Trevon Butler had a star-studded basketball career at Bangor’s Husson University.
As a senior in 2016, he was named the North Atlantic Conference player of the year and NAC tournament most valuable player for the second time in three years while leading the Eagles to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
His performance led to an opportunity to play professional basketball in Portugal, but the 6-foot-3 guard ultimately decided not to go overseas.
Now Butler may be facing a similar decision.
After stepping away from the sport for several years, Butler has reemerged on the basketball scene this summer with the Rockland-based Midcoast Sternmen of the Pro Basketball Association. One of the league’s goals is connecting players with potential full-time professional basketball careers.
Butler has scored in double figures in each of his team’s games and is coming off a 33-point performance when the Sternmen handed the New York Generals, one of the top teams in the league’s Northeast Division, its only loss so far this summer.
“I’ve got Division I guys on my team and they had a kid who played at Colorado on their team and several other scholarship players, and I think he was the best player on the floor,” said Jim Graffam, the team’s coach and general manager.
Through the Sternmen’s 2-2 start this summer entering Saturday’s 7 p.m. game against the Buffalo Blaze at the Flanagan Community Center, the 26-year-old Butler is averaging 22 points and 11 rebounds per game.
“It’s been tremendous because I’m playing with a lot of great talent,” Butler said. “It’s very diverse, a lot of guys fresh out of college, some pros who have played overseas already, and I’m coming in as the only one who hadn’t touched a basketball for four years.”
Butler had bulked up from his college playing weight of 180 pounds to 215 over the years and had no plans to play the sport seriously again save for some pickup basketball and a couple of tournaments back in his native Connecticut.
Then the phone rang this spring with an offer to try out for the Sternmen, a first-year club owned by Brad Galley, an assistant vice president for Machias Savings Bank in Rockland and a former Husson basketball player.
“I was working and figuring out my own journey in life and I fell out of love with basketball after turning down that professional basketball opportunity overseas,” Butler said. “But then I got the call to try out for this professional team and pursue the dream again.”
Butler dropped nearly 30 pounds to return near his college playing weight, a sign to him that he was putting in the requisite work to make the most of this comeback.
“I didn’t want to live in the past, but when this opportunity came up I thought, ‘Let me motivate myself to see how far back I can get,’” he said. “I wanted to push myself and motivate myself for this opportunity.”
Graffam believes Butler is on his way to earning another chance to play overseas.
“I think he’s made himself a lot of money this summer,” he said. “Trevon’s like a lot of guys in this league. He’s got a family but for the opportunity to be a pro basketball player and live out that dream, he’s just jumped on it.”
Any decision that may await Butler won’t come easily, as life was good even before he rediscovered basketball.
Right now he receives a modest stipend to play for the Sternmen, while his primary income comes from working as a career adviser for Goodwill New England in Waterville, where he lives with his girlfriend and 17-month-old daughter Gabriella.
Whether he’d go overseas if given the chance is unclear, but right now his focus is on simply earning that chance to decide.
“That’s the goal now seeing the success I’m having, to get some offers, and then we’ll cross that bridge and see what happens.”