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Sanderson signs Denny, Butler to NLI

Tuesday, May 08, 2012
by Mark McGee

Lipscomb Bisons basketball coach Scott Sanderson has announced the addition of two more players for the 2012-2013 season.

Forward Talbott Denny from, Tucson, Ariz., and point guard JJ Butler from Abingdon, Md., near Baltimore, have both signed their national letters to play for Lipscomb.

Denny, 6-foot-6, 205 pounds, was a standout for Salpointe Catholic High School. As a senior, playing on both the perimeter and low post, Denny averaged 15.3 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game.

He also excels in the classroom with a 4.0-plus average.

“He is strong,” Sanderson said. “He is very athletic, very versatile and physically ready to play. He can play No. 3 or No. 4, but has also played some at the guard spot.

“Talbott drives the ball to the basket and is a very good passer. He understands how to play. He gets to the free throw line a lot. He is a tough, blue-collar kid. Most guys as strong as he is are not very skilled at dribbling or passing the ball, but Talbott can do both of those things very, very well.”

Other schools interested in Denny were Northern Arizona, Idaho State, USC Upstate, Houston Baptist, New Hampshire and Colgate.

“I think he fits our school and fits the mission of our school,” Sanderson said.

Butler was a four-year starter and a three-year captain for his Patterson Mill High School team. He averaged 14 points, seven assists, 6.5 rebounds and 2.8 steals. He is the first athlete in the history of the Patterson Mill program to sign an NCAA Division I scholarship.

Sanderson is most impressed with Butler’s knowledge of the game and his unselfish style of play.

“JJ has really good vision.” Sanderson said. “He has a good feel for where guys are on the floor. Feel is something that you can’t teach.

“He is a pass-first point guard. He is a facilitator who understands how to distribute the ball. Defensively, he keeps the ball in front of him.”

Sanderson is also impressed with Butler’s communication skills on the court.

“That is his best asset,” Sanderson said. “JJ is always talking and encouraging his teammates. You have to have that at the point guard spot. We haven’t had that the past couple of years.”

Some of the schools that gave Butler a look were Binghamton, Colgate, St. Francis (Pa.) and Yale.

“We are very excited about both of these players coming here,” Sanderson said. “Both of them will be good representatives of our university and our basketball team.”

Lipscomb freshmen Damarius Smith, Marvin Williams and Zavion Williams have announced their intention to transfer and will not return next season.