By Barron Demons
Willesley Butler has been a part of the men’s basketball team since 2015. In his final season with the Pirates, Butler was determined to give it his all.
Born in Old Harbour, St. Catherine, Jamaica, Butler started playing basketball at 14.
While living in Jamaica, Butler received an athletic scholarship to attend Redemption Christian Prep in Troy, New York, averaging 13 points and eight rebounds per game (rpg).
“Basketball was way different in Jamaica. It’s faster here. Like there, it’s kind of slow paced, and here everyone is skilled and can shoot better.
But I never thought about playing basketball growing up. I was just a regular kid,” Butler said.
Butler received another scholarship after high school to play in college and a chance to continue his academic career.
He decided to make a change of scenery and attend Pensacola State College (PSC).
“To be honest with you, I hate snow. And I heard that PSC was a great program, so I had nothing to lose. I think so far this was the best decision I have made, and I haven’t regretted it. I can’t ask for anything better.”
Butler’s family didn’t make the trip with him to Pensacola, but he has found another family on the court.
“The coaching staff, the team and the people around me, I really can’t ask for anything better. This was perfect for me, and I think I made the right decision.”
At 6 feet 8 inches, Butler averaged 13 point per game (ppg) to go along with 6.6 rpg.
“My goal was to get better everyday. You have to have that ‘I have to get better everyday’ mentality no matter where you are. I never look at myself scoring points or getting rebounds. I just try to get better everyday and try to do something to help my team win.”
Butler mentioned there has been some tough times on the court when things didn’t go his way, but he was determined to fight through any adversity he faced.
“I get yelled at sometimes, but Coach Pena is the way a coach should be. Of course he’s gonna shout and yell at you, but it’s coaching. He’s just the perfect coach.”
Butler was also one of the players who was very excited when teammate Gerald Williams made a last-second shot,
when his team defeated Tallahassee Community College (TCC) Feb. 7.
“I don’t doubt any of my teammates, and I never had it in my mind that he wasn’t going to make it. It went up and it went in. It was just a great moment for the team.”
This season is Butler’s last at PSC, and he has an opportunity to sign with a number of universities.
“I haven’t even made a decision. I’m actually not worried about it. But after the season, I’ll just sit down with my family and coaches and we will figure it out from there.”
Butler lead the team this season totaling 13.0ppg and 6.6rpg. In the final game of the season, Butler scored 17 points and five rebounds, leaving it all on the floor in his grand finale with the Pirates.