NEW ORLEANS – Baylor University star Jared Butler, the Most Outstanding Player at this year’s NCAA Final Four, has been selected as the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s Greater New Orleans Male Amateur Athlete of the Year.
The Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee, sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl, selects annual award winners in a variety of categories; it also selects Amateur Athletes of the Month and each year’s Hall of Fame class. Overall, 23 individuals and two teams will be honored for their 2020-21 achievements at the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Awards Banquet on July 24. Honorees are being announced over a period of 23 days, wrapping up with the Corbett Awards for the top male and female amateur athletes in the state on July 20 and 21.
Butler, who played his high school ball at Riverside Academy, capped a spectacular college basketball career by leading Baylor to its first NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. The senior guard scored 22 points in the 86-70 national title-game victory over top-seeded Gonzaga (April 5), which had entered the contest undefeated. In the national semifinal against Houston (April 3), Butler erupted for 17 first-half points, including four three-pointers as the Bears buried the Cougars in the first half. The 6-3 Butler followed up his tremendous on-court performance by being named the Big 12 Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year on April 14. The first consensus First-Team All-American in program history, Butler averaged 16.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.0 steals per game for the national champions.
“[Winning a championship] was one of my goals,” Butler said after the national championship victory. “And I know some of my teammates’ goals, just to leave a legacy at Baylor, create Baylor as a blue blood.”
“He is the whole package,” his high school coach Timmy Byrd said. “Jared is a great student. He left Riverside with 24 college credits. He has flourished academically. He has obviously achieved athletically. Jared has tremendous character and is so well liked by everyone. He and Tweety [Carter] are the two best high school players I ever coached. It has been such a pleasure to watch him.”
The Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee has presented annual awards to amateur athletes in the region since 1958 – Butler is the first New Orleans area product competing out of the state to win the honor since Jesuit product Patrick Mullins was recognized after an All-American soccer season at the University of Maryland.
The other finalists for Greater New Orleans Male Amateur Athlete of the Year were Payton Alexander (Loyola University Baseball), Brayden Jobert (Delgado Baseball) and Rayshawn Mart (Xavier University Basketball). Alexander, the Southern States Athletic Conference Player of the Year, was a key for Loyola turning in the best season in its baseball history as the Wolf Pack won a program-record 36 games. Jobert, a graduate of Slidell’s Northshore High School and an LSU signee, had a dominant season for Delgado this year, earning All-America recognition after keying the Dolphins run to the NJCAA Super Regional. Mart, a first-team All-American by the NAIA and the NABC, was Xavier’s first Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Year after averaging 21.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game as he led XULA to a repeat championship in the GCAC Tournament.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl will continue announcing its annual awards on Monday as the Eddie Robinson Award winner will be released at 10 a.m.
Eddie Robinson Award: July 5 (Monday)
Outstanding Boys’ Prep Team, New Orleans: July 6 (Tuesday)
Outstanding Girls’ Prep Team, New Orleans: July 7 (Wednesday)
Outstanding Collegiate Coach, Louisiana: July 8 (Thursday)
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2021 Inductee: July 9 (Friday)
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2021 Inductee: July 12 (Monday)
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2021 Inductee: July 13 (Tuesday)
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2021 Inductee: July 14 (Wednesday)
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2021 Inductee: July 15 (Thursday)
Corbett Award – Female: July 20 (Tuesday)
Corbett Award – Male: July 21 (Wednesday)
The Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee began in 1957 when Collins spearheaded a group of sports journalists to form a sports awards committee to immortalize local sports history. For 13 years, the committee honored local athletes each month. In 1970, the Sugar Bowl stepped in to sponsor and revitalize the committee, leading to the creation of the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame in 1971, honoring 10 legends from the Crescent City in its first induction class. While adding the responsibility of selecting Hall of Famers, the committee has continued to recognize the top amateur athlete in the Greater New Orleans area each month – the honors enter their 65th year in 2021. To be eligible, an athlete must be a native of the greater New Orleans area or must compete for a team in the metropolitan region.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 28 national champions, 99 Hall of Fame players, 51 Hall of Fame coaches and 19 Heisman Trophy winners in its 87-year history. The 88th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, which will feature top teams from the Big 12 and the SEC, is scheduled to be played on January 1, 2022. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, awards, scholarships and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors thousands of student-athletes each year, while injecting over $2.7 billion into the local economy in the last decade. For more information, visit www.AllstateSugarBowl.org.