Baylor University star Jared Butler, the Most Outstanding Player at this year’s NCAA Final Four, was selected as the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s Greater New Orleans Male Amateur Athlete of the Year for 2020-21. The Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee, sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl, selects annual award winners in a variety of categories; it also selects Amateur Athletes of the Month and each year’s Hall of Fame class.
Butler, who played his high school ball at Riverside Academy, capped a spectacular college basketball career by leading Baylor to its first NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. The senior guard scored 22 points in the 86-70 national title-game victory over top-seeded Gonzaga (April 5), which had entered the contest undefeated. In the national semifinal against Houston (April 3), Butler erupted for 17 first-half points, including four three-pointers as the Bears buried the Cougars in the first half. The 6-3 Butler followed up his tremendous on-court performance by being named the Big 12 Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year on April 14. The first consensus First-Team All-American in program history, Butler averaged 16.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.0 steals per game for the national champions.
“[Winning a championship] was one of my goals,” Butler said after the national semifinal victory. “And I know some of my teammates’ goals, just to leave a legacy at Baylor, create Baylor as a blue blood.”
“He is the whole package,” his high school coach Timmy Byrd said. “Jared is a great student. He left Riverside with 24 college credits. He has flourished academically. He has obviously achieved athletically. Jared has tremendous character and is so well liked by everyone. He and Tweety [Carter] are the two best high school players I ever coached. It has been such a pleasure to watch him.”
The Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee has presented annual awards to amateur athletes in the region since 1958 – Butler is the first New Orleans area product competing out of the state to win the honor since Jesuit product Patrick Mullins was recognized after an All-American soccer season at the University of Maryland.
The other finalists for Greater New Orleans Male Amateur Athlete of the Year were Payton Alexander (Loyola University Baseball), Brayden Jobert (Delgado Baseball) and Rayshawn Mart (Xavier University Basketball). Alexander, the Southern States Athletic Conference Player of the Year, was a key for Loyola turning in the best season in its baseball history as the Wolf Pack won a program-record 36 games. Jobert, a graduate of Slidell’s Northshore High School and an LSU signee, had a dominant season for Delgado this year, earning All-America recognition after keying the Dolphins run to the NJCAA Super Regional. Mart, a first-team All-American by the NAIA and the NABC, was Xavier’s first Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Year after averaging 21.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game as he led XULA to a repeat championship in the GCAC Tournament.