Butler lost a key member of the versatile backcourt the Bulldogs hope will propel them into league title contention next season in their first year in the Atlantic 10.
Chrishawn Hopkins, an athletic 6-foot-1 junior guard, was dismissed from the program Wednesday night due to an accumulation of team rules violations. His guardian Vince Stennett released a statement to the Indianapolis Star on Wednesday expressing Hopkins' "extreme regret" for letting his team down.
"Although the mistakes he's made were enough to constitute his dismissal from the program … These mistakes will not define who Chrishawn is as a person or a player," the statement read. "He will move forward and accept these mistakes as life lessons. We would like to thank the Butler Athletic Department, Coaches, Players and Administrators for the opportunity. Additionally, on behalf of our family, we extend our deepest and sincerest apologies to everyone whom this impacts."
Butler has sufficient returning talent to absorb the loss of Hopkins and still contend in the Atlantic 10, but the absence of a returning starter who averaged 12 points per game over his final 12 games last season certainly is a blow. Hopkins had the speed and quickness to get to the rim on offense and the athleticism to eventually grow into an elite defender if he embraced that aspect of the game.
The tradeoff for Hopkins athleticism was that he was turnover-prone and a liability from behind the arc. Butler will improve in those areas no matter which guard Brad Stevens chooses to insert in Hopkins' spot in the starting backcourt alongside Arkansas transfer Rotnei Clarke.
He could go with senior Chase Stigall if he wants added experience and defensive prowess. He could go with sophomore Jackson Aldridge if he wants a second point guard on the floor besides Clarke. Or he could go with sweet-shooting freshman Kellen Dunham if he wants another shooter on the floor and he's comfortable that Clarke and 6-foot-6 Roosevelt Jones can handle the ball and create for their teammates.
The best guess is that all three see additional playing time as a result of Hopkins' absence with Stigall and Dunham absorbing most of it. Butler will miss Hopkins' explosiveness off the dribble, but the Bulldogs are better equipped to cope with the loss in the backcourt than they would be down low.