The first time I heard the name Ronald Nored was during Butler’s inaguaral run to the final game. He was a starting guard, who defended well, but couldn’t shoot, or at least that’s what a scouting report might tell you about him. In truth, he was the first Butler player to catch my eye, even before Gordon Haywood and Shelvin Mack, who would go on to play in the NBA. There was a passion to his play, a complete involvement in the moments that matter epitomizing to me how Butler and any other underdog slays Goliath.
Everything, I have read or seen of Nored from that moment has been affirming of his brand of greatness. During Butler’s 2011 run, Nored was no longer a full-time starter, but in watching each Butler game his leadership and quality was evident. Tonight, Butler fans will honor him at senior night. This morning I read two articles about him. The first identified his ten greatest moments for Butler. It was a litany of clutch performances, what was notable was only one was confined to his ostensible forte…defense (a relentless pestering of future NBA star Steph Curry that rendered him “barely able” to walk into the post-game interview area). The majority of the remainder of the moments, involved improbably clutch shooting from a player who routinely struggled to shoot from the field or the line. As a Butler Bulldog, Nored has hit three point shots in tourney games and buried strings of free throws when his team needed them most. The second article spoke more of Nored as a student athlete fully invested in his school as class president, AAU coach and teacher. I found a connection in the two pieces, admittedly speculative, that it is Nored’s deep investment in his team and school that has given him the strength to make the shots he has.
Countless combat veterans have been interviewed about their motivations during times of duress, and outright fear. The expected answers of family, friends, even God have relented to the steady beating drum of “the guy next to me.” When I read and reflect on Ronald Nored, I think of his great, but unlikely shooting moments in this regard that he made those shots not for himself, but for Gordon, Shelvin, Matt, Coach Stevens, and the rest of the Butler Bulldogs.
During my coaching career, I have printed off a number of things that I have impacted me affirming or expanding my coaching philosophy. I keep them in a notebook and refer to them as “core articles”. Among them is a piece by Dan Wetzel called “Butler Goes Down Its Way”. It describes the Butler locker room after they shot 12/64 from the field and lost the national championship game. Proud players sobbing uncontrollably.
“And that’s when Ronald Nored, eyes red and tear-filled as well, noticed his teammates, got up, crossed the locker room and reminded everyone what this entire pursuit is about.
He pulled Shawn Vanzant [who most directly cut into Nored’s play time] up off his stool and hugged his friend, physically and emotionally attempting to lift him out of depression.
After a few seconds, Nored stepped over to Howard and did the same. And soon enough, his teammates followed.”
Of the moment, Nored said, “That’s what we’re here for, we’re here for each other.”