Dan Hurley and the rest of the Rhode Island Rams coaching staff strike again. Just a few days after we theorized that Rhody may not add another player for the upcoming 2013-14 season, Hurley reached into his bag of tricks and pulled out a player who most URI fans had not even considered as a possibility. Heck, many fans hadn’t even seen his name associated with Rhode Island. But lo and behold, 2013 shooting guard Matthew Butler has officially signed his letter of intent to join this year’s Rhody squad. Let’s just call it Hurley magic.
Butler is a 6’2″, 190-pounder out of East High School in Memphis, Tennessee. He visited URI a little over a week ago and committed to the Rams earlier this week. Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal was the first to report the news:
Rhode Island has a late signee in 2G Matthew Butler of Memphis East High.
— Kevin McNamara (@KevinMcNamara33) May 14, 2013
In his sophomore and junior seasons, Butler was getting interest from big-name schools like Georgetown, Memphis, and Ole Miss. But an ankle injury in his senior season limited his production and saw him fall off the radar a bit. From K-Mac once again:
Butler dealt with ankle woes this past season and East fell to a 8-15 record. “I missed three or four games but I really wasn’t myself because of the ankle. I didn’t want to let my team down,” Butler said.
The injury only slowed his production slightly; Butler still averaged nearly 15 points per game despite being hobbled, and he’s exactly the sharp-shooter that the Rams have been seeking. From the GoRhody.com release:
As a junior, Butler was a key contributor on the Mustangs 2012 Tennessee state championship squad, hitting 8-of-11 shots from the floor – including 4-of-7 from beyond the arc in the title game against Memphis Central. ESPN.com has listed Butler as a three-star recruit, while ranking him among the top 50 shooting guards in the country.
A pure shooter who can come off the bench and bury shots – what’s not to like? Rhody has now used 12 of their 13 scholarships for next season, and tomorrow is the last day of the regular NLI signing period. But we’ll hold off on saying anything is unlikely now. You never know with this coaching staff. Pleasant surprises are always a good thing.