In early December, Da’Sean Butler and then New York Knicks rookie Miles McBride crossed paths in the NBA G League from the opposite sides of the bench.
Butler, then an assistant coach of the College Park Skyhawks, had a brief chat with McBride before the game.
“After selfishly picking his brain for about about 5-10 minutes, we joked around a bit. Then I told him to take it easy on us. He didn’t. He had a really good game the first time we played him. Surprise.”Da’Sean Butler via wboy.com
McBride obliterated Butler’s team with 31 points to power the Westchester Knicks’ 123-103 rout of the Skyhawks. The next day, McBride dropped his first G League double-double (23 points and 11 assists) to repeat over the Skyhawks, 121-117.
Butler could only shake his head in admiration of his fellow Mountaineer.
Nine months later, Butler and McBride find each other in the same corner. The 34-year-old Butler has joined the Knicks organization as an assistant video coordinator with the hopes of climbing the coaching ranks.
Butler and McBride were two of the best players West Virginia has produced over the last two decades. They played for the same fiery and legendary coach, Bob Huggins, who will be enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Butler, a New Jersey native, helped the Mountaineers reach the NCAA Final Four in 2010 after an NIT Championship in 2007 and a Sweet 16 in 2008. He finished his college career as West Virginia’s all-time third-leading scorer with 2,095 points, behind Jerry West (2,309) and “Hot Rod” Hundley (2,180).
But he couldn’t parlay his sterling college career into an NBA opportunity even after the Miami Heat selected him as the 42nd overall pick in 2010.
Butler bounced from D-League (precursor of G League) to overseas leagues before eventually carving a path to coaching.
McBride is trying to accomplish what Butler failed to do in his professional basketball career. As part of his new job description, Butler is expected to help McBride in breaking down videos of his game whenever he gets an opportunity in the loaded Knicks’ backcourt.
Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau also relies on his video coordinators to help the coaching staff in the team and individual workouts to accelerate their player development.
Those summer workouts in Morgantown whenever Butler was in town will now be transplanted to Tarrytown.
Having Butler in his corner will help McBride navigate his second year with no clear path to regular minutes unless former MVP Derrick Rose gets injured again or traded.
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