APPLETON - "Ty Lawson was on a fast break, and I went up to jump. I knew something wasn't right. My tendon rolled pushing my kneecap up to the middle of my thigh. As soon as I saw where it was I knew I was in pretty bad trouble."
Brian Butch was at the peak of his career. He'd signed a two-year contract with the Denver Nuggets in April of 2010. After years of playing overseas and one season in the NBA Developmental league, this was his shot. But, on a summer night in Vegas of last year, fate proved otherwise.
"There's two ways: I could be upset and disheartened, or I can keep pushing through and say alright this is day one of a long rehab process," Butch said.
Two patella tendon surgeries and nine months later, Butch is still working himself back into basketball shape.
"Is that frustrating? Definitely. But, I realize that my opportunities are still out there. Teams are still going to give me a chance, and as long as there is one team out there that wants to give me a chance I'll keep fighting to get back there."
This past year has given Butch a lot of time to think about what's important to him. Paying it forward is high on his list.
Butch asked himself these questions, "How can I give back to the community? How do I find a way to offer something to the community because it's been so good to me?"
His answer is providing three basketball camps this summer for girls and boys in 7th through 12th grade. For 125 dollars the campers will work on developing their game, receive recruiting advice, and they'll leave with a three month workout program Butch uses daily.
"The hope of my camps is to get another McDonald's All-American, another player to play top division one, and someday reach the NBA. That would be awesome."
As campers strive to reach their dreams, Butch will be right there with them.
"By far this has been the toughest thing I've had to go through. I think it's only made me a better person. There will be another opportunity, and that's what I'm looking forward to."
Whether that's playing overseas, in the D-League, or in the NBA; Butch isn't about to give up.
For more information on Brian's camps go to www.brianbutchbasketball.com.
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