Thanks to the AP courses she took at Webb School, Marjorie Butler entered the University of Georgia last fall with 54 credit hours.
The Exercise Science major marched into a Personal Training class comprised primarily of graduate students and achieved the best grade in the class.
"I'm to the point where it really doesn't matter the age of whoever's in the class around me," Butler said Friday in Athens, Ga.
Georgia point guard Jasmine James flashed a devilish smile at the mention of her freshman teammate's academic achievements. James would like to tease her but is stumped as to how.
"Honestly, something that's that great," James said, "you can't even think of a
Taking a fast-forward approach to women's basketball has been more challenging for Butler. The former PrepXtra Player of the Year makes her first SEC appearance at Thompson-Boling Arena today (TV, SportSouth, 1 p.m.) when No. 10 Georgia (13-1, 1-0 SEC) plays No. 12 Tennessee (10-3, 1-0).
Butler missed virtually all of her senior season at Webb after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee in November of 2011. Butler conceded on Friday that she probably was "doing too much early" in the recovery process. She's paying for it with a lingering case of tendinitis, which requires daily maintenance.
Still, the 5-foot-8 guard is averaging 14.8 minutes per game and scored a season-high 11 points Thursday against Missouri. She gets an "A" for effort from Georgia coach Andy Landers, who said that he would "probably put her in with the three hardest-working kids we've ever had here."
"She has a different level of maturity because she's focused," Landers said. "She's a focused, driven goal-oriented kid.
"Everyone will walk around and tell you they have goals but if you ask them how they're going to reach them, they look at you like 'I don't understand the question.' She gets the question. She has a list of answers."
James is helping Butler with answers on the court. The two guards are pitted against each other at practice. In this case, James is the advanced student — a four-year starter with All-SEC credentials.
"Every day is a challenge," Butler said. "It's frustrating at times. I'm not going to say that it's easy or that it's always enjoyable but it definitely makes me better.
"She's showing me how to lead and how to run a team the right way."
Landers thinks both players have benefitted from their competition. He gives the credit to Butler.
"When you give the accolades in that fight every day," he said, "when you give the award, you don't give it to (James), you give it to Marjorie because she's just determined. She will not quit. She doesn't hang her head. She lines right back up and goes again."