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Monday, July 5, 2010
The Butler-Kentucky recruiting disparity

By Diamond Leung

The Indianapolis Star reports that Butler won't change much when it comes to recruiting in line with The Butler Way (which has a Wikipedia entry?) fresh off its appearance in the NCAA tournament championship game.

Coach Brad Stevens is going to continue bringing on kids who fit in his system while making smart calculations and evaluations. That means not necessarily going after the top-ranked prospects and potential one-and-dones, but recruits who actually would seriously consider going to Butler.

Butler, after all, doesn't have much room for error. Just check out their recruiting budget compared to Kentucky's, according to figures obtained by the Star:
In a Horizon League report obtained by the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Butler ranked third in the league in 2008-09 with a $59,644 basketball recruiting budget. Detroit was first at $80,899 and Wisconsin-Milwaukee second at $70,000.

By contrast, the Kentucky athletic board recently approved a $575,000 recruiting budget. Most major powers spend in the $200,000 range.

It's been written plenty of times just what a great story it was for Butler to get to the title game, but consider that Stevens had roughly one-tenth the recruiting budget that Kentucky coach John Calipari now has to work with.

Butler overcame that staggering disparity and beat the richer powers to get to where it's gotten. Will that third-place Horizon League recruiting budget change? Even if it doesn't, Stevens can take comfort in knowing that the ability to sell a national title game appearance to recruits is one very valuable asset that most coaches don't have.