—It’s not easy to admit, but I’ve always had a hard time figuring Brad Stevens out.
Oh how I longed to be a bird or a fly or just some dude a top the bleachers at Hinkle Fieldhouse watching a Brad Stevens practice. What does he do that’s so much different? What’s the secret?
I’ve never made it to a Brad Stevens practice and alas may still not. But the man mystifies me. Could he really just be a nice guy and a great coach all wrapped up into one?
Other coaches have made the jump from college to the pros for the ridiculous pay day, the guaranteed cash, the lack of recruiting. In the pros the only job is to coach, no GPAs , classes, ceremonies, coaches radio shows. Mainly your job as an NBA head coach is just to do that: Coach. Still many have made the jump, got paid in a large way, but didn’t last long, including Rick Pitino who resigned as the Celtics head coach in 2001 after starting that particular season 12-22. Pitino made cash, but also walked away from the $27 million left on his contract.
John Calipari makes a ton of cash leading the Big Blue Giant down in Lexington, KY. Before the rich pastures of the Bluegrass State, Calipari cashed in from the New Jersey Nets keeping most of the five-year $15 million deal he signed, walking away with millions for losing 17 of the first 20 games in the 1999 season.
Calipari was and is a business man. Brad Stevens is not.
I don’t think.
But he has the Brad Stevens brand; something like prep school meets-intelligence-meets fun-meets New England-meets basketball and it just is working.
Friday night the Celtics became the first team in 54 tries to defeat the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
The C’s currently hold the sixth-seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and would face the Miami Heat in a very winnable seven-game opening-round playoff series.
And what is more is, everyone has waited on the Celtics to get their superstar, to get their big draft pick. That has not happened yet. Stevens is doing it with the no names, or relative no-names the same way he did it on the north side of Indianapolis a few years back.
He’s doing it with Amri Johnson, and two Ohio State college basketball stars, who played under his old boss Thad Matta. It was Matta who gave Stevens his start in coaching. First as the director of basketball operations and then eventually taking over for Matta when Thad went to the Buckeye state. Two former Buckeyes Jared Sullinger and Evan Turner are making it happen for the C’s-along with Marcus Smart and 5″9 scrapper by the name of Isaiah Thomas who played for two other franchises other than the Celtics in his somewhat brief NBA career and now is the guy at point guard.
None the less, here comes Boston and would you be surprised if Stevens took this team for a deep run in the NBA’s post-season tournament?