Butler named MACCC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week
On the heels of helping lead the East Mississippi Community College Lions to their second conference tournament championship in four years, EMCC guard Blake Butler has been named the MACCC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week. The announcement was made Tuesday by the Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference and voted on by the league’s sports information directors.
Last week during EMCC’s successful three-day run through the 2022 MACCC Men’s Basketball Tournament with wins over Northwest Mississippi (69-55), 16th-ranked and tournament host Pearl River (57-51) and No. 23 Northeast Mississippi (60-58), Butler averaged a team-leading 17.7 points as well as 8.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.3 blocked shots and 1.0 steals. The 6-foot-5 backcourt performer also connected on 56 percent (19-of-34 FGs) of his field goal attempts for the week, including 10-of-18 (56%) accuracy from beyond the three-point arc.
Butler opened last week’s tournament play in Poplarville by scoring a team-high 18 points (7-14 FGs & 3-7 treys) along with adding nine rebounds and four assists against Northwest on Tuesday. He followed the next night with a solid all-around performance of 14 points (5-8 FGs & 3-4 treys), eight rebounds, six assists and three blocks in Wednesday’s semifinals to help hand the top-seeded PRCC Wildcats their first loss in three months. Butler capped his impressive week by scoring a game-high 21 points (7-12 FGs & 4-7 treys), including a highlight-worthy dunk down the middle of the lane and a clutch four-point play, in addition to grabbing seven rebounds and three steals during EMCC’s 60-58 championship game victory over the Northeast Tigers on Thursday.
For the season, Butler ranks as EMCC’s second-leading scorer at 14.5 points per game, No. 2 playmaker with 2.7 assists an outing, and third-best rebounder at 4.9 boards per contest. The second-year standout is also shooting 44 percent overall from the field, 37 percent from beyond the three-point arc, and 76 percent from the charity stripe on the year.
A native of Louisville, Ky., Butler continued his recent hot streak by scoring a game-high 21 points, including 5-of-9 shooting from three-point range, as well as collecting seven rebounds and blocking three shots during the Lions’ 59-55 second-round NJCAA Region 23 Tournament win over Itawamba played Monday in Scooba.
Head coach Billy Begley’s 21-6 and fourth-seeded EMCC Lions will play host to No. 5 seed LSU Eunice during Tuesday’s quarterfinal-round regional tournament action in Scooba (6 p.m.), with the winner advancing to Friday’s (March 4) Region 23 tourney semifinals being held at Mississippi College’s A.E. Wood Coliseum in Clinton.