It’s no secret that Baylor junior G Jared Butler has been one of the men’s basketball team’s most talented players over the past few years. Last year as a sophomore, Butler led the team and averaged 16 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists and was named to the Big 12’s All-Conference First Team. Prior to this season, Butler was the first ever Baylor men’s basketball athlete to be named to the 2021 AP Preseason All-America Team. And slightly over halfway through the season (read my recap on the first 12-13 men’s basketball games here), the junior is undoubtedly the team’s most essential player. Baylor men’s basketball is different from most of the other top national squads as they focus more on team building and player development than teams under the likes of Krzyzewski, Self, Calipari, and Izzo. Watching Baylor play is unique because the same faces reappear for 3-4 years as opposed to the Kansas’ and Kentucky’s that see star “one and done” NBA prospects. Head Coach Scott Drew develops his teams to become true team players so as the years go by, players are willing to stay and wait their turn on the bench. And when players elect to stay instead of leaving for the professional league, they occasionally become the Jared Butlers (but not really because no one else could be Butler besides himself). After absolutely stellar performances against No. 9 Kansas and Oklahoma State this week, Butler was named NCAA National Player of the Week, Naismith Trophy Player of the Week and Big 12 Conference Player of the Week averaging 26.0 points and 7.0 assists with 66.7% shooting from the field (18/27) and 81% of threes (13/16). Against Kansas, Butler recorded 30 points and 8 assists and 22 points and 6 assists at Oklahoma State. During last year’s postseason following a shortened conference play and no NCAAA tournament, Butler could have declared for the draft. Instead, he said in a video, “Last season at Baylor was the most incredible experience of my basketball career…but then our season was cut short. We didn’t get the chance to finish what we started. In the spring, I decided to put my name in the NBA draft and evaluate my professional career. …But through it all, one thing remained in my mind: unfinished business. Baylor, I’m coming back. Let’s go win a national championship.” Butler is unselfish, astute, and enormously talented and there’s nowhere else to go but up for his collegiate and future NBA careers.