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 By Kenyatta Wright
For the die-hard Chicago Bulls fan, there are plenty of reasons to have optimism for an NBA Championship, one of those reasons is the emergence in last year’s Playoffs of Jimmy Butler. Chicago Bulls Forward Jimmy Butler grew up in Tomball, Texas and played College basketball at Tyler Junior College and Marquette. Although Jimmy is receiving a ton of praise from the media, based on his play in last season’s NBA Playoffs, it was a tough road to the NBA for the second year player.
Jimmy Butler’s father abandoned him as an infant, and by the time he was 13 years old, his mother kicked in out of the house, and Jimmy moved from home to home, living with friends in the Houston Suburbs. As referenced in Wikipedia, In a summer basketball league before his senior year at Tomball High School, he was noticed by Jordan Leslie, a freshman football and basketball player at the school, who challenged him to a three-point shooting contest. Jimmy and Leslie would become great friends, and Leslie’s family accepted Jimmy into their family. From early childhood struggles to NBA struggles; Jimmy’s life was a fight all the way through, and that is one of the primary reasons that he has earned the respect of many around the NBA, and from his team-mates in the Chicago Bulls locker room.
As a senior at Tomball High School, Jimmy averaged 19 points and 8 rebounds in the 2006-2007 season, and was voted as the team’s most valuable player; Jimmy then went on to Tyler Junior College. Jimmy Butler was not heavily recruited coming out of Tyler, kind of similar to being drafted at number 30 in the NBA draft, Jimmy was not a known prospect coming out of Tyler Junior College, but nonetheless, he ended up at Marquette University. As a sophomore at Marquette University Jimmy averaged 5.6ppg and 3.9 rebounds per game, and Jimmy’s numbers improved every single season with Marquette. In 2009-2010 Jimmy averaged 14.7 ppg and 6.4 rebounds per game and in the 2010-2011 season Jimmy improved his scoring to 15.7 ppg.
Drafted as the 30th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the scouting report on Jimmy Butler coming out of Marquette, was for him to be a solid defender, with little offense. This past season, Jimmy Butler has without a doubt, exceeded those expectations. In last year’s Playoffs, with the Bulls plagued by injuries, and missing key starters in Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich, and Rip Hamilton, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau placed the second year forward in the starting lineup. Jimmy Butler gave the ailing Bulls a huge spark in the post season; averaging 13.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, and 2.7 apg, this performance despite just averaging 8.6 ppg and 4.0 rpg on his career.
Earlier in the year, in a regular season contest against the Raptors, Jimmy Butler averaged his career high in a home loss to the Toronto Raptors at the United Center; 28 points on 10-12 shooting, and he also added 7 rebounds to the stat sheet. Jimmy’s performance, throughout the year has resulted in a starting spot for him next season. Tom Thibodeau, not known for distributing minutes to first year players, has many Bulls fans stunned to know that Jimmy will become a starter next season, but many  around the media, feel that Jimmy deserves it based on his work ethic. Butler, from the day that he was drafted as a player for the Chicago Bulls, Butler has been known by some of his teammates, including Bulls Forward Carlos Boozer, as a player with tremendous work ethic.
“Jimmy has been great, man. He’s professional and he works his butt off,” Boozer told CSNChicago.com  “He did a great job when Luol was out; coming in, starting, getting double-doubles and playing tough defense. He plays the whole game and hopefully he can continue to keep growing because he has a great potential.” Since Free agency 2010, the Chicago Bulls have always been in need of a great two guard to pair with All Star Derrick Rose. With Rose returning next season, and with the recent development of Jimmy Butler, the two will team in the back-court next season when the All Star guard returns to the roster. With Jimmy now as a starter, he will be a huge factor in how far the Bulls will go, and how good they will be. In the end, Jimmy Butler, the young kid out of Tomball Texas, without family, has finally made it, and if the Chicago Bulls win an NBA Championship, Jimmy Butler will be a major contributor & will be a major reason that they lift a 7th banner at the Madhouse on Madison.
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