Butler freshman Baldwin already big part of the Butler Way


INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Just a freshman, Butler's Kamar Baldwin has already provided several winning moments at Hinkle Fieldhouse. In just his second college game in November, Baldwin pulled up on the dribble and sank his left handed jumper in a tie game to beat the buzzer and Northwestern.

Baldwin stole the ball from Villanova star Josh Hart and drove to the basket for a sensational reverse layup that sealed the win over the number one ranked and defending national champion Wildcats on January 4. The Bulldogs had never beaten Villanova previously. Butler beat a number-one ranked team at Hinkle Fieldhouse for the first time.

"The thing we've said about Kamar from day one is he's able to impact the game on both ends," said Butler head coach Chris Holtmann. "When you have players that can impact the game on both ends, it's hard to get them out of the lineup to be honest with you. As long as he continues to do that and take care of the ball, you're going to be seeing his face out there a lot."

Baldwin made another game clinching steal against rival Xavier last Saturday, helping the Bulldogs end a four-game losing streak to the Musketeers. He's second in the Big East Conference with 37 steals and third in scoring for 13th ranked Butler with 9.6 points a game.

"Man, he's terrific," said Xavier head coach Chris Mack after his team's 83-78 loss to Butler. "So quick - I think that's the first thing that sticks out to me is just his quickness level. He's playing with a lot of confidence. He's a really good young player in our league. He took over the game there for a little bit."

Baldwin scored 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds against Xavier, both career highs. He followed that up with 18 points in Butler's huge comeback win over Marquette Monday afternoon.

"My teammates are doing a great job moving and giving me the ball," said Baldwin. "I'm just making the right plays. Just hard work - the coaching staff put me in the right position to do well."

"It's amazing," said Butler senior Andrew Chrabascz. "He's letting the game come to him a little bit more. He's found a rhythm with each and every game. He's adjusted in game, which is huge for a kid his age. Being a freshman doing what he's doing and adjusting in game, taking what the defense is giving him is really a tremendous thing."

Baldwin is used to producing big numbers. He averaged a double-double his final three years at Apalachee High School in Winder, Georgia. His numbers as a senior included 29.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game.

Baldwin’s small hometown east of Atlanta is football country. He turned down scholarship offers from football schools like Clemson, Ole Miss and Georgia to play at a college where basketball is prominent.

"I would say the tradition and Butler being a basketball school is what brought me here," said Baldwin. "Being from the South, football is really the main sport. I just wanted to come to a basketball school. Butler is a great school, academically and basketball-wise."

Baldwin has quickly become a big part of the Butler Way. The Bulldogs (16-3, 5-2 Big East) play at DePaul (8-11, 1-5 Big East) Saturday (2:00 p.m. FS1). Butler is third in the Big East standings behind Villanova and Creighton.