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Butler’s Jones shows leadership following season-ending injury

Sep 7, 2013, 6:30 PM EDT

Butler v Marquette Getty Images

We hear that term “The Butler Way” thrown around a lot. The term stems from a mission statement written by current Butler AD Barry Collier, a man who also played and coached for his alma mater.

Writer David Woods shared Collier’s vision for Butler athletics in his book, also titled The Butler Way.

The Butler Way demands commitment, denies selfishness, accepts reality yet seeks improvement while putting the team above self.

We can see all of that on the court when the team plays. But it’s interesting to see how those virtues shine through in the story of Roosevelt Jones, the junior who’s serving a redshirt season after tearing ligaments in his non-shooting hand during the team’s exhibition tour of Australia. A recent story by Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star reveals that Jones embodies all of the traits the Butler Way holds dear, even when he can’t be on the floor.

After leaving the doctor’s office he called each of his teammates to let them know the news. The crux of his message: Don’t feel sorry for meWe’re going to need other guys to step up and be leaders, but just because I’m out doesn’t mean we’re going to have a terrible season.

“That showed a lot of maturity in terms of what was said,” Butler head coach Brandon Miller said later. “He took the attention right off himself and put it back on the team. He immediately went into leadership mode.”

To me, the mental toughness required to accept reality – a key precept of the Butler Way – immediately after the injury was diagnosed, is a telltale sign. This is why Butler players overachieve, and end up as head coaches and leaders after their playing days are over. It’s why the school has promoted from within from the time Collier was head coach of the program, with such great success. Everyone buys in from day one.

Jones will struggle with his enforced year off, but I’m betting he’ll be stronger for it when he comes back, with two years left to play in the Big East.

If you’ve got a strong stomach, check out Jones’ tweet showing his hand full of surgical staples:

That’s one tough kid.