Berkeley's Butler signs with Francis Marion

MONCKS CORNER, SC - People googling determination should be shown search results full of information about Berkeley High School's Ephraim Butler.

Ephraim signed to play basketball for Francis Marion University on Friday.

He said signing to play college basketball as a scholarship athlete is something he knew would happen. He knew, because he put in the work.

As a senior this year on the Stags' varsity basketball team, Ephraim nearly doubled his points per game (PPG) average. He finished the 2017-18 season with a 20.7 PPG average, which is far above the MaxPreps national PPG average.

Before his final basketball season at Berkeley High began, Ephraim began hitting the gym 3-4 times each day – practicing, working out and perfecting his craft. He said he also worked hard in the classroom.

Stags head basketball coach Joe Wallace said Ephraim is proof that hard work pays off and says his younger players now understand when they put in hard work, they reap the benefits.

"Anytime the gym is open, he's always there," Coach Wallace said. "He will give me a call early in the morning when he wants to go to the gym when it's not scheduled to be open. He always wants to get in the gym. It doesn't matter if a lot of people are there or if he's thee by himself. He always puts in work. He always has a basketball in his hand."

Life has tested Ephraim, but he's proven determination and a support system can get you where you want to be.

"Ephraim is a very, very, very determined young man. He's had a lot of trials and tribulations in his life with losing both his parents at an early age. From that, he's shown perseverance. He understood how to persevere, how to keep going through all these obstacles that he's been faced with and he a great support group with his older sisters and his older brothers," Coach Wallace said.

Ephraim said his inspiration has come from family members and close family friends. His desire to make those people proud was clear to Coach Wallace.

"He understood that it was going to take hard work to get to whatever level he wanted to get to. He always wanted to make his family proud, and he knew it wasn't going to be given to him. It was going to take hard work and dedication and commitment, and that's exactly what he did," Coach Wallace said.

As he moves on to another set of goals, Ephraim confidently says he will later play in the NBA. He's as determined to play professional basketball as he was to sign a collegiate letter of intent.

Ephraim chose Francis Marion over MANY other offers because it felt right. He believes he will be an early asset to the program. He admitted it was a tough decision, because many of the schools had strong basketball programs and/or are known for academics.

"They (Francis Marion University) gave me the best opportunity," he said. "They stuck with me through the whole recruiting process. I just felt like it was the best decision for me and my family. I had Division I schools on me a lot, but Francis Marion gave me the right away to come in and play, and I feel like I'll make an early impact there."