As Kylie Butler makes her way to 1,000 career points, she’d sure like to thank the guy who just might have started her on the right path.
“I was 5 years old and I couldn’t make anything,” the Desert Vista senior said. “This guy came by and told me to aim for the square (on the backboard) then he just walked away. It got it all started.
“Ever since it has been my passion.”
Butler ended the Nike Tournament of Champions in Chandler with 977 points. With the second half of the season in front of the Thunder, Butler should be able to become one of the few in Thunder history who have accomplished the feat as early as this week.
“I never thought I’d get to 1,000,” she said. “It’s something, when I get there, will be very cool. I never would have guessed I could do that.”
The thing about Butler is her game doesn’t end with the square, she is all over the whole rectangular floor. She pretty much has her hand in every aspect of the game and it is a big reason why she is headed to Vermont, a Division I program that plays in the America East Conference.
Heading into the Nike TOC, the 5-foot-7 guard had 365 career rebounds, 226 assists and 215 steals that puts her on pace for about 1,000 points, 425 rebounds, 275 assists and 250 steals.
“Kylie does just about everything and creates havoc doing it,” Mountain Pointe coach Trevor Neider said. “She does so much defensively with her aggressive style that she creates extra offensive chances for them.”
It was all on display against Mount Miguel of Spring Valley, Calif., on Friday when she thoroughly disrupted the opposition’s timing, pushed the ball up the floor, grabbed rebounds, knocked down the opposition with her aggression, found open teammates and connected on just about every open jump shot.
“I look to pass a lot more and I am more composed,” Butler said after the win. “I still like the defensive part. It’s where it all starts.”
That type of mentality is why Thunder first-year coach Jaysie Sheppard-Chambers puts Butler at the top of the team’s press and knows that her leader will keep the pressure on the opponent.
“She’s athletic and aggressive,” Sheppard-Chambers said. “She can handle it and everyone follows her lead. They listen to her.”
Sophomore post Kristine Anigwe said it’s easy when you see someone else putting out so much effort to do the same.
“She is always aggressive and working on defense,” Anigwe said. “I saw it last year and now that she is a senior, she is even stronger. I know if I play the same way she does I can help the team.”
Butler often feels like she’s been in a car accident after a game, but wouldn’t change a thing.
Well, almost nothing.
“I wish I could thank that man that told me to aim for the square or I might have never made one,” she said. “I owe him a lot, but I have no idea who he was.”
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