In one of the more surprising moves of the summer, Brad Stevens left his post at Butler University to take the Boston Celtics coaching vacancy.
Andrew Smith played four years for Stevens, helping the Bulldogs appear in the NCAA tournament three times, averaging averaged 8.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per game in his career.
On Friday, it was announced that the former Butler forward was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, discovered while he was playing overseas with BC Neptunas in Lithuania.
Stevens, in the middle of a 19-34 season with the Celtics, took time to travel to Zionsville, Ind. to visit Smith and his wife Samantha. According to Zak Keefer, this isn’t the first time Stevens has taken time to visit former players.
It’s one thing to send well wishes, but it’s another to take time out of a busy schedule, from a demanding job. “Once a Butler Bulldog, always a Bulldog,” as tweeted by Samantha Smith pretty much sums up Stevens and his connection to the university.
[h/t Indianapolis Star]
Expected to be one of the favorites in the Mountain West this season, Boise State’s perimeter ranks have shrunk by one player due to injury. Thursday it was reported by the Idaho Statesman that freshman guard Malek Harwell will redshirt after suffering a torn ACL in practice. Along with fellow freshman Paris Austin, Harwell is expected to be a key part of the Broncos’ future beyond the upcoming season.
Now, instead of competing with an experienced backcourt that includes four redshirt seniors, Harwell will work to get his knee back to full strength for the 2016-17 season.
Among the guards who will play significant minutes this season are Anthony Drmic, who took a medical redshirt last season, Montigo Alford, Mikey Thompson and grad transfer Lonnie Jackson (Boston College). Chandler Hutchison, who started in Boise State’s final 18 games of the 2014-15 season as a freshman, will also compete for playing time.
Illinois will be shorthanded in its front court for the time being, as during the team’s media day Thursday head coach John Groce announced that sophomore forward Leron Black is out due to injury.
Black will undergo surgery Friday to repair a meniscus tear in his knee, and he’s expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks. A return after four weeks would have Black back on the court just before the Fighting Illini open their season November 13 against North Florida. Any longer and the Memphis native would wind up missing some game action.
Black averaged 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in just under 15 minutes of action per game as a freshman. He’s one of the players expected to contribute in the front court for the Fighting Illini, who lost their best interior defender and second-leading rebounder in Nnanna Egwu at the end of last season (guard Rayvonte Rice, who led the team in rebounding, is also gone).
In addition to Black and junior Maverick Morgan, Illinois adds redshirt freshman Michael Finke and grad student Mike Thorne Jr. (via Charlotte) to their front court rotation.