Chris Boucher has admitted to being guilty of throwing shots during games and has received his fair share of criticism for it. However, the 29-year-old learned a lot about himself during the 2021-22 campaign and explained how it influenced his turnaround. Listen to the full episode on the ‘Hustle Play’ podcast feed or watch on our Yahoo Sports Canada YouTube.
MIKE ROACH: How do you think you have changed since the start of the season until now? Not even necessarily from a basketball perspective, just you as a human.
CHRIS BUTCHER: It helped me hold my… gender. I mean, I’m more mature. And I think I’m able to see the other side of metal because before that was how I saw it. You’re not playing me, it’s all because of that. Do you know what I’m saying? I don’t shoot, it’s because of that. It was all about what Chris wanted.
And then this year, I had to learn that… I had to learn that, first of all, basketball is a team sport. So you have to think about your team. Very well. You know, I’ve always been a good teammate, but I always thought of myself too. And now I know what it’s like to have a team and go through the ups and downs and not worry too much about when, you know?
Like, let’s say I didn’t play well. And usually I’m gonna be like, fuck this, fuck that. You know, now it’s more– OK, I mean, I had a bad game. What can I do better? And don’t let it go to the next day. And it’s just something I did when I was… when I had nothing.
And that’s probably one of the best things I’ve done is go back to the Chris who had nothing. So now I’m grateful to have… with everything. Because when I had nothing, I was always grateful that I could be alive. And now it’s like not much is bothering you and you just wanted to start acting like, oh, this, this and that. No, I go back to old Chris when it didn’t bother me at all.
MIKE ROACH: Now we have seen how you made this change to become a different player.
CHRIS BUTCHER: Yeah.
MIKE ROACH: To the right? Did you think it was something you would have to do one day?
CHRIS BUTCHER: No. I thought I was going to become a sniper. I thought I was going to be Kyle Korver for the Raptors. Just, I’m coming over there. You put me in the game. I shoot 3s. And that’s what I thought I was going to do. And then I went to Tampa. And I was turned off. So I’m like, oh, this is what I’m doing. And then I came back here. And I don’t know. I left my sniper in Tampa because the first time was terrible. The first…I was shooting 18% on 3, man.
MIKE ROACH: It was pretty bad.
CHRIS BUTCHER: It’s bricks. Yeah. It’s straight bricks. I build a house wherever I go. Yeah, so– yeah, but it made me realize that I had to change. And I had a lot more ability, and I was able to do a lot more than just shoot the ball.
MIKE ROACH: Why do you think people generally take so long to make changes?
CHRIS BUTCHER: Ego.
MIKE ROACH: Ego.
CHRIS BUTCHER: If you can’t fight your ego, you won’t get anywhere. Your ego makes you do a lot of things. How do you know when someone hits your ego? There are many things that you wouldn’t normally be affected by, but as soon as it hits your ego, you just react.
If you can’t fight that, it’s over. I have a lot of things that I do – and things that I react to, and that’s just out of my ego. It’s– I don’t want my ego hurt. But I–
MIKE ROACH: How does your ego develop there?
CHRIS BUTCHER: When you start to realize what really pissed you off, and when it starts to happen multiple times. Let’s say every time you bring me water, you don’t bring ice, and I hate that. Finally, I know you won’t bring me ice cream. So I’m not going to let that bother me. Next time I see the mug, I know it doesn’t come with ice. I will not be disturbed. But if my ego wants ice cream every time, I’ll get mad at you every time you bring it without ice cream.
MIKE ROACH: Do you think you sh–
CHRIS BUTCHER: And I think that’s… do you know where I’m coming from?
MIKE ROACH: I understand what you are saying. But are you saying– do you think you should–
CHRIS BUTCHER: Just to be sure.
MIKE ROACH: –sort of getting rid of the ego? Or is it rather beneficial to have a little ego?
CHRIS BUTCHER: No, you need it. You can’t get rid of it. I’m just saying you have to be able to know that sometimes in certain situations your ego has to be lower than what’s going on in the situation. You can’t bring it as hard as anything. Sometimes you are not even part of the situation. You don’t know what anybody else is going through.
Do you know what I’m saying? Like, what if you come here today, and you’re not feeling well. But I want you to laugh and do all this. It’s… you know what I mean? I can’t force you to do this. And so my ego wants you to be happy here and happy with me and all that. But if you go through certain things, I have to understand that.
MIKE ROACH: Alright Alright.
CHRIS BUTCHER: Some things are just– you’re going to need to be– to relax, take your time, look in the mirror, and say what would I like? Would I want this to happen if it was me? And if the answer is no, then…
MIKE ROACH: So sometimes you have to make changes in your personality, your ego. What type of change do you think will make you a better player when it comes to being on the pitch next season?
CHRIS BUTCHER: I just have to move on to the next room. I think I have a lot… I have a big problem with that. Just– if I’m– if I’m– because I’ve made a lot of mistakes. So…and I got a lot of stress for that. So now that I feel like I’m making fewer mistakes, it’s hard for me not to say something when someone does.
And I have to get to that point where mistakes are going to happen. Go to the next. But I feel like I’m so eager to try to be a perfect player that now when someone makes a mistake, I’m done with it. But I have to improve.
MIKE ROACH: I think you’re a mid-range jumper far from really…
CHRIS BUTCHER: I don’t take mid-range…
MIKE ROACH: –very good.
CHRIS BUTCHER: I don’t take the mid-range though.
MIKE ROACH: I know not.
CHRIS BUTCHER: This is the problem. But honestly, it’s not– it’s not–
MIKE ROACH: You are a long range shooter.
CHRIS BUTCHER: No, man, I could drive the ball and do a lot of different things. I just have to… it’s not my time yet. And like I said, it’s not necessary for me to do that yet.
MIKE ROACH: However, you put the ball on the ground more…
CHRIS BUTCHER: When–
MIKE ROACH: –like later in the season.
CHRIS BUTCHER: When needed. When you… like, playoff basketball, when they get all the way to you, you gotta drive. It is necessary for me. But when in the regular season they’re just lazy and leave me open, I have to pull it. It’s just not necessary for me to put the ball down.
I am now asked to take the ball all over the pitch. When it’s Scottie Barnes, Pascal, Fred and Gary, I can do it. And I understood that. I wanted to do all of this. But I understand that’s not my role right now.
And I do a very good job doing everything else. So it doesn’t bother me anymore. Like, I killed this Chris who wanted to– be all offensive and bring the ball and do all the flashlight. I realized that I could do a lot of flashlight on defense, a lot of things that people can’t even do, who didn’t even think I would. Jumping, contesting the 3s. Now people think they know I could block the 3s. That’s stuff–
MIKE ROACH: Block a lot of 3s.
CHRIS BUTCHER: –you can’t do– you can’t do that. It’s the same thing.