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.

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