Talek Butler plays unselfishly on the basketball court. He takes charges. He boxes out for rebounds. He sets screens for teammates.
Those are among the reasons Uniondale coach Tom Diana chose the senior forward as a captain this season.
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"He's 'Uniondale Knight,' as in that's what we preach and what we hope our guys try to be and eventually become," Diana said Saturday. "He epitomized being a captain by always picking teammates up and doing all the little things necessary to help us in our journey."
The Knights' season ended Saturday with a 53-45 loss to Baldwin in the Nassau Class AA championship game at Hofstra. Butler's performance stood out because he did all those things that don't show up in the boxscore, along with the things that do: a team-high 15 points plus eight rebounds.
"I had a lot of emotion coming into this game," said Butler, his eyes moist. "I used that emotion during the game because I wanted badly to help our team reach our goal of winning this game."
Butler made a few big shots late in the game for Uniondale (14-6). He hit a three-pointer with a hand in his face from the left corner to get the Knights to within 39-38 with about six minutes left in the fourth quarter.
"Today, people saw what he can do and what he's capable of," Diana said.
Butler drew a charge four minutes later, and on the Knights' ensuing possession, Shomari Redd's free throw cut the deficit to 47-45. But Baldwin ended the game with a 6-0 run.
"The loss, of course, is disappointing," Butler said. "But I'm proud of our team and us getting to this game and us playing well. No one gave us a chance to win this game, but we made it close by playing with our hearts and emotions."