Butler’s return provides a spark for the Patriots

January 27, 2016


MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Being a sixth man in basketball takes a special type of character. Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) sophomore men’s basketball player Henry Butler fits that mold.

The Culpeper, Va. native recently returned to the court this month, and his impact for the Patriots has been immediate. Butler tore his rotator cuff and labrum in November of 2014, yet still played the entire season, showing in 22 games. However, he said the injury forced his play to be inconsistent and in turn hurt his team periodically over the latter part of last season. The guard had surgery in March to repair the damage, and worked tirelessly to gain the strength and confidence back in order to help his team when it matters most: this January and February.

“I was always a leader even when I wasn’t playing,” Butler said. “My teammates respect me and I respect them and we sacrifice for each other. We have a great bond.”

After 10 months of rehab and therapy, Butler finally stepped back on the floor during PHCC’s big Region X road trip to Lenoir and Pitt Community Colleges on Jan. 16-17. The Patriots were able to sweep the weekend set, as Butler proved to be vital on both ends of the floor in coming away with the crucial victories.

Butler scored 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting in his 2015-16 season debut against Lenoir. The next day, he had four points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals in a 77-76 win over Pitt. In his last game played Jan. 20 against No. 10 Louisburg College, the guard scored five points inside the final 30 seconds to help seal a 71-62 win over the Hurricanes. He finished with 12 points and three steals despite having four turnovers.

Sophomore teammate and Patriots leading scorer Jerel Jennings said he couldn’t wait to get Butler back. His presence on the court, he added, came at the best possible time.

“Everyone was sore and he brought that intensity,” Jennings said of Butler’s play during the North Carolina road trip. “He came off the bench and gave us a spark on defense. I think he intimidates the other team because he comes out of nowhere with mayhem and chaos. We just play off his energy.”

In his three games played this season, Butler has come off the bench, providing a spark that he says comes from within.

“I’m such a team player that it doesn’t matter if I’m on the bench clapping or in the in the game,” Butler said. “I do whatever the team needs me to do. If I come off the bench I embrace it and I’m grateful for every opportunity that I get.”

Butler said his biggest attribute is his ability to play at a high tempo and keep the energy high or even higher each time he steps on the floor. More importantly, he adds depth and experience to the Patriots’ backcourt. PHCC men’s coach Kenny Wade said having a leader like Butler available in tight situations only increases his team’s confidence.

Wade added that his sophomore guard is a humble individual and defines what it means to be a team player.

“From day one these guys just gravitated toward (Butler). They look to him for his leadership and that’s why he’s been able to jump right in and be successful,” Wade said.

Butler and the Patriots return to action tonight (Jan. 27) for the first time in a week when they travel to Richard Bland College in Petersburg, Va. PHCC has won five straight games, the longest current streak in the conference. PHCC lost last season’s meeting in Petersburg 74-68.

Filed under: Men's Basketball