A reasonable person would assume that a coach that can take a team with a fraction of the resources of its competitors to the NCAA Championship game, would be worth investing in, then again there are those who would argue it’s a dicey risk. Read more.
To me, it’s like the first time you kissed a girl, you just kinda have to go for it. That’s what the Butler brass felt when they extended Butler Coach Stevens’s contract over the course of the next decade. Like kissing a girl or going two slot, it’s a gamble. If you win the rewards are endless, and sadly a gamble that if you lose, well, disastrous.
But hey, isn’t that what investing is all about?
The way I see it, Coach Stevens at age 33 has already accomplished more than most coaches getting paid a shitload more than him have ever accomplished and perhaps ever will. I can’t remember the last time Gonzaga was in National Championship game. Sure, Butler is a small school, but that championship run was no fluke and that team was no joke. When you really look at what they were able to accomplish, to me, it looks like the handy work of a genius coach. Young and balling out, good for Stevens, we appreciate that sort of thing on this side.
Steven’s defensive schemes and philosophy is the reason Butler was as solid as they were. If not Stevens, then he has a wizard on his coaching staff, whatever the case, his game plans and strategies against every team Butler faced were solid.
It’s a defense that causes turnovers, but doesn’t force them. It’s a defense that is based on position and correct hand posture for steals, it’s a defense that rotates to perfection and challenges every shot, and forces teams to make plays to score. It’s not something that only highly talented blue chip players have, every collegiate basketball player can be instructed to play like that, especially when Brad Stevens gets to handpick his guys. Isn’t Coach Stevens following in the foot steps trail blazed by a young Indiana coach years ago with a fiery temper and white hair? He doesn’t the same raw energy as Knight, but he’s got his players motivated.
I see the rise of Butler similar to when Gonzaga started to make major noise on the College scene in 1999, when crazy Casey Calvary tipped it in with change left on the clock to beat Florida, en route to the Elite Eight.
The only difference is, I don’t think this Butler program will ever be called Cinderella.