VANDALIA — A year ago the Butler boys basketball team was at or near the bottom in every offensive category in the GWOC North, and gone from that team is its top four scorers.
On paper, that may seem like a major problem heading into a new season but the Aviators believe varsity experience as well as a talented sophomore class will help Butler improve on last season’s 4-19 record.
Seniors Nathan Stogdill, Tyler Burley, Aaron Fields and Miles Joiner will look to lead a talented team that should prove deeper and more athletic than the past few seasons.
“Stog (dill) is a captain, a leader, plays hard every possession,” said second year coach Darren “DJ” Wyrick. “Burley is a tough kid and does whatever we ask him to do. I was thrilled he came back this year. He will run through a wall for you. Fields brings energy, puts pressure on the ball, and gets rebounds and will play a lot.”
Kenny Messenger served as team manager a year ago and earned respect from the team and coaches with his work ethic which earned a spot on the roster.
“He was in the gym nonstop and we all thought he deserved a shot,” said Wyrick. “He’s a great kid.”
Miles Joiner will also join the team a little late after suffering an injury during football season. Wyrick hopes to have him back in time for the season opener.
“He can score inside, outside, drive it, he can pretty much do it all,” he said. “I hope he brings it defensively. He’s not super athletic, but he has great feel for the game and uses his body well.”
Trey Sanders leads the junior class and relishes the role of being the team’s defensive stopper.
“Trey is energy, rebounding, and one of the best defenders in the league when he moves his feet and plays disciplined,” said Wyrick. “He has the ability to guard any position on the floor one through five. He knows that’s his role and embraces it.”
Sutton Skapik is another junior who will likely start.
“He’s another kid that does whatever we ask him to do and doesn’t try to do too much,” said Wyrick. “He rebounds, set screens, plays his role, and the kids respect that a lot.”
His brother, Leland, will likely swing back and forth between JV and varsity.
Sophomores Bryant Johnson, Michael Kreill, Braedon Norman, and Quentin Glover round out the varsity roster.
“BJ (Johnson) is athletic, a rim protector, can drive it, and creates havoc in passing lanes,” Wyrick said. “He’s as good as anyone on the team at that. He needs to rebound a little more, but he has so much potential and needs to live up to those expectations.”
Norman has a reputation as a knock down shooter.
“He will be our guy when we need some threes – he’s the best shooter on the team.”
“Quentin is a load to handle down low,” said Wyrick. “He will play a lot for us.”
Kreill will handle the point guard position.
“That kid is the key to our team, he’s the floor general out there,” said Wyrick. “He gets us in the offense, he’s a coaches son and knows what he’s doing – his basketball IQ is through the roof. I don’t know what the answer is if he’s not on the floor.”
Watching the Aviators play it is hard not to notice a competitive edge in the way they play. That edge is a reflection of the coaches and is quite intentional.
“There is (an edge),” said Wyrick. “Our staff is rubbing off of them. That’s our style, and they are buying into it. We play with them some, and that’s how we are as well. They hate to lose. We are going to be physical and scrappy. We need to win the possession game, take good shots, be disciplined. You will definitely see that edge and see intensity.”
2016-17 Basketball Schedule
Dec. 2 Shawnee
Dec. 9 @ Piqua *
Dec. 10 Dayton Christian
Dec. 16 Troy *
Dec. 20 Sidney *
Dec. 23 @ Tippecanoe *
Dec. 30 Greenville *
Jan. 3 @ Northmont
Jan. 6 Fairborn *
Jan. 10 Stebbins *
Jan. 13 @ Trotwood *
Jan. 14 Bellefontaine
Jan. 20 @ West Carrollton *
Jan. 21 @ Tecumseh
Jan. 24 @ Xenia *
Jan. 27 Beavercreek
Jan. 31 Piqua *
Feb. 3 @ Greenville *
Feb. 10 @ Troy *
Feb. 14 @ Sidney *
Feb. 17 Tippecanoe *
Feb. 18 Valley View
Home games are bolded
*denotes conference game