Da’Sean Butler is still a household name in West Virginia. His basketball prowess led the Mountaineers to new heights and he helped re-establish the WVU name nationwide.
He’s no longer in the Mountain State, even though his impact is still felt in West Virginia. People will speak his name, although more in a past-tense. Where people still talk about Butler in the present is in Germany.
Butler has been playing for the Ratiopharm Ulm of the Basketball Bundesliga, which is the top-level of hoops in that country.
Recently, Butler and Ratiopharm Ulm made a commitment to each other for another season. Last week, Butler renewed his contract with the team and will remain one of its go-to players for the 2016-17 season.
Butler has already joined several other teammates, like John Flowers and Alex Ruoff, who have established themselves as standout players in various overseas leagues.
This isn’t the NBA, or even the NBA-Development League, however it is still a chance for these former Mountaineers to play the game they play.
Plus, they are still pretty darn good basketball players.
Butler, however, had a chance to stay in the United States and make his way onto a professional basketball team, here.
He was selected by the Miami Heat as the 42nd overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. He didn’t even make the team out of training camp. Still, another NBA team took a chance on Butler, as the San Antonio Spurs signed him and assigned him to the Austin Toros of the D-League.
Butler chose to leave the country, though, and originally sign with the Latvian League. Since coming to Germany, Butler also played in France and Belgium.
Getting this far still has to be a dream-come-true for Butler as his basketball future was called into question with his gruesome injury against Duke in the 2010 Final Four.
The moment of WVU head coach Bob Huggins embracing Butler on the floor in Indianapolis remains one of the most iconic in NCAA Tournament history. It showed how much a coach loves and appreciates his players.
It also meant the end of an era for the Mountaineers. Butler, originally a recruit by former head coach John Beilein, along with Wellington Smith were the team leaders who helped motivate and develop a host of younger players like Flowers, Kevin Jones, Darryl Bryant, Devin Ebanks and Cam Thoroughman.
Butler has had to deal with more injuries, some even more petrifying than his ailment at the Final Four, according to The Exponent Telegram.
“I had an MRI and [the doctors] were like, ‘Your ACL disintegrated, but your knee looks fine,’” Butler said in 2015. “It takes more than a few days for an ACL to disintegrate. It takes at least four weeks, but I was still playing with a knee brace and I was fine.”
Butler continues to play at a high level, despite all of his setbacks. The contract extension in Germany was well-earned and well-deserved.