The Dagger - NCAAB

Among the most intriguing aspects of Butler's historic run to the national title game this past March was seeing how that success would alter the Bulldogs' recruiting tactics in the coming months.

The answer so far? It hasn't.

Butler coach Brad Stevens appears content not to deviate from the Bulldogs' longtime philosophy of plucking under-the-radar recruits and helping them develop into players capable of blossoming on a national stage. The Bulldogs landed their second and third commitments for the class of 2011 over the weekend from Aussie combo guard Jackson Aldridge and shooting guard Andy Smeathers of Greenwood Ind, neither of whom are especially well-known on the recruiting scene.

Aldridge, who hailed from the same program that produced Andrew Bogut, Luc Longley and Patrick Mills, had received interest from Creighton, Wichita State, Marquette and Minnesota, among others. Smeathers, a 42 percent 3-point shooter as a high school junior, had received some interest from Purdue and also had scholarship offers from William & Mary, Miami Ohio and a handful of other mid-majors.

It would be extremely foolish to discount the ability of either of these two players since the likes of Gordon Hayward, Shelvin Mack and Ronald Nored were once similarly hidden gems. Nonetheless, we now have a good picture of the post-Final Four recruiting philosophy the Bulldogs have adopted for the class of 2011 given that their first commitment came two months ago from Roosevelt Jones, a small forward who fits a similar profile. 

Butler fans who were hoping to see their team go head-to-head with elite programs for top 100 recruits might be a tad disappointed, but they should also be patient with the coaching staff.

The Bulldogs remain in contention for 6-foot-7 forward Paul Jesperson and elite 6-foot-10 Indiana native Cody Zeller, though many believe Zeller is likely to join his brother Tyler at North Carolina. Furthermore Stevens has already reportedly targeted sought-after class of 2012 prospects Alex Murphy and A.J. Hammons.

If any of those guys wind up at Butler, that may represent a signing that could not have happened without the Final Four run. If not, the Bulldogs will stick with their time-tested philosophy and hope to parlay sustained success into another deep NCAA tournament run.   

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