Butler first-year head coach Brad Stevens will get his first look at the 2007-08 Bulldogs against outside competition this week, and he won't have to wait long for his second look. The Bulldogs will host St. Joseph's (Ind.) College in an exhibition game on Thusday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m. Then on Saturday, Nov. 3, Butler will face Marian College at 7 p.m., in Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Stevens will make his debut as Butler's head coach in the game against St. Joseph's. He spent the last six years as an assistant coach at Butler, and he was named the Bulldogs' head coach last spring. after former head coach Todd Lickliter left for a position at Iowa. During Stevens' six seasons as an assistant coach, the Bulldogs compiled a 131-61 record and made four trips to post-season tournament play.
Butler returns three starters and nine letterwinners from last year's squad, which posted a school-record 29-7 mark and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship. Butler won the NIT Season Tip-Off with consecutive victories over Notre Dame, Indiana, Tennessee and Gonzaga, and the Bulldogs achieved a "Top 25" national ranking for a school and Horizon League record 16 consecutive weeks!
Returning from last season's starting lineup are seniors A. J. Graves, Mike Green and Julian Betko. Graves, who led the Bulldogs in scoring last season with a 16.9 average, was named Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year this fall. Green, a preseason first team All-Horizon League pick, led the Bulldogs in rebounding (6.0) and assists (144) a year ago, while finishing second on the team in scoring. Betko started all 36 games last season and finished as the team's fifth-leading scorer.
Stevens also can call on returning seniors Pete Campbell and Drew Streicher. Campbell, who set a league record for three-point field goal shooting in 2006-07, was named to the Horizon League All-Newcomer Team a year ago. Streicher played in all 36 games, including two as a starter.
Butler's remaining returning letterwinners are junior Ben Slaton and sophomores Willie Veasley, Elliot Engelmann and Nick Rodgers. They'll be joined by six newcomers, sophomores Avery Jukes and Alex Anglin, redshirt freshman Grant Leiendecker and freshmen Matt Howard, Zach Hahn and Shawn Vanzant. Jukes, a transfer from Alabama, won't be eligible until December.
Butler will open the regular season at Ball State on Nov. 9. The Bulldogs' first regular season home game will be on Wednesday, Nov. 14, against Indiana State.