came to Riverside Academy back when Jared Butler was in the sixth grade, Butler’s father told him to go get a photo with the Bears head coach. Butler did it … reluctantly.

“My son is a point guard,” said Richard, Butler’s dad, as he took the picture.

Two years later, it was Baylor assistant Jerome Tang who made the trip back to Louisiana. He actually wasn’t there to see Butler, but instead stopped by to check in with Riverside Academy coach Timmy Byrd, who he had become close with from when Byrd coached former Baylor standouts Tweety Carter and Ricardo Gathers.

“I remember him (Tang) coming to the school,” Butler added. “It was a big thing, a Baylor assistant coach at our school.”

“He was a little chubby kid back then,” Tang joked about Butler. “But Coach Byrd told me he was going to be better than Tweety.”

Still, Tang really wasn’t that interested.

Butler was a volume shooter, and Baylor didn’t need guards in that class. Plus, Tang didn’t want to string along Byrd and recruit Butler if he wasn’t sure that he would have a chance to succeed in Waco.

But then it all changed after Butler’s junior year. Alabama was the first high-major school to make an offer to him, and Virginia followed. Baylor guard Jake Lindsey wasn’t healthy, so the Bears now had a need for a guard. Unfortunately for Baylor, Butler “loved” Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett, but his father ultimately felt as though Avery Johnson and the Crimson Tide were the best fit for his son.

“I think my parents felt like the playing style at Virginia wasn’t the best situation for me,” Butler told Stadium.

Butler signed with Alabama and only spent two months on the Tuscaloosa campus before parting ways with the program.

“Unfortunate circumstances forced me to part ways with Alabama,” Butler said.

Instead of re-opening his recruitment, Butler and his family quickly decided that Waco would be the best situation, especially with the relationship between Byrd and the Baylor coaching staff.

“There weren’t any other schools in the mix,” Butler said.

The only way Butler was able to come on board was because Jake Lindsey agreed to give up his scholarship.

“He didn’t even know me like that,” Butler said. “I owe Jake so much.”

Butler took advantage of the unlikely opportunity.

He was solid as a freshman for the Bears, averaging 10.2 points and 2.7 assists while shooting 35 percent from long range. A year ago, he became a full-time starter and was the leading scorer (16.0 ppg) on a team that spent time at No. 1 in the country.

But this season he’s become a National Player of the Year candidate by averaging 17.0 points per game and shooting 44 percent from 3.