Spring 2021 Magazine

Baylor star Jared Butler leads team in scoring, teaches Sunday School in free time

Jared Butler has been lighting up the scoreboards this year for Baylor as the Bears make a push toward a Final Four appearance.

On Sundays, though, he’s being a light to elementary school students. Baylor’s leading scorer spends some of his free time teaching Sunday School classes at Harris Creek Baptist Church in Waco, Texas.

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“I’ve been fortunate to teach second and third graders this year in my down time,” he told Sports Spectrum. “It’s always good to be with them and they do a great job of listening every week. It’s a blessing to get to share the Gospel with them. I love it and glad to be asked about it.”

Butler was busy this past Sunday, however, as he contributed 16 points in Baylor’s 76-63 win over Wisconsin in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. And the No. 1-seeded Bears hope to occupied for the next couple of weekends as well. They take on fifth-seeded Villanova on Saturday in the Sweet 16, and with a win would play again Monday in the Elite Eight for the first time since 2012. Should they advance again, they’d claim their first Final Four berth since 1950.

Baylor enters this weekend with a 24-2 record, the best winning percentage in program history (.923). And Butler has been the team’s leading scorer with 16.9 points a game.

They’ve had pressure on them all season. How have they been able to handle it?

“I think thankfulness for sure, besides our Lord and Savior,” Butler said during a January interview with ESPN. “But thankfulness in our ability to be able to just take every moment in as a gift. As you know, with college basketball not being able to play sometimes, it’s hard emotionally. We just try to be thankful we get to play every game, and the games we do get to play, we just try to leave it all out there on the court and just really buy in to what we have. I think we have something special here at Baylor, for sure.”

That something special stems from Baylor’s culture of JOY — a mindset that serves as an acronym for “Jesus, Others, Yourself.”

“That’s our way of thinking here,” Butler told Sports Spectrum. “Because we are at Baylor, we can say the word ‘Jesus’ and that can be our brand, our culture. I’m joyful because I get to be with these guys, get to practice and play. It’s a joy to be together.”

Saturday’s game against Villanova tips off at 5:15 p.m. ET at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

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