Riverside’s Jared Butler signs with Alabama and coach Avery Johnson

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RESERVE, La. – When it comes to fitting in in recruiting for a prospective recruit, style matters. So does familiarity and being comfortable.

For Jared Butler, the fit at Alabama was undeniable.

Butler officially signed to play college basketball at Alabama for New Orleans native Avery Johnson Tuesday at a ceremony at Riverside Academy

The six-foot-three, 190-pound Butler felt the decision was not a tough one.

“Avery Johnson is a big-time guy who I look up to,” Butler said. “He kind of led the decision for me. He is an NBA guy, a star player and a very successful head coach. He also went to Southern. He knows what he is talking about. Their entire coaching staff that recruited me showed me a lot of love and they were consistent throughout the process. It is just a great fit.”

Butler averaged 21.5 points, 6.5 assists and 6.3 rebounds a year ago for the Rebels. He won state championships at Riverside in eighth and ninth grade and was an integral part of a football state championship in 2016 as well. Butler quit football this year, his senior season, to concentrate on basketball.

Butler chose Alabama over Baylor, Virginia, USC and Wichita State, among others.

Johnson runs a fast-paced, quick shot offense, the kind of offense that Butler is accustomed to under Timmy Byrd at Riverside.

“Coach Johnson wants to play very fast,” Butler said. “He wants to shoot the ball in under seven seconds, similar to what we do under Coach Byrd at Riverside. That was important to be, big in the decision I made.”

Byrd feels Butler can be perhaps his most successful player ever at the next level.

“He’s got the complete package on and off the court,” Byrd said. “He’s a 4.0 student with lots of college credits. He’s very mature for his age (17). He’s got a college body already. He’s an ex football player with the physicality you want. He’s mentally tough and he’s physically tough and on top of all that, he’s got the skill package to go with it. He’s got a bright future in front of him. I think he chose Alabama because he liked their style and that Avery Johnson could help him in the ball screen offense.”

Riverside has failed to win a state title the past two seasons after dominating in its class previously.

“I feel very comfortable with all of the guys coming back, with the experience we have,” Butler said. “I just can’t wait to win. I’ve been waiting for two years to put another banner on the wall.”

Butler has winced in pain watching the Rebel football team from the stands this year.

“It is been tough, very tough,” Butler said. “Every Friday night, I still get jitters like when I used to play. Every time I think about it, I think about what I am sacrificing to be at the next level. It’s all about a process and where I wanted to be. Unfortunately, that is something I had to do.”

Byrd sees Butler making his mark early in the SEC.

“He’s always been a really good shooter and he is now more physical, able to get into the lane, to the basket, with the ability to finish and get to the free throw line,” Byrd said. “On top of that, he’s a great leader.”

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Ken Trahan

Ken Trahan

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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE Owner and CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Football Foundation, College…

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