Nate Butler Commitment Adds to TCU’s Size and Athleticism


Connell Crossland from John Logan Junior College committed to TCU last week which paved the way for his teammate at Logan to follow. Nathaniel Butler committed to play for Jim Christian and the Frogs today.

Nathaniel Butler is a 6’6 guard/forward the Illinois junior college who also had an offer from the University of Southern California. Last season Butler averaged slightly over 13 points per game in his second year since leaving his home in Puerto Rico.

With Butler’s commitment, TCU now has ten players on its roster who are 6’5 or taller. All four commitments in the 2011 class are atleast 6’6 or taller, and Ryan Rhoomes and Adrick McKinney come with big physical bodies as well as standing at 6’8 and weighing in at 230+ pounds.

While I do not profess to know Jim Christian’s strategy for recruiting and I am not in his head, his philosophy may be becoming more evident. He has recruited long, tall, athletic, and physical players who will make his team more physically prepared to compete in the Big East.

At any point next season, Christian will be able to have four guys on the court at 6’6 or over playing with Hank Thorns. Last season, Christian often had to play Garlon Green at the four position which left TCU undersized and physically undermatched at times. Amric Fields will have a full offseason of working in the weight room to improve his physicality.

Christian admitted last season that Amric Fields was forced to play 30 minutes a game at times because of a lack of depth when physically he was prepared to play around 10-15 minutes a game. Fields performance was admirable to say the least, and he has fans excited about the dynamic player that he can become.

Jim Christian stated that his team needed more physicality before it enters the Big East, and the front court depth that Christian has ensured himself in the class of 2011 has provided him just that. With Nikola Cerina, Adrick McKinney, and Ryan Rhoomes to play the 4 and 5 positions, Fields and Green will be able to play their more natural positions where they can use their skills on the perimeter.

The wild card in the situation is Cheick Kone from Mali. As a sophomore this past season, he played less than meaningful minutes, but if he develops into a serviceable big, TCU will have quite a crop of post players.

So from here, Jim Christian’s attention will likely turn to the guard position. With one, perhaps two, spots left in the 2011 class, Christian would ideally be able to lure Shaquille Stokes to Fort Worth. The New York point guard is still visiting schools after getting a late start, and after the commitment from Ryan Rhoomes, Rhoomes said that he believes Stokes will follow him to Fort Worth.

Stokes has been named the All-Brooklyn Player of the Year. The New York Post praised all aspects of Stokes game. Dylan Butler of the Post wrote:

"Scoring, distributing and leading, Shaquille Stokes did it all for Lincoln. He was the floor general coach Dwayne (Tiny) Morton needed while remaining a lethal scorer and a dogged defender. He fit in well with freshman sensation Isaiah Whitehead, the younger praising Stokes’ leadership qualities at every turn."

Hank Thorns has one year left at TCU. He was a Bob Cousy Award Finalist for the best point guard in America, and he will be tough to replace after next season. Thorns amassed 225 assists in 2010 which was nearly half of the assists for the entire team. Since nothing makes a coach more nervous than not having a point guard, signing Stokes would have Jim Christian breathing easier. In the long run, Christian would have his point guard of the future. In the short run, Christian would have more depth at the guard position whether Ronnie Moss returns or not.

Stokes is currently in the midst of taking his official visits.

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