More than a year after he first told the recruiting world about his verbal committment to play college basketball at Butler University, De Smet Jesuit Senior Forward Nolan Berry Wednesday used the first day he could to end the recruiting process by signing his National Letter of Intent.
The 6-8 Power Forward shot up the recruiting charts following a breakout Sophomore season and impressive offseason showings on the AAU summer circuit last summer. He announced his verbal pledge last fall. De Smet Jesuit Head Coach Kevin Poelker said at the time Berry understood that a program like Butler's couldn't afford to wait for him for an extended recruitment.
Like many other athletes who have gone through the process, Berry said Wednesday he was glad it was over.
"When I made my commitment it just became easier, not thinking about coaches being there or what I want to do, just going out and playing, so this, now that its final definitely will help me," the low-key Forward said after being mobbed by classmates on stage at De Smet Jesuit's Hunter Theater for pictures after the signing ceremony.
His next head coach, Butler's Brad Stevens, is one of the bright young names in college coaching after guiding his Bulldogs to consecutive NCAA tournament Final Fours in 2010 and 2011. He is consistently rumored to be in the running for high profile coaching openings and turned down an Illinois offer last spring.
"Honestly, I think he'll stay and be a Butler man for a long time but if that does happen, you know he is a great coach so I can see why other people want him but I'm definitely commited to Butler," he said.
Under NCAA rules, coaches cannot comment on specific players until they've signed letters of intent, so today was the first tim Stevens could talk in public about Berry.
"Nolan has a great understanding of the game," said Stevens in a school press release. "He can dribble, pass and shoot it. He's very comfortable facing the basket, and you can run your offense through him, because of his passing ability and his understanding and savvy for the game."
Berry, who averaged 19.5 points per game and 9.2 rebounds per game as a Junior, is sixth on the school's all-time scoring list heading into his senior season, which starts November 26 at Whitfield.