r1153193 600x400 3 2 - Replay Madness

HOUSTON — The day after hitting the biggest shot of the 2023 men’s NCAA basketball tournament, San Diego State junior Lamont Butler reflected on the meaning of the moment to he and his family.

Butler’s sister, Asasha Lache Hall, was shot and killed in January 2022. Butler said Sunday at NRG Stadium that he felt his sister’s presence in the winning 17-foot buzzer-beater that was the difference in No. 5 San Diego State’s 72-71 victory over No. 9 Florida Atlantic on Saturday night.

“I think about her every day,” Butler said. “Ever since she passed. She was one of my biggest supporters, and I know she’s up there happy right now, watching me play the game that I love. And I think she was with me with that shot. She probably guided the ball in a little bit. I miss her, and I’m just happy I’m able to do this for her.”

Butler reflected back to when he heard the news of his sister’s passing. He said he channeled much of his emotion around her death into the sport and his team.

“I just truly decided that basketball was going to make me happy again,” he said. “It was a crazy moment in my life to even hear that my sister had passed. But my teammates and my coaches, they gave me time to just decide what I wanted to do. They said if I didn’t want to come back and play, they were fine with that as well. So they just made me comfortable, and they’re also like my second family.”

Nearly 20 of Butler’s friends and family members came to Houston for the Final Four. His father, Lamont Butler Sr., said the trip out was expensive for everyone but said the “reward” came from seeing his son hit the shot.

Lamont Butler said he got a chance to spend time with his father and all his family members in the hotel Saturday night.

“This is who I do it for, so I just love being with them and it was just a great moment,” he said.

Butler has answered dozens of questions about his famous shot since it went through the basket after the buzzer sounded Saturday. He added further insight Sunday, saying he didn’t know how close he was to going out of bounds on his drive downcourt until he watched a replay after the game.

“Dang, I was right there,” he said. “That would have been wild to lose a game like that if I stepped out.”

Instead, he composed himself, took a right-to-left dribble through his legs to change direction and then worked back to the wing, where he rose to his moment in NCAA tournament history. Since the shot went in, he’s been consistent in saying that San Diego State has one more game to go before being content.

He appreciated his teammates and coaches’ support through his and his family’s adversity and hopes to show that appreciation with one more win against UConn on Monday.

“The trust they have in me is through the roof, and we’re going to win this thing for them,” Butler said.

SDSU teammate Adam Seiko, a senior guard, said the team has been thrilled for Butler’s success.

“He’s a very humble kid,” Seiko said. “He works hard every single day. He had a tragic family incident last year and it has been a very emotional year for him, so to see him have this success has been amazing.”

Source link

Felt sister’s presence on game winner