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The Sixth Starter (Part II)

By Ralphine Major

The coach often held No. 10 in reserve and called on him and his swift ball-handling skills to bail the Eagles out of trouble against the press.  Not only did he call on him to do that, but he also called on No. 10 when the Eagles had to press full court.  “We didn’t press full court other teams very much.  Sometimes, if they were trying to slow the game down by walking the ball up court, we did press them man to man,” former Coach of the Eagles, Bob Dagley said of his go-to player.  Stanley Butler, No. 10,  was another of the seniors who played for Dagley’s 1964-65 Eagles.  “I always wanted to get Stanley on their best ball handler.  Stanley not only had quick feet, he had quick hands.  His feet would be moving constantly to get position and his hands constantly reaching and slapping at the ball.”  Dagley held back nothing when praising Butler’s ball-handling ability.  “I saw several good ball handlers give the ball up to a teammate rather than face Butler’s persistent pressure.”

The coach reflects on that time.  “For me to try and tell a seventeen-year-old at the time he was considered a starter and how valuable he was to the success of the 64-65 team when he didn’t start all the time would probably have been hard for him to understand.  But, I knew, the rest of the players knew, and fans knew how valuable to the team the role he played was.”  I am sure Eagles’ fans still appreciate the player who was not afraid to go up against bigger players and bigger teams.  Dagley continues, “I hope, after all these years looking back, he can see what a valuable role he played as the sixth starter.”  There is no doubt the fans remember Butler’s invaluable contributions to the record of the 1964-65 team.

“Stanley, like the rest of the team, played the role he was asked to play, and he played it well,” Dagley said.  “He was the best sixth starter I have ever seen.”  (This is No. 28 in the Gibbs basketball series.)

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