It seems NBA teams finally received the ‘hire more UConn basketball alums’ notebook I sent them back in 2014. Just 48 hours after Jim Calhoun’s former-student manager took the reigns at the Oklahoma City Thunder, former UConn men’s basketball star Caron Butler was hired by the Miami Heat as an assistant coach.
Butler, 40 (yikes) was a decorated 14-year veteran, earning two All-Star appearances (2007, 2008) with the Washington Wizards and a ring in 2011 with the Dallas Mavericks. Although he bounced around a lot, playing on nine teams, the former Big East Player of the Year in 2002 always was a steady source of scoring and rebounding from the small forward position.
After retiring in 2018, Butler spent time as a well-regarded television analyst for NBA and college games and most recently hosted a series called “1-on-1 with Caron Butler’’ — where a variety of social justice and race issues were discussed with guests.
‘TuffJuice’ is a modern-day renaissance man. He’s written a book, has a podcast, and looks back on his time in Storrs fondly. And while he doesn’t have any coaching experience, Butler is well-rounded and knowledgeable enough to resonate with NBA kids these days.
Butler will have a talented Miami Heat team to work with, one that overachieved its way to the NBA Finals. They’ll have a bull's-eye on their back in the 2020-2021 season though, but you can never count out an organization run by Pat Riley.