Get your popcorn ready: Butler ready to make impact
By Rich Palzewic
GREEN BAY – A few weeks ago, Green Bay Phoenix women’s basketball coach Kevin Borseth said this year’s freshman class could be the most talented group he’s ever coached.
One of those freshmen, Bailey Butler, said she hopes to live up to her coach’s prediction.
“My first few games have been a little nerve-wracking,” Butler, who helped lead her Black Hawk High School team to a Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 5 state title in 2019, said. “It’s been a fun start to my college career. It means lots to hear (Borseth) say that. I agree – we have a great freshman group, but we also have lots of great upperclassmen. It does add pressure, but once the game starts, the pressure is off.”
Butler said she has a good first impression of Borseth.
“He’s funny,” she laughed. “People might not see that when they watch a game, but when you get to know him, you realize what a good sense of humor he has.”
Through six games this season, Butler is averaging about 22 minutes, 4 points and 2.7 rebounds per contest.
“I want to continue playing at a high level to help my team,” she said. “I want to understand more about Green Bay basketball, too, especially coming from a small high school.”
Butler, who played volleyball, softball and ran track in high school, has nailed four three-pointers in her first four games, which is tied for second on the team.
“When I was in the second grade, basketball became my sport,” she said. “It’s important to play other sports to cross-train, which reduces the risk of injury. Every new season (in high school) gave me a new perspective of a different sport, with different people. It helped me understand people.”
Butler said she’ll never forget the state championship in 2019.
“It was the school’s first-ever state championship,” she said. “I was at state all four years, but that year was crazy. The whole community was behind us.”
Black Hawk, which beat Fall River 71-39 in the title game, finished 27-0 during its championship season.
Butler poured in 18 points and added five assists and three steals in the game.
Her most embarrassing moment occurred during her freshman season playing in a game with her older sister, Hannah.
“I was chewing gum during a home game, and (the gum) flew out of my mouth,” she laughed. “I had yelled in excitement after my sister scored and was fouled. During this excitement, my gum fell out of my mouth and landed on the floor. I picked it up and put it back into my mouth because of the 5-second rule. The entire home crowd yelled in disgust. It was a funny but embarrassing memory.”
Butler said she loves popcorn but doesn’t know the story behind it.
“I can eat popcorn every day and never get bored with it,” she said. “It’s my go-to food. I like any flavors.”
Butler said once her career at Green Bay is done, she hopes to continue playing, if possible.
“That would be awesome – overseas if I have to,” Butler, who’s studying nursing, said. “I’m a person who doesn’t look too far into the future until it’s the present.”