Natalie Butler’s transfer to UConn was made official by the women’s basketball program on Wednesday and Geno Auriemma believes the 6-5 center from Georgetown will be a great asset to his program.
“Coming out of high school, Natalie was one of these kids who said it herself, ‘I didn’t play much. I was on a real good AAU team and didn’t play much.’
“And all of a sudden she’s at Georgetown and she’s averaging a double-double and playing 30 something minutes.”
Butler, the freshman of the year in the Big East last season, will sit out the 2014-15 season and join the Huskies as a sophomore the following season,
“You’re 6-5 and got really good skills and all of a sudden you end up at UConn and you have figured it out,” Auriemma said. “You have 18 months before you play your first game, that’s a long time.”
Auriemma said he called DePaul coach Doug Bruno after he’d heard Butler was interested in transferring to ask his opinion.
He said, ‘Look, she’s not Stefanie Dolson,” Auriemma said. I said, ‘Well, when Stefanie Dolson was her [Butler’s] age, Stefanie Dolson wasn’t Stefanie Dolson.’ Doug said, ‘But I think she can develop into somebody just like that and do a lot of the same things that Stefanie did.’
“She’s a hard worker, and her mom and dad are incredibly supportive of her. She wants to be great and I think that’s what ultimately why she chose to come and play for us. She wants to be great, and figures this is t he place.”
Auriemma said he asked Butler a simple question when he met her.
“I asked her, ‘How many 6-5 kids did you play against this year? She said, ‘none.’ I said, ‘Well, we didn’t play against many in our league, and I looked in the ACC and there aren’t many in that league and I checked in the Big Ten and there aren’t many in that league. So you’re kind of unique, you know,’” Aureimma said,
“So I think she’s got a chance to really, really have a huge impact on our program. I told her, ‘we don’t do this.’ In 30 years I’ve been here, maybe three or four [transfers]. We don’t do this unless it’s a game changer, and she’s going to be a game-changer for us, no question about it.”