MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Given his place in West Virginia basketball history and the way things ended on the floor at Lucas Oil Stadium in the Final Four, Da'Sean Butler understands people are concerned and curious.
He just wants people to understand something. That ending will not be his ending.
Those who saw Butler on the floor with his coach, Bob Huggins, holding the guard's face in his hands, whose hearts sank as teammates helped Butler off the floor and to the locker room after he tore the ACL and sprained the MCL in his left knee against Duke, will see the Mountaineers' No. 3 all-time leading scorer again.
"I'm fine," he said. "I'm going to be fine. I'm not worried. All positive."
Those words had barely escaped his mouth when a woman tapped Butler on the shoulder. She remembered watching WVU's last Final Four team 51 years earlier and wondered if Butler might sign a piece of memorabilia "for an old lady."
Butler smiled and then obliged.
"But where's the old lady?"
The senior from Newark, N.J., would rather not talk about his knee. He will, but not for long. He has too much else going on to dwell on the knee he's forced to worry about every day. His rehabilitation is painful, constant and not nearly as much fun as the other things Butler has done to pass the time.
In his first public appearance following surgery, Butler limped out to the mound in Bridgeport to throw out the first pitch of the Little League season, as he had pledged to do before. The catcher met Butler at the mound and asked for an autograph.
Butler had another idea.
"No," Butler said, "I want you to sign this ball so I can have it for my collection."
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Basketball being what it's been for Butler, it makes sense sports have served as a distraction from workouts and a source of pleasure.
Last week he had primo seats for a boxing card at Waterfront Place. Well before that, Huggins' daughter, Jenna, took Butler to Cincinnati for the Reds' season-opener. It was his first baseball game.
"That was awesome," he said. "Jenna goes to all the games. Well, not all of them, but a lot of them, and she goes to Opening Day a lot. She asked me if I wanted to go. I said, 'Definitely.' "
He was glad he went. Before changing his major to multidisciplinary studies, Butler was interested in broadcast journalism.
Butler said Jenna pulled some strings with people she knows with the Reds and got Butler in the play-by-play booth with longtime broadcaster Marty Brennaman.
Just don't ask Butler how long he was there.
"I don't know - I don't know anything about baseball," he said. "I was just sitting there and watching. But it was pretty cool."