Selected 30th overall, the last pick of the first round, Butler exudes all that is good in the NBA. And being picked last in the first round couldn't be ironic for a young man who has excelled against all odds to become one of the Bulls most promising young talents. Born in Houston, Texas, Butler was born into a life a laxity. Shortly after birth, Butler's father abandoned him and his family. When he was 13, living with his mother in a suburb of Houston called Tomball, Butler was kicked out unexpectedly by his mother. Citing that she didn't "like the look" of the young Butler, he was told he, "had to go." Forced to fend for himself and become self-sufficient at an age where most kids were only thinking about sports, girls, and what to do on the weekend. For Butler, the motive was survival.
During the summer before his senior year, Jimmy attended a basketball league, where then freshman Jordan Leslie challenged him to a three-point shooting competition. The two were instant friends, and Butler began to stay over at the Leslie household. After a few months, the Leslie family, already raising six children, decided to take in Butler as their own. As a senior for Tomball, Butler averaged 19pts and 8rebs a game. But what was more significant for the 18yr old was the fact that he had a place to call home, and a loving support system he could call a family. That support system would help the young guard through more tough times. Looking to make a way for himself in basketball, he wasn't heavily recruited by any colleges and chose to attend Tyler Junior College. After one season at the JuCo, he then transferred to Marquette University. During which in his first season he averaged 5pts, and 4rebs per game.
Butler wouldn't stop at just getting minutes for Marquette, he would earn a starting position with the team his junior year. Butler averaged 14.7 points, and 6 rebounds per game during his junior year. That would earn Butler All Big-East Honorable Mention honors and finally a chance to be in the spotlight.
By Butler's senior season he shredded his "scorer" label, exuding versatility and leadership, and an ability to defend multiple positions. Keeping his focus on being the best possible student-athlete, Butler went heavily recruited without even noticing.
Not only does this story feel good, but it has the potential to propel another young Bulls player into stardom. And as his track record shows, he will never, ever, let the hype get to his head. A trait fit for a 2011-12 Chicago Bull.
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