Butler’s HS Coach Thinks UConn Perfect Fit

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Natalie Butler, the freshman Big East play of the year with Georgetown last season, reportedly has interest in transferring to UConn. The 6-5 center averaged 13.8 rebounds in 2013-14.

The Hartford Courant's John Altavilla recently spoke with Butler's high school coach, who thinks Storrs would be the perfect landing spot for his former player.

“I am a big UConn fan having played high school basketball at Sacred Heart of Waterbury and Post College for two seasons,” Lake Braddock High School (Va.) coach John Giannelli said Wednesday. “I coached basketball at Watertown High [his players included Rico Brogna, the former major league baseball player].

“And I was surprised that UConn did not come down to see Natalie play as a senior. I knew she could play there. I’ve followed UConn and the Big East my entire life. I knew her work ethic would allow her to get better, and that it most certainly would happen within a great program with a great staff. I know she can play there and I know she can make a difference.”

The Huskies lost center Stefanie Dolson to graduation and the WNBA, and while Morgan Tuck returns and Kiah Stokes return, you can never have enough dominating frontcourt players.

Giannelli thinks that Butler's demeanor and work ethic line up exactly with what coach Geno Auriemma demands from his players.

“UConn would get one committed kid,” Giannelli said. “She chases excellence on and off the court. She is smart and she truly loves basketball. She plays and trains year-round. She works at it. She came to practice early and worked. She stayed 30 minutes after and worked.

“Before practice she’d already be soaked with sweat. I’d kid her, ‘Natalie, why are you wet, it’s not raining out?’ It’s because she had already run the steps in our football stadium before a three-hour practice. She worked with medicine balls. She’s not afraid to bump or push and when she plays rough she plays better.”

Altavilla writes that Butler will choose between UConn and Virginia.

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