Replacing leader Roosevelt Jones will take many at Butler

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INDIANAPOLIS – A once-in-a-lifetime trip for many of the Butler players took a major turn just four minutes into the opening game of their ten-day excursion.

Brandon Miller remembers the moment well.

It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, just a routine lay-up attempt for forward Roosevelt Jones. But he lost balance going up and fell down, landing squarely on his wrist with all his body weight pushing against it.

“Immediately you could hear him go down in pain,” said Miller of the fall. “You knew there was something wrong at that particular time.”

His premonitions came to pass as Jones was diagnosed with a broken wrist and would be sidelined for the entire 2013-2014 months before it was scheduled to begin. The blow is a big one to the Bulldogs who will enter Big East play without one of the

“To see him in the situation that he was in , it affected us,” said Miller of the team’s immediate reaction. “It affected us in the huddle and the next time we got together. You could tell there was a different look in guy’s eyes and in the stretch for the first quarter of that game, we weren’t very good. We talked about that after the game.

“Guys are close with Roosevelt. What Roosevelt has done for this team and what he means for our team, for him to go down like that, it affected our team.”

But Jones tried to make sure it wouldn’t, according to Miller. When the official diagnosis was given and his season ended following the Australia trip, Jones immediately sent a text message to all of his Bulldogs teammates in hope of raising their spirits.

While Miller didn’t divulge any specifics of the message, he believes it spoke to growing maturity of the forward.

“He took the attention off himself and put it right back on the team,” said Miller of the text. “He immediately went into leadership mode of what he means for our team and I thought the growth that it showed in him and him as a leader right after him hearing the news was huge.

“Hopefully he can continue to be that leader for the team as we move forward and I think he will be because that’s the kind of guy he is.”

Jones’ play on the court, however, makes him close to irreplaceable and will leave a major void on the court for the Bulldogs. Miller admitted that Jones would have played a number of positions for Butler this season with his ability not only to score points but also distribute the ball as a forward.

Hence replacing the native of O’Fallon, Illinois is a burden that will fall to many.

“There’s nobody like Rose,” said Miller of Jones. “No team has a guy like Roosevelt Jones-including us sitting there to replace him. I don’t think you can replace him with one guy, it’s got to be our team. Rose is a versatile guy who can play on both ends of the floor.”