St. John’s James Mitchell, with the ball, tries to make his way around O’Connell’s Leroy Butts (1) during Tuesday’s WCAC title game at Bender Arena O’Connell defeated St. John’s 58-53 for the title. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Tuesday’s WCAC boys’ championship saw O’Connell guard Melo Trimble put on a superb performance, scoring 33 points in the Knights’ 58-53 victory. While college scouts continue to drool over Trimble’s pure scoring ability, the junior is already off the recruiting market after committing to Maryland in December.

So who’s the next rising star to watch out for at O’Connell? From the look and sound of things, sophomore forward Leroy Butts.

Multiple college coaches that I chatted with during this past weekend’s WCAC tournament had good things to say about Butts, who possesses the length and mid-range game that coaches love to see in a 6-foot-7 forward.

The 210-pound Butts told me earlier this season that it took a while for him to buy into the idea of being a post player. But after he gained more confidence during the Knights’ run to the Myrtle Beach Ball Classic title game over the Christmas holiday, Butts’ stock has risen. As the Knights’ third-leading scorer at 10.4 points per game, he has recorded six double-doubles since the turn of the calendar year.

Knights Coach Joe Wootten said West Virginia, Tennessee and UCLA have shown the most interest in Butts so far, with plenty more schools bound to jump on the bandwagon over the next two years.

“He’s one of the most improved players in the area this year,” Wootten said of the All-WCAC first-team selection. “He’s got a soft shot, he’s long and he’s very coachable.”

The departure of Junior Etou after this season will leave Butts as the most veteran post presence for the Knights next year, and the sophomore sounds ready for his elevated role.

“I think colleges like my size and versatility,” Butts said. “I’m just trying to keep improving and working hard.”

In Tuesday’s other playoff action:

  • As she has all season, All-Met Lindsay Allen came up big for St. John’s last night, scoring 28 points and going 16-for-16 from the foul line to lead the Cadets to a 67-66 win in the WCAC girls’ championship. Preston Williams has the details in his game story.
  • Tyron White hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to lift Wheaton past Winters Mill, 40-39, in the first round of the Maryland 2A West region boys’ basketball playoffs.

VIDEO OF THE DAY
Check out highlights and interviews from Tuesday’s WCAC boys’ and girls’ championships.

NUMBER CRUNCH: 2002
That was the last time Patuxent won a playoff game prior to Tuesday’s 68-55 win against Lackey in the first round of the Maryland 2A South boys’ basketball playoffs. Jahi Norman and Joey Parsons led the Panthers with 15 points each.

BREAKFAST LINKS

— Forest Park’s Mustaqeem Williams is one of the nation’s top high school sprinters, but he’s looking to land a football scholarship.
— Potomac Falls hires Jason Allen as its new football coach.
— See where Gonzaga landed in ESPN’s national basketball rankings this week.

WHAT TO WATCH TODAY
No. 18 C.H. Flowers at No. 17 Bowie, 7 p.m.
The Maryland girls’ basketball playoffs continue Wednesday with this 4A South semifinal matchup between top 20 teams. Bowie rallied to win the teams’ first and only meeting this season, 68-62.