Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated has a 5-page expose on Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. If you don’t have time to read it, here are some takeaways and excerpts:
- He’s been living in a hotel in the Waltham area
- His office is not decorated
- He played Division III hoops at DePauw
- He left a $44,000 a year job in pharmaceuticals for a $18,000 a year coaching gig at Butler
- He uses an Excel document to record notes of every possession of opponents games
- He established a relationship with former Celtics assistant coach Kevin Eastman back in 2007
For those who think Stevens is tailored made for college hoops and not the NBA ranks, think again. He’s been dreaming of the NBA for years:
With Butler’s success, Stevens was predictably pursued by brand-name programs in search of a miracle. Oregon, Clemson, Wake Forest, Illinois and, last spring, UCLA were among the suitors whose identities were made public. As Stevens declined ever more offers—he concedes there were more than 10—he and Tracy came to realize, without ever voicing it, that they would probably never leave the Bulldogs for another college job. “And then,” says Tracy, “with the UCLA thing, you had to think, If we wouldn’t leave to go there, where would we go?”
The NBA stuck in the back of Brad’s mind. In a phone conversation last spring with Josh Burch, a college teammate at DePauw and a close friend since, Burch recalls that Stevens said, “Nothing is going to happen unless it’s NBA-related.” Burch hung up the phone and said to his wife, “Brad just said the weirdest thing,” because he had never before heard Stevens mention moving to the pros. In fact, he had been moving in that direction for most of his life.
Most of the accolades dropped on Stevens are for his preparation and situational execution. He puts his players in the right spots:
Offensively, Butler ran precise sets, especially on out-of-bounds plays. “I don’t want to say they were flawless,” says Cleveland State coach Gary Waters, “but Brad’s teams were absolutely great in situational execution.” Preparation was exceptional, but Stevens regularly scribbled up whiteboard plays during timeouts. In the Bulldogs’ 2010 Sweet 16 win over Syracuse, Stevens designed an out-of-bounds play on the fly where four players ran in around the offensive circle and then simply cut wherever they pleased when the referee handed off the ball; Howard slipped loose for a layup. They were never better than on the final possession of the 2010 national championship game, when they ran a slick sequence off a missed Duke free throw, leading to Hayward’s half-court near-miss, all without the benefit of a timeout.
Bookmark the article and read it the next time you’re in the john. It’s a good read and you’ll feel better about Stevens abilities.