April 10, 2012

Wishing upon a star

Kevin McCarthy

It was a gamble of sorts, that being turning down football scholarships for the chance to play D-1 basketball. But Spencer Butterfield had faith in his abilities and now his long held dream is a reality.

photo of Spencer Butterfield

Currently a 6-foot-3 sophomore for Coach Doug Cornelius at Yuba College, Butterfield was a physical wide receiver at Del Oro High. Gridiron coaches wanted his services. But his burning desire was to play college hoops. So he made the choice to take a two-year journey as a 49er, helping Yuba to very good records -- 33-4 this season -- and now Utah State in the Western Athletic Conference wants Butterfield to man a guard/wing position for 2012-13. He has said yes and would be willing to dribble his way there if asked.

"I went with an open mind and was just blown away," Butterfield explained. "The coaches were great, I loved the players a lot, the facilities were unbelievable and everyone I met in the community was talking basketball."

Asked what position the Aggie coaches were talking about him playing next season, Butterfield said, "The three and maybe a little two."

His host was sophomore guard Preston Medlin, an All-WAC First Team honoree, but he hung out with all the team members. "Everyone was cool, there were no big egos," he offered.

Butterfield wished to honor a long list of people. "I have so many people to thank. My family , especially my brother who has always been my #1 supporter, Coach Cornelius, all my teammates, I owe this all to the program."

Utah State is likely to be moving to the Mountain West Conference next year although nothing is set in concrete at the moment. "That's what everyone was saying all week," Butterfield said. The Aggies play on campus in The Spectrum and the student section there is well known for its ferocity, loudness and clever chants and antics.

Coach Stew Morrill runs a very successful program with 13 straight 20 win seasons, an average of 25 wins a year and 13 straight post-season appearances. Additionally, USU has won 100 of its last 107 home games and the Aggies took WAC championships in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.