By Sam Weiderhaft
Over the past week and a half, two players have announced their departure from the Butler men’s basketball program, entering their names in the NCAA transfer portal.
The first one came as a surprise, as Joey Brunk, the 6-11 redshirt sophomore who started in 13 Big East games, announced he was graduating and then transferring from the school on March 27th.
Brunk, who was originally apart of the 2016 high school class, was rated 107th by 247 Sports coming out of high school. This year, his playing time increased dramatically to help fill the void left from former center Tyler Wideman. Averaging 18.6 minutes of action, Brunk added 7.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. Brunk was expected to take over the starting center role next year with senior Nate Fowler graduating in May.
Brunk has seen interest from Indiana and Ole Miss so far in the transfer process.
The second transfer came in sophomore Jerald Gillens-Butler, who announced he’s leaving the university on April 1st. Gillens-Butler never really found his spot in the Bulldog lineup, only appearing in 23 games and scoring 26 points in two seasons. He had been sidelined since January 5th this year with a broken hand.
Gillens-Butler was originally recruited by former Butler head coach Chris Holtmann, becoming apart of the 2017 class that was the highest rated in Butler history. That class, which started off with five players, is now down to just Aaron Thompson and Christian David.
So where does Butler go from here? Well, the two departures have now given the program two more scholarships to work with on 2019 high school prospects or graduate transfers from other collegiate programs. They could also hold on to those scholarships for the high school class of 2020.
LaVall Jordan has recently offered a scholarship to Chuck Harris from Washington, D.C., a 6-1 point guard.
Butler fans remember the last sweet 16 run in 2017, which featured grad transfers Avery Woodson and Kethan Savage, also Tyler Lewis, who transferred after his sophomore season at N.C. State. All of those players played essential roles in the success that team achieved through the season.
Butler has been known to be a premier destination for incoming transfers, so what Jordan decides to do with two open scholarships will be crucial heading into the 2019-2020 season.