Throughout the course of this past high school basketball season, one of the questions I was asked most often was, "Hey Jeremy, do you know where Butterfield is going next year?". Well, now we know.
Savanna Butterfield, a 5'10" combo-forward, has signed a National Letter of Intent, officially committing to Merrimack College. Merrimack Division II school located in Nearby North Andover, MA which competes in the Northeast-10 Conference.
Butterfield won the 2010-2011 NHBCO Division I Player of the Year award during her senior season at Londonderry High, leading the Lancers to the D-I title game. She just finished up doing a post-grad year at the Tilton School, where she helped lead the Rams to the NEPSAC Class B finals.
"Having Savanna as a post-graduate at Tilton School not only made our basketball team better, but the community a better place at well" said Tilton girls basketball coach Tara Brisson. "She was constantly the hardest working kid on and off the court and her continued focus and determination has paid off - achieving her the highest academic standing at Tilton School and Female Athlete of the Winter. She has left a footprint in the girls' basketball program at Tilton School and will allow us to continue to achieve the highest success year in and year out. I see her dominating at the next level because of her supreme athleticism and will to be the best. She will plow through whatever walls or roadblocks are in the way of her achieving success. I could not be more proud of Savanna."
Athleticism is definitely the thing that Butterfield is best known before. Not many players around have the combination of strength and athleticism that she does. She skies up for rebounds, makes acrobatic moves inside and finishes well through contact. She is also a physical player who is certainly not afraid of contact, as another one of her best attributes is being able to draw charges.
"Savanna is a tremendous athlete who has a world of potential!" said Scott Hazelton, who was Butterfield's AAU coach for the past two years with the NH Rivals. "She plays extremely hard and unselfish on both sides of the floor. She's come a long way in her basketball development in the past two years. And it's great to see that hard work paying off! She is going to be a great addition to the Merrimack program."
Here's what Savanna had to say when we interviewed her recently about her commitment.
Jeremy Leveille: Talk about how the recruiting process went for you and what led you to choose Merrimack.
Savanna Butterfield: I wanted to focus on the recruiting process after the basketball season with Tilton. I wanted to focus on that season first because that's one of the reasons I came to the school and was my first priority at the time, choosing a school came second. I was considering a few other schools but mostly it was Rivier. I chose Merrimack because I had a good vibe with the coaches and the players and people I met there. They had the major I was looking for, the school is close to home and I feel like I'd be okay there. That doesnt mean I don't think that about Rivier, because I really enjoyed Coach Williams and I feel like I'd be comfortable at that school too, there was just a couple different aspects in Merrimack that's all. Nothing against Rivier, the coach knows how I feel about it, and I do wish them the best next season for sure.
JL: What do you see your role being on the team at Merrimack?
SB: Honestly, I don't really like considering myself a certain role on any team, I just wanna be myself doing whatever I may be doing. So really, my role is being me and doing anything I can to help anyone out, even if it's giving chest bumps in the middle of the game haha.
JL: How did playing for the Rivals and doing a post-grad year at Tilton help with your recruitment?
SB: The Rivals helped me realize that skill work is so important. Everyone has potential in anything they do but you have to work at what you do, also I wanna thanks Scott for mentioning Tilton to me because it's been one of the best experiences of my life, that all goes to him. Going along with that, Tilton has been life changing in so many ways. With basketball there, it was all work ethic. Because I had an extra year of ball I wanted to make the most of it. I just wanted to work and the coaching staff, players and the Tilton community pushed me mentally, emotionally and physically. They made me want to keep going and never stop at any point in practice or games in all three areas. Also, they made me care about the game much more then i did before, they made me care more then I ever thought I could've. They made me want to go all out in everything.
JL: Thoughts on being able to play alongside fellow granite staters Allie Wagner and Lia Nawn at Merrimack?
SB: Being straight up I don't know them very well, but I've heard good things about them both and I'm looking forward to getting to know them better, playing with them, and acting like a goofball haha.
JL: What are your fondest memories from playing high school basketball, with Londonderry and Tilton?
SB: For Londonderry, I know people will probably hate me for saying this, but getting 6 charges in the semi-final game vs. Alvirne my senior year. And just so people know, I know probably a couple of those were blocks (because it hurt worse then taking a normal charge) and I know sometimes I flop taking charges, but just like you got to sell a crossover getting by someone, you gotta sell other parts of the game too sometimes. Mine as well own it, especially to Alvirne that night. As for Tilton, playing really sick vs. Rivers at home. We lost (and not trying to sound selfish at all) but with playing sick I had to overcome this state of mind of not feeling good and just being like I don't care it's whatever, lets go. That's the point in my basketball career (if I have one at all) where I figured out mental toughness is mad important in everything.
JL: What were the most important things you learned from Coach Fagula, Coach Hazelton and Coach Brisson?
SB: Coach Fagula taught me the importance of voicing my opinion and speaking up, showing enthusiasm, doing my best to be a leader even if failing in a way had to be a part of it. Scott taught me the importance of working at your game in ALL positions. And Coach Brisson taught me the importance of emotion and passion in the game
JL: What do you plan on studying at Merrimack?
SB: Social Work, I wanna help people out any way I can man.
Congratulations to Savanna, and best of luck at Merrimack!