WVU's Da'Sean Butler Facing Decision To Play Or Coach - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU's Da'Sean Butler Facing Decision To Play Or Coach


West Virginia University basketball star Da'Sean Butler returned to WVU last fall as a graduate assistant for the men's basketball team. Butler racked up 2,095 points in his career and led WVU to a Big East Tournament Title and the Final Four in 2010.

Butler wants to be a coach when his playing days are over. Injuries have forced Butler to decide if that has already happened. He suffered a torn ACL towards the end of the Final Four game against Duke. He has since had to recover from two similar injuries that has limited his professional career. Butler decided he would conquer two things at the same time. So he decided to get a jump-start on his coaching career by serving as a GA at WVU while rehabbing his knee.

"It was a lot of fun," Butler said following his first year as a Graduate Assistant. "This was my first job from being on the staff of a basketball team. I learned a lot and got a good look at how much work the coaches do and how much work I had no idea that they did. It was an experience to say the least."

The timing of this season as a Graduate Assistant gave Butler the opportunity to return to his alma mater and help coach one player who was his teammate in 2010.

"I got to come back and watch my freshman, Deniz (Kilicli) have his senior night and I got all sad about that," Butler said. "It's been a great year and I have gotten more out of this than I thought I would."

Butler was a player at WVU, but had the opportunity to see things from the other side of the spectrum. Gone are his days as an 18, 19 or 20 year old student-athlete. Now he is an adult seeing the inner-workings of a program from a whole different perspective.

"You deal with a lot of 18 and 19 year olds who are still growing up and are immature," Butler said. "You learn that, but at the same time from the coaches seeing what they do and what they have to deal with and the patience. It's a lot more than I thought it would be."

Butler's rehab process is nearly complete. Aside from his responsibilities to the coaching staff, Butler spent countless hours working with Strength and Conditioning Coach Andy Kettler as well as receiving treatments from Athletic Trainer Randy Meador, otherwise known as ‘Doc'.

"Anywhere Andy Kettler is and I am hurt, that is where I want to be," Butler stated. "I know he will get me back to where I need to get back to. At the end of the day, where would I be without Randy Meador. I've had ‘Doc' for four years and these years after I graduated and ‘Doc' has done nothing but just help me out. I'm grateful to be here with the great staff that helped me grow up and still be around these guys that I learn from every day."

Butler has not had the opportunity to enjoy playing much ball since the injury he suffered against Duke in 2010. He is a competitor. WVU fans saw that throughout his four years in Morgantown. However, he has been unable to compete on the floor and says he has definitely missed that.

"I miss it a lot," Butler smiled. "It's a ton of fun. There is just something missing right now. If I get the opportunity to play again, I will definitely play because there is a big piece of me that is missing. It's difficult not playing, but if an opportunity arises, I'll take that opportunity and embrace it."

With that statement, Butler indicated that playing again is a priority. However, he realizes he has to consider the fact that he could get injured again. Butler made it clear he definitely wants to coach when his playing career is over.

He has trusted friends on both sides of the equation trying to give him advice on what he should do, coach or play.

Former teammates turned assistant coaches like Darris Nichols, Joe Mazzulla and Rob Summers are in his ear.

"Darris gives me a hard time all the time," Butler laughed. "He always tells me you need to coach. You are too slow and just teases me all the time. I talk to Joe and Rob all the time. As tempting as it is, I don't want to sway to one side. "

He also keeps in touch with former teammates playing in the professional ranks.

"I talk to my friends that still play like Danny Green and other guys that play overseas, in the NBA and the D-league," Butler said. "They say to keep playing. I am listening to everybody and weighing my options and what is good for me and my body because I have to live with it."

That last statement regarding his body is a big one. After three major knee injuries since 2010, does Butler want to take the chance on facing another rehab? While his body may be healthy enough to compete, that fear will exist.

It appears he is facing a win-win decision. Should Butler decide to play, he will get to fill the void of competition that he has missed. Should he decide to return as a Graduate Assistant, he will continue down the road towards coaching.

"I will be blessed to go play basketball for another year or more," Butler stated. "If I get to coach, I am here with Coach Huggins, Coach Harrison, Coach Martin and Coach Everhart. Whatever happens, happens and we will go from there."

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