Tag: Brad Stevens

Butler v Marquette

Brad Stevens supports Butler and Chris Holtmann, sympathizes with Brandon Miller

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Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics are in Indianapolis for a Friday night matchup with the Indiana Pacers.

The former Butler head coach returned to the school he brought to back-to-back Final Fours earlier in the day, according to the Indy Star. Stevens was attending a retirement ceremony for Butler’s longtime sports information director Jim McGrath.

Since Stevens’ jump to the NBA in July 2013, the program has entered the Big East Conference, and is currently on its second different head coach. Former Butler guard Brandon Miller was tabbed as Stevens’ successor, serving as head coach for one season. He took a leave of absence on October 2, leaving his duties to assistant coach Chris Holtmann.

After guiding the Bulldogs to an 11-4 start, which included a win over then-No. 5 North Carolina, Holtmann had his interim tag removed and agreed to a multi-year contract with the university. In his first game as the permanent head coach, Butler knocked off No. 15 St. John’s on the road.

On Friday, Stevens discussed the state of the program with Curt Cavin of the Indy Star. The Celtics coach remains a follower, even from afar.

“First and foremost, my heart and my sympathies are with Brandon and his family,” Stevens told Cavin. “I’m very excited that they had a person like Chris there (on staff) and the staff that was there with (assistant coaches) Michael Lewis and Terry Johnson. Those guys who were there with me really handled a tough situation fantastic, and I’m really happy that’s going to be a long-term thing now with Chris at the helm.

“I thought all those guys did just a marvelous job. I’m happy for them and you can bet I want them to beat ‘X’ (Xavier) tomorrow.”

This may have been a homecoming of sorts for Stevens, but he has been a topic of discussion a month ago, when he had to shoot down speculation that he could take over at Indiana, given the extended rebuilding process going on in Boston following the Rajon Rondo trade.

Stevens is in the second year of a six-year deal with Boston. Tom Crean, in his seventh season in Bloomington, has the Hoosiers 11-4 on the season.

Brad Stevens on Indiana speculation: ‘I’m the head coach of the Boston Celtics. This is the job.’

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There’s no escaping it.

Brad Stevens is going to be continually linked to the Indiana head coaching job. The last rumblings of Stevens’ potential return to the college ranks surfaced in Paul Flannery’s Sunday Shootaround column for SB Nation.

The latest speculation is a product of Boston’s blockbuster trade with the Dallas Mavericks early this week, sending All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo to the Mavs for Jameer Nelson, Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder and draft picks. The trade makes the rebuilding process an even longer one. The Celtics sport one of the youngest rosters in the NBA, and the growing pains are obvious with fourth quarter collapse after fourth quarter collapse this season.

However, an even longer rebuilding effort in the post-Rondo era isn’t enough to lure Stevens back to college coaching.

“I’ve committed to being here,” Stevens told Flannery before Thursday’s practice. “I’ve already left a situation once and that was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to choose to do. This is something that as long as they want me to be here, this is what I want to be doing and I’m going to give it everything I’ve got. I know it’s all specific to the rumor mills and the discussion of one spot. I think they’ve got a good coach who’s done a helluva job. He doesn’t deserve that speculation.

“I’m the head coach of the Boston Celtics. This is the job. This is where I am. This is what I want to do really well and I’m committed to being as good as I can every single day for the Celtics.”

The Celtics faith in Stevens was evident when they offered him a six-year contract in the summer of 2013. And from the quotes provided by Gregg Popvich and Kevin Love, Stevens is widely-respected by both future Hall of Famers and perennial NBA All-Stars.

Tom Crean is in his seventh season, although, the Hoosier faith have turned sour on him. Indiana has made only two NCAA tournament appearances, being bounced in the Sweet 16 as a No. 1 seed in 2013. The Hoosiers missed the postseason a season ago. The boiling point was this fall, when off-the-court issues, mixed with low expectations entering this year had many in the state calling for his job.

Through 11 games, Indiana is 9-2, fresh off a neutral site win over No. 23 Butler in the Crossroads Classic. While Indiana’s NCAA tournament status is still uncertain, Stevens sounds confident that his only return to the Hoosier state will be when the Celtics travel to Indianapolis to play the Pacers.

Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens visits former Butler forward Andrew Smith

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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]