Working behind the scenes, a group of seven men practice hard.
Day in and day out, they manage academics, jobs, social commitments and countless other obligations.
These individuals, who tirelessly assist the Butler women’s basketball program on a strictly volunteer basis, are dubbed the Gray Squad.
They often scrimmage against the Bulldogs to keep them sharp.
The men on the Gray Squad are chosen in a number of ways.
Some are noticed draining shots at the Health and Recreation Complex, a couple by reputation and some from the skills observed in the basketball class that Butler women’s basketball assistant coach Ashley Hayes teaches.
Hayes, who is in charge of the Gray Squad, said she remains thoroughly impressed by the effort consistently put forth.
“I love these guys,” Hayes said. “I enjoy seeing them every day at practice. They bring a new dimension, and they’re as big a part of our success as anyone.”
The bonds formed between players on and off the court play a big role in the team’s dynamic.
“‘I’ve grown very close to the other members,” junior Kevin Schwartz said. “We look at each other as teammates on the court, but the bond has developed into more than that.
“Not only do we work well together on the court, but we’ve got a relationship outside of basketball as well.”
For senior Jordan Crowe, his motivation to join stemmed from a passion for service and the love of the game.
“I love basketball, and I love to help people in all ways that I can,” Crowe said. “I figure that, since I love the game of basketball so much, I might as well play every day to try and help the women’s team be successful and improve from game to game.”
Schwartz said the preparation does not stop at a good scrimmage game.
Before game day, the squad prepares with a scouting report and mimics the playing style and tendencies of the Bulldogs’ upcoming opponent to ensure the women are as ready to play as possible.
With four games left in the women’s basketball team’s regular season, the Gray Squad is determined to help the Bulldogs finish the year strong.