Butler has consistency with a little change as Holtmann takes charge
INDIANAPOLIS – Before basketball their is first and foremost concern.
That’s how you might describe a very interesting week for Chris Holtmann as he begins his second season as an assistant coach for Butler University-or so he thought.
Just before the team was about to begin practice for their 2014-2015 season, head coach Brandon Miller took a medical leave of absence from the team without a set timetable to return. Suddenly the reigns of the program were given to Holtmann, who was the head coach at Gardner-Webb for three seasons before joining Miller’s staff in 2013.
“First and foremost, you’re concerned for a friend,” said Holtmann when asked about his reaction to the week’s events. “I think that was our feeling amongst the entire program is concern for Brandon and his family. Thoughts and prayers our with them. That was our initial thought and is still our thought.”
Senior guard Alex Barlow concurred with Holtmann on that thought as he and the rest of the players dealt with the jolt before their season begins.
“Anytime you hear somebody is having medical issues, you’re immediate thoughts are with them and their family,” said Barlow. “It kind of puts basketball into perspective because as much as we love this game there are things that are bigger than basketball and health is definitely one of them.
“So we’re praying for him, our thoughts are with him. We want him to get better but at the same time we have to move on because unfortunately the season won’t stop for that.”
Holtmann is fully aware of this fact and despite having little time to prepare for the change has already developed a strategy to move the team forward with Miller out of loop for a few weeks. He’ll have to get the team ready for their first exhibition game against Chicago at Hinkle Fieldhouse on November 1st and then the opener against Maine of November 15th.
For the coach, it’s about keeping a lot of the old and sprinkling in a bit of the new with his Bulldogs.
“They’ll be some tweaks and some changes like there were going to be anyway. Obviously they’re hearing more from a different voice,” said Holtmann. “But we’re gonna try to keep it pretty consistent, our style of play is going to be pretty consistent and we’re really just continuing on with the preparation that we had both in strength and conditioning and our skill workouts.”
Since he was on the staff last year adjusting to Holtmann’s style figures not to be a major issues for however long Miller is out. Roosevelt Jones got to know him more than others, sitting next to him on the bench as he sat out the 2013-2014 season with a broken wrist.
“He’s laid back, he’s not that much of a yeller, he’s calm and cool,” said Jones of Holtmann. “I think everyone at Butler will get to like Holtmann.”
While at the same like, they will be thinking about Miller as they try to get on with their season.