The story of how Buzz Williams signed Jimmy Butler. A reminder that recruiting is an art, not a science.

“The connection between Butler and Williams is actually a man named Joe Fulce, who had committed to go to New Orleans and play for Williams in advance of the 2007-08 season. But when Williams resigned at UNO after one year to join Tom Crean’s staff at Marquette, Fulce instead enrolled at Tyler Community College, where his roommate just happened to be Butler. After the 2007-08 season, Crean left Marquette for Indiana, at which point Williams was promoted to head coach of the Big East program. Because Fulce had already committed to Marquette, Williams called him to relay the news.

“So I called Joe to let him know I’d been named the head coach, and Joe says, ‘Coach, you wanna sign Jimmy?’ And I was like, ‘I don’t know. What do you think?'” Williams recalled. “And he’s like, ‘Coach, I think he’s good.’ And, of course, we need to sign like seven players. … So I said, ‘OK, well, tell him we want to sign him.’ And he said, ‘Well do you wanna talk to him?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll talk to him. Put him on the phone.’ And so I said, ‘Hey Jimmy, do you wanna come to Marquette?’ And he said, ‘Yessir. I wanna come.’ And I said, ‘OK, I’ll send the papers to you.’ Signing Day was one week later — April 15th … So Jimmy went to the McDonald’s and faxed the [national letter of intent].”

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