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One to Watch: Jimmy Butler

Without basketball, who knows where Jimmy Butler would be?

Jimmy Butler
Marquette University
Sport: Men's Basketball 

The former Marquette University basketball star is the third Marquette player to represent the school in the Olympics. Butler led the Golden Eagles to three straight NCAA tournament appearances (2009-11) during his three years with the program, including the team's first Sweet 16 appearance since 2003. Originally from Tomball, Texas, Butler averaged 15.7 points and 6.5 rebounds per game during his senior year at Marquette. In three seasons, Butler became one of 19 Golden Eagles to post 1,000 points and 500 rebounds during their collegiate careers. Butler was selected by the Chicago Bulls in the 2011 NBA Draft as the 30th pick in the first round.

When to Watch: Team USA begins quarterfinal play today at 5:45 p.m. Eastern time.

Why we're cheering: Without college sports, the closest Jimmy Butler may have come to Rio may have been on a television screen. At age 13, he became homeless after his mother threw him out of their home. Butler moved between friends’ houses before permanently moving in with Jordan Leslie, his high school teammate. With this change came new responsibilities. For the first time in his life, Butler was challenged to meet high academic standards and encouraged to be a role model to his new younger siblings. Butler was recruited to play college basketball and ultimately decided on Marquette because of its strong academic reputation. Butler struggled to receive playing time during his first year at Marquette, but he emerged as a key player for the Golden Eagles as a junior and found his footing thanks to the support and encouragement of his teammates and coach. He graduated from Marquette in 2011 with a communications studies degree before entering the NBA draft.