Monday, August 22, 2011
Augusta, GA - Last season, at least the first seven weeks, played out like a fairy tale at Butler. The Bulldogs snapped a 41-game losing streak and won six of their first seven, but after narrowly missing the playoffs, they're hungry for more.
Winning has as much to do with attitude as it does with athletes, and Ashley Harden has brought that swagger to Butler.
The 'Dogs aren't interested in just another winning season. Confidence is high, and the goal is to bring home a ring.
"The swagger's a little bit different with the boys now. There's a different bounce around the school," said Harden. "It's a lot different. Practice is a little bit more up tempo. We've grown a lot of confidence over the last year-and-a-half or so, and we expect to go all the way."
Senior Lonzo Harris added, "It's a lot of motivation because that's the only thing we're really striving for. Forget the first win or the second win. We're trying to get that state ring. That's just one of our biggest dreams."
One of the problems last year was depth. With about 30 kids on the squad, the starters were dinged up down the stretch. With 52 this year, those problems start to go away.
Harden said, "If we get a chance to get up in some games this year, like we did last year, we'll have a JV team to put in so those older guys won't have to play the whole game. Down the stretch we had a lot of nicks and dings, and when you only have 30 players, losing two or three to an injury really hurts."
As if this squad doesn't have enough motivation already, Coach Harden says the Bulldogs are trying to be the first Butler squad since the 1988-89 seasons to have back-to-back winning campaigns.