I'm very grateful that I get to play the sport I love and have a chance to travel a little bit. I'm not ready to give basketball up, so it's good to keep playing still. —Spencer Butterfield
Former Utah State men's basketball player Spencer Butterfield is the latest Aggie looking to make a splash in a professional basketball league overseas, joining the likes of Jaycee Carroll, Gary Wilkinson and Tai Wesley. Following his senior season at Utah State, Butterfield signed a contract to play with Melilla in the Spanish league, Liga Española de Baloncesto (LEB) Gold.
As an Aggie, Butterfield earned second-team all-Western Athletic Conference honors after his junior campaign, while he won WAC Player of the Week twice and earned academic all-WAC honors. As a senior, Butterfield was voted by his teammates as the H. Cecil Baker Most Valuable Player at the end of the year banquet on his way to earning Honorable Mention all-Mountain West honors. Butterfield finished No. 5 on USU's career 3-point percentage list at 44.7 percent, as well as tying for No. 10 on the career treys made list with 117 in just two years.
Recently, the USU Media Relations office sat down with Butterfield and caught up with him as he prepares to travel to Spain and play professionally.
What does it feel like, knowing you'll be continuing to play basketball professionally?
"It's a huge blessing. I'm very grateful that I get to play the sport I love and have a chance to travel a little bit. I'm not ready to give basketball up, so it's good to keep playing still."
What do you know about the area you're moving to?
"It's the city of Melilla. It's in the southern part of Spain. It's actually on the African continent, but it's Spanish territory by Morocco. It's right there on the Mediterranean Sea. It's in the LEB Gold division, which is the second highest in Spain, so it's pretty good competition. It's a good place to start my career. It's only a five minute ferry ride to the main country of Spain, so it shouldn't be too bad on travel."
Do you already know Spanish or will you be learning while you're in Spain
"I'll be learning while I'm over there. My dad's pretty fluent, so he's been teaching me a little bit, but I don't know too much."
What do you know about any similarities or differences in style of play between U.S. and European basketball?
"I've heard some stuff as far as the offenses are run that they do a lot of set plays and stuff like that, like I've done at Utah State. We ran a lot of plays, so that'll come in handy. They come off a lot of screens. That's why they signed me, so I could come off screens and shoot, so there are some similarities. I know the key is a little different, and there are different rules, so I'll have to adjust to those."
What else have you learned from coach Morrill and the staff that you think will help you on this new stage of your career?
"I think I learned some discipline. Playing for coach Morrill, you have to listen to what he says, do what he says, and trust what he says. I think I learned a lot of discipline at Utah State, so that'll help me when I go over to Spain."
What will you miss the most about playing at USU?
"I'll miss the environment for sure. I'm already missing it, honestly. I'll miss having over 10,000 fans every night and packing the Spectrum. I'm definitely going to miss that for sure. I know the place I'm going doesn't get as many fans, so I'll miss the environment."
Are any family members or friends moving with you, or do you have any friends or family in the area?
"It's just me. I don't know anybody over there yet, so it'll be a new start and a new beginning."
Do you have any other future plans?
"I'm going to ride basketball out as long as I can. Play over there, make some money, and then come back here and probably start some kind of business. Maybe a car business or some small business that I can run and own."
Anything else you'd like Aggie Nation to know?