Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

All-American Jared Butler declares for NBA draft, thanks Jesus for time at Baylor

After leading Baylor to a national championship, Jared Butler has decided to take the next step in his playing career by declaring for the NBA draft.

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After three years with the Bears, Butler announced his plans to move on to the pros in a Twitter post on Sunday. He thanked Baylor for everything he learned and was able to accomplish as a Bear.

“After much thought, playing in the NBA has been a lifelong goal, and it would only be right to go out as a graduate of Baylor and a National Champion!” Butler stated in the post.

He also wrote, “I can’t explain how grateful I am for the past three years I’ve spent at Baylor. I’m so thankful that Jesus directed me to this great place and gave me relationships and experiences that will last a lifetime.”

Butler, who was a first-team All-American and named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player last season, is considered one of the top players entering the draft. Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman predicted that he will be drafted with the 17th pick in the first round.

“Butler swayed scouts this year by improving his shooting, playmaking and defense while leading Baylor to a national championship,” Wasserman said in his mock draft. “He comes off as an easy fit anywhere based on his ball-handling for creation and convincing spot-up three-ball.”

Interestingly, this is not Butler’s first time declaring for the draft. Last season, Butler had plans to enter the NBA before the tail end of the 2020 season was decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Butler decided in August 2020 to withdraw his name from the draft to compete with the Bears for another season.

His decision paid off with Baylor basketball winning its first men’s title in school history. Butler played an important role in team success, averaging a team-best 16.7 points and 4.8 assists per game for the season.

The 20-year-old also plays an important role in his community β€” he teaches Sunday School at Harris Creek Baptist Church in Waco, Texas.

β€œI’ve been fortunate to teach second and third graders this year in my down time,” he told Sports Spectrum in March. β€œIt’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.”

As a self-proclaimed believer, Butler is quick to give God credit for everything he has accomplished. Following the championship game, Butler told “CBS This Morning” that Jesus led the team through the difficult season.

“I’m not preaching a prosperity Gospel, but our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ just held us all the way through the ups and downs and we came out victorious,” Butler told CBS.

Butler and the rest of this year’s prospects now wait in anticipation for the 2021 NBA Draft, which will take place July 29.

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