Surprise journey lands Canadian wing Ethan Butler with Ducks for 2021 season

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The Oregon men’s basketball squad landed another commitment in the class of 2021, with Canadian prospect Ethan Butler committing to the Ducks on Monday afternoon.

Butler took a very unique path to get to Eugene, coming from Canada and hardly generating much interest in schools stateside.

The six-foot-six, 205 pounder with a seven foot wingspan looks the part, but a lack of hype during his time in Canada – coupled with missing what likely would have been his breakout season due to the pandemic – had Butler paying his own way into the Jane & Finch Classic, a popular Canadian basketball tournament which took place in early August.

Butler’s performance at the tournament earned the attention of Yusuf Ali, a new assistant coach at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. From there, Butler was able to work out with former Oregon star Eugene Omoruyi as well as Oregon State alumni Malcolm Duvivier and Maurice Calloo.

Once Butler proved he could hold his own against solid Pac-12 talent, Ali began working the phones and got interest from a variety of schools; including Eastern Michigan, Lehigh, Miami (Ohio), Ohio, Princeton, and Western Michigan.

Eventually though it was Oregon assistant coach Mike Mennenga who rose above the rest and piqued Butler’s interest in coming to Eugene.

“Coach Mike Mennenga is my guy,” Butler said. “I love him. He’s high energy – always checked up on me. He’s got an amazing personality. Much love for that guy.”

A visit in September was enough to convince Butler to commit to Oregon with the hopes of becoming the next great Canadian to play for the Ducks, after Dillon Brooks, Chris Boucher, and of course Omoruyi.

Butler stands out for his ability on the defensive side of the floor, where his length and athleticism gives him the ability to guard all five positions.

“I definitely want to make a statement on defense and become a first-team all-defense guy,” he said. “I want to lead the team in blocks. I know they have a lot of big men and I’m a guard or a wing, but I want to make a statement on defense. I want to work hard every day and get better than I was the day before.”

Butler will be eligible this season and will arrive on campus shortly. He joins a crowded group of wings on Dana Altman’s squad, but he has certainly proven he’s not a player to be counted out.

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