Brad Stevens Rumors
Stevens graduated with a degree in economics, but when Thad Matta offered him a low-paying, part-time position in Butler’s basketball program, Stevens jumped at the opportunity and resigned from his marketing job at Eli Lilly. He learned alongside Butler assistant Todd Lickliter, who quickly became a friend and mentor. It was Lickliter who stressed the value of a clear mind and fresh legs — Butler’s practices usually lasted no longer than an hour — and the need to keep the game plan as simple as possible.
“He’s unbelievable in how he carries himself,” Popovich says. “He’s truthful and straight up with his players, and in this league, that’s the biggest thing they respect — that you are comfortable in your own skin.”
Another example: Earlier this season, Smart committed a cardinal Stevens sin: spinning under a screen instead of going over it. “He let me know in a way only Brad would: in the huddle, out of sight,” Smart says. “He’ll grab you and still have that calm face on, but what he’s saying isn’t calm.”
There’s a reason Jordan says Stevens should be coach of the year, a reason Donovan sought his counsel before he made the jump to the NBA with the Oklahoma City Thunder, a reason Thibodeau compares him to Popovich in the way he plays to the strengths of his club. “It sounds crazy,” Thomas says, “but Brad has the potential to be one of the greatest coaches who ever lived.”