East Mississippi’s Blake Butler signs with Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns

Published 4:01 pm Thursday, May 11, 2023

SCOOBA – East Mississippi Community College standout guard Blake Butler has signed with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette men’s basketball program.

Butler, who was named NJCAA Honorable Mention All-America, NJCAA All-Region 23 and All-MACCC First Team this past season for head coach Billy Begley’s EMCC Lions, was also selected for this year’s NJCAA Men’s Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Game. Butler entered the 2022-23 season ranked 17th nationally among JucoRecruiting.com’s Top 100 Player Rankings for the 2023 JUCO class.

“Blake has always had a great spirit about him. He’s as competitive as anyone I’ve ever been around,” Begley said. “He’s a big-time talent who loves to compete, and he’s not going to back down.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Butler, originally from Louisville, Kentucky, posted career-high scoring (20.3 ppg) and rebounding (6.2 rpg) averages this past season for EMCC’s 20-6 EMCC squad after having taken advantage of the NJCAA’s COVID-19 ruling that granted student-athletes an extra year of collegiate eligibility due to the coronavirus pandemic. Along with ranking 22nd nationally among NJCAA Division I scoring leaders and third in the MACCC, Butler was EMCC’s No. 2 rebounder and third-leading playmaker on the year (2.2 apg). He also shot a career-best 45 percent overall from the field in 2022-23 as well as connecting on 33 percent from three-point range and 74 percent from the charity stripe.

“Blake is a talented guard with size, length and experience. He scores, defends, rebounds, and is efficient in all areas,” said Louisiana men’s basketball coach Bob Marlin, who led the 26-8 Ragin’ Cajuns squad to the 2023 Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship and then nearly upset No. 4 seed Tennessee in this year’s NCAA Tournament.

With four 30-point performances this past season, including a career-high, 45-point effort at Northwest Mississippi in November that earned him NJCAA Division I Player of the Week honors, Butler also garnered MACCC Player of the Week recognition twice this past season. In addition, the 6-foot-5, 215-pound guard collected a spot on the 2023 NJCAA Region 23 All-Tournament Team for helping lead the Lions to their first semifinal-round regional tournament appearance since 2016.

While having totaled 1,117 points (16.0 ppg), 367 rebounds (5.2 rpg), 174 assists (2.5 apg), 65 steals and 53 blocked shots during his 70 career EMCC games (64 starts) over the past three seasons, Butler also posted career shooting percentage of 44 percent from the field overall, 34 percent from beyond the three-point arc, and 74 percent from the free throw line. As a three-year starter for East Mississippi, he helped lead the Lions to a 52-19 (.732) composite record, including 20-win seasons each of the past two years that saw EMCC claim the 2022 MACCC Tournament championship followed by this year’s third-place MACCC finish in the regular-season conference standings.

A three-time, all-conference performer for EMCC, Butler was previously selected All-MACCC First Team and NJCAA All-Region 23 in 2021-22 after averaging 14.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists per contest for the 21-7 Lions. He also shot 43 percent overall from the field, including 37 percent from three-point range, and 77 percent from the charity stripe. Butler earned his first of three career MACCC Player of the Week awards last year after averaging a team-leading 17.7 points as well as 8.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists during the Lions’ successful three-day run through the 2022 MACCC Tournament. He also connected on 56 percent (19-34 FGs) of his field goal attempts for the week, including 10-of-18 (56%) accuracy from beyond the three-point arc.