CLOSER LOOK: Murrieta Vly PF Darius Butler

Take a closer look at Murrieta Valley senior forward Darius Butler and you’ll see a young man scratching at the surface of incredible athletic potential.

Butler is a 17-year-old just beginning to grow into his (still growing) 6-foot, 4-inch frame.

As coach Steve Tarabilda said, “Darius is just a man. Darius is a man.”

Butler has the strength to bang bodies, the agility to run the lane, and the skill to shoot from outside. And he’s adept at all three.

Murrieta Valley senior Darius Butler averages 21 points and four rebounds per game this season. / Rodrigo Pena Photography

He was the Nighthawks’ volume shooter in their 58-54 victory in the recent Big Daddy Tournament championship game on Saturday, Dec. 3.

“I know I have to score more than last year,” said Butler, who was 8 of 14 from the field and finished with 18 points.

And even though he sank a huge three-pointer last season, extending a CIF first round playoff game into double overtime, he was just 0 for 2 from outside on Saturday night.

Last season, that 0-for-2 may have been 0-for-4 or 5 or 6 had he felt inclined.

“He’s starting to make a lot better decisions. He’s always done well with his physical presence, being strong with the ball and all that. There’s a couple of shots tonight where he knows he should’ve maybe passed but he’s making a lot better decisions,” Tarabilda said.

Now in his third varsity season, Butler has begun to recognize his own progression. He sees the game at a different speed.

“It’s been a lot slower,” said Butler, averaging 21 points this year. “The game has slowed down a little bit more for me. It was quick last year, really fast.”

For a big man, that’s essential. Positioning and footwork are essential to a player of Butler’s stature. Those movements (done correctly) are performed in half-seconds, and it is the timing of those movements that is crucial to winning the battle for the low block.

If the game is slowing down for a savvy scorer like Butler, look out. His post moves are real, and he’s all wet from 15 feet. And you know he’s working on that 18-24 footer.

So what can one of the team’s leaders take from winning a mid-level preseason tournament?

“That we know we can beat good teams and break people down,” he said, without a glint of false modesty from his intense brown eyes.

It was at that point where I remembered Tarabilda saying, “We’re excited for him.”

He see what everyone can see –Butler is a winner.

He a winner because he get’s it. He won a CIF title as a sophomore, failed to get past the quarterfinals last year, and realizes that this is his last shot.

And he’s making the most of it.

Photos by RODRIGO PENA PHOTOGRAPHY

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Comments
One Response to “CLOSER LOOK: Murrieta Vly PF Darius Butler”
  1. Debi Howell says:

    This young man is as humble as he is good!!! He deserves a scholarship!!!

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