HoopsHype.com Interviews

Caron Butler: "I modeled my game after Paul Pierce"
by Jon Finkel / July 22, 2002

Who has a better haircut: your new coach Pat Riley or your old coach Jim Calhoun?

Caron Butler: (Laughing) I don’t know. They both know how to dress themselves well so they make their hair go with what they wear. One’s slick and one’s just neat and old fashioned. You know which one is which.

We’ll start with the slick one. What excites you most about working with a legend like Coach Riley?

CB: All of his experience with how many years he’s been around. There is so much I can learn from him in that area like I learned from Coach Calhoun in my two years at Connecticut. Hopefully, I can have a long career with my new coach.

When the cameras and microphones were gone and you left Madison Square Garden, what was the first thing you did the night you got drafted when it all settled in?

CB: I sat down with my mother and I said, “I told you so." She said, “Baby, I always knew,” and we just sat there and reflected.

A lot of guys in this draft have skills, but few are also described as strong leaders and fierce competitors. How good does it make you feel when your name is always linked with those characteristics?

CB: It feels good that everyone thinks so highly of me because I think so high of my game myself. When I go out there and guys respect me instead of my having to earn my way from the beginning, it's good. It’s all fun and I look forward to showing my leadership night in and night out.

The same could be said for the man people compare you most to, Paul Pierce. How do you think you stack up and are your games that similar?

CB: When you have someone that you idolize growing up and through college basketball, I mean, hopefully I can stack up to him one day and surpass him. He’s a great player... a great talent and I modeled my game after him.

Pierce has said several times that he is out to make the teams that past up on him on draft day pay. Are going to do the same thing?

CB: Most definitely. It’s something I look forward to doing. These summer league games are my first time running up and down the court in three weeks so it was kind of tough, but as long as we keep getting the ‘W’s nothing else matters.

If you could only pick one of the following individual goals to achieve for next year, which would you take: Rookie of the Year or an All-Star selection?

CB: That’s tough... I’d take Rookie of the Year because that’s one of the honors that solidifies your spot as one of the superstars in the League and eventually I’ll get the All Star.

You’re playing with football player Tony Gonzalez in this Summer League, but another football player, the Dolphins’ Ricky Williams will be making his debut on the Miami sports scene as well. Do you think you’ll have more points than he’ll have yards this year. It’s going to be close. You get about 20 a game and play 80 games that 1600 points. 1600 yards is a lot.

CB: I know, but probably not. He’s a Pro-Bowler. He’s a great football player and someone you love to be around and love to watch. Just him as a person, you know, he’s unbelievable and very down to earth.

Thanks and take care.

Jon Finkel is a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com

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