Natalie Butler, the 6-5 Georgetown transfer who was the Big East Freshman of the Year in 2014, will have to sit out next season. NCAA rules require it. But when she is eligible to return to the court in 2015 ... watch out. Not only will she be a part of a formidable recruiting class, she has the potential to be the next great post player to make her way through Storrs.
Coach Geno Auriemma's close friend, DePaul coach Doug Bruno, got an up-close look at Butler last season and he came away impressed.
“I think Natalie Butler has the potential to be a great player,” Bruno told the Hartford Courant. “She’s strong at the basket, a great rebounder. She catches anything that’s thrown to her and she finishes extremely well. And she’s a solid interior passer.”
This doesn't sound much different than what Seton Hall coach Tony Bozzell told the Courant recently.
“Natalie was the most impressive freshmen I have coached against in my 14 years as a Division I head coach,” he said. “And it’s not just because of her numbers and production."
And Bret McCormick of the All-Star Girls Report pretty much told SNY.com the same thing recently.
“She can score. She’s already a good rebounder and I think that she can be a really good passer. She’s just what Geno and UConn needed. There’s no one out there (in the high school ranks) who’s in the 6-5, 6-6 range for them to get. That kind of size is what they need. And with Natalie, they’ve got it.”
So what does Auriemma think about Butler?
“You’re 6-5 and got really good skills and all of a sudden you end up at UConn and you have figured it out,” he said, via the Courant. “You have 18 months before you play your first game, that’s a long time.”
And like just about everybody else, Auriemma expects a lot out of Butler.
“So I think she’s got a chance to really, really have a huge impact on our program. I told her, ‘we don’t do this.’ In 30 years I’ve been here, maybe three or four [transfers]. We don’t do this unless it’s a game changer, and she’s going to be a game-changer for us, no question about it.”