After playing sparingly during his three seasons at Indiana (redshirting as a sophomore), Austin Etherington will have the opportunity to earn immediate playing time as a graduate transfer at Butler. Unfortunately for the 6-foot-6 forward and head coach Brandon Miller, the process of working towards that this offseason has hit a snag.
Friday afternoon the school announced that Etherington will be sidelined anywhere from 12 to 16 weeks after undergoing foot surgery.
“It’s a tough blow for Austin, but we’re glad that the surgery went well,” Miller said in the release. “He’s overcome adversity in the past, and we’re confident that he will make a full recovery. We’re looking forward to his return, and we’re excited about the contribution he’ll make to our program this season.”
Etherington played in just seven games as a sophomore at Indiana due to a torn ACL, leading to the granting of a medical redshirt for that season. He’s one of two transfers to join the program this offseason, with former NC State point guard Tyler Lewis being the other (Lewis will have to sit out the 2014-15 season).
In total Butler adds five newcomers and welcomes back Roosevelt Jones, who sat out all of last season with a wrist injury.
It was a busy Friday afternoon for the Butler Bulldogs as freshman guard Elijah Brown, the son of Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown, announced his intention to transfer while the Bulldogs rallied with a commitment from former Indiana wing and graduate transfer Austin Etherington.
The school announced the departure of Brown in a release while Etherington took to Twitter to announce his commitment to Butler on Friday afternoon.
The 6-foot-4 Brown averaged 6.8 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game in his freshman season at Butler while shooting a team-leading 85 percent from the free throw line.
“I would like to thank my coaches, teammates and the Butler Community. I’m blessed to have been treated as well as I have been here at Butler by everyone involved in the basketball program,” Brown said in the release.
The California native is the fifth scholarship player to leave Butler since November and likely didn’t want to sit behind returning starters Kellen Durham and medical redshirt Roosevelt Jones.
“We appreciate Elijah and all of his efforts throughout his time here at Butler,” Butler head coach Brandon Miller said in the release. “(Elijah) and I have had discussions about his decision and we wish him nothing but the best.”
Replacing Brown’s spot could be Indiana transfer Etherington, who is graduating from Indiana in June and will be immediately eligible to play for the Bulldogs. The 6-foot-6 redshirt sophomore will have two years of eligibility remaining for Butler and follows in the footsteps of his father Brett, who played for the Bulldogs from 1987 through 1991.
Etherington played a little over 10 minutes per game for Indiana last season and averaged two points and 1.5 rebounds while struggling to find his shot. The wing shot 32 percent from the field and 23 percent from the three-point line.
For all of the losses Butler has taken in the last six months, they return four starters from last season’s team as well as former starter Jones and the Bulldogs will have a chance to improve on their 14-17 record.
It didn’t take long for the roster turnover at Indiana to start.
Late Sunday night, it was star freshman Noah Vonleh announcing that he would be heading off to the NBA. On Monday afternoon, it was Austin Etherington and Jeremy Hollowell announcing that they would be transferring out of the program.
Etherington was a role player that saw limited minutes off the bench in his time with the Hoosiers. He will graduate at the end of the semester, meaning that he will be able to transfer and play immediately according to the graduate transfer exception.
Hollowell was a top 50 small forward coming out of Indianapolis in the Class of 2012, but he never seemed to get himself into the good graces of the coaching staff. He started 15 games early in his sophomore season, but was relegated to a reserve role by the end of the season. He averaged 4.2 points in 2013-2014.
Indiana also lost Luke Fischer to a transfer in December. The freshman center made the decision to leave and has since enrolled at Marquette.
The key for the Hoosiers now is to await the fate of Yogi Ferrell. Will he be heading to the NBA next season? If he does leave school, Indiana might be in full-on rebuilding mode next season.