Woodlawn's Butler a force of 1

January 31, 1994|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,Contributing Writer

When preparing defenses for Woodlawn's 6-foot-7, 220-pound junior forward Guy Butler, Dundalk boys basketball coach Andy Pons recently encountered what a lot of other area coaches have this season.

After Pons had put his strategies to work, Butler still scored 30 points last month to lead Woodlawn to a 61-58 victory over the Owls.

"We had the lead on them and they just kept going to him and we couldn't stop him," said Pons. "He's so big and strong that he gets position real well. At halftime, we stressed not letting him get position inside and I thought we did a nice job of denying him position, but he just popped outside and buried the threes.

"It became a possession game in the fourth quarter and every time down the floor I knew where they were going, the fans knew where they were going and my team knew where they were going, but we couldn't stop him."

Such a dilemma is not reserved for Baltimore County coaches .

Broadneck coach Ken Kazmarek was bewildered similarly as the Butler-led Warriors defeated his Bruins of Anne Arundel County, 52-46, in the finals of last month's Wes Unseld Classic at Catonsville Community College. For his efforts, which included 28 points in an opening-round victory over Hammond, 14 in an 85-63 semifinal win over Loyola and 18 points in the final, Butler was named tournament Most Valuable Player.

"He's a very impressive athlete and his overall body strength and quickness was a difficult combination to handle," said Kazmarek, whose team is 9-2. "We were very conscious of knowing that we couldn't guard him with one man, but his teammates did a good job of isolating him and they did a good job of getting him the ball.

"He has great quickness, he moves well without the ball and he's hard to box out. He's just very difficult to stop."

His numbers support that statement.

Butler is averaging 19.5 points and 7.2 rebounds a game. Most importantly, however, the fourth-ranked Warriors are 12-0 and riding a 36-game regular-season winning streak, despite the absence of 1992-93 Baltimore County Player of the Year Donte Dudley, who has been out all season with a knee injury.

Woodlawn coach Rod Norris, who describes Butler as a "sleeping giant" because of his size and quiet demeanor, said he knew Butler's scoring figures would rise with the departure of Dudley but he didn't think they would soar as they have.

"We weren't sure how things would unfold when Donte went down, but it just so happened that Guy is filling Donte Dudley's shoes rather nicely," said Norris. "His strength is his greatest asset but he is a tremendous mover. For a kid his size, he does a lot of things that pro and college coaches would drool over. He can handle the ball well, drive both ways, has explosive leaping ability and a nice shot. He's got Division I tools."

Since he is only a junior, Butler will have at least another year to decide where he will continue his education and his basketball career, but for now he is happy with his new role and is concentrating on bringing Woodlawn a state championship.

TTC "Last year, I was more of a post-up player, but this year, the coach is letting me drive to the hoop more and letting me shoot more from the outside," said Butler.

"I'm starting to feel more comfortable on the court and my guards know where I like to get the ball."

So do opposing defenses; they just can't stop him.

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