Comparing Brad Stevens to Mark Few is a big insult to Stevens.
Comparing Brad Stevens to Mark Few is a big insult to Stevens.
I mean Stevens is 13 years younger, we really need to understand that. He has only been at Butler for 5 years and he already has two more final four appearances than Few's 0. Few has made 4 Sweet 16's, so Stevens is almost there on that and I think he could likely claim number 3 this year.
Stevens is the best coach in college basketball right now. I firmly believe that. I have a lot of faith in Crean and Stevens toyed with him. Stevens has also toyed with Roy Williams already this season.
Their two losses were against Illinois when finally Butler's talent gap and fatigue could not be closed by Stevens game plan, and to Xavier who unfortunately for Stevens also loves to play his brand of basketball.
Butler's talent level the back to back national title games was firmly mediocre, especially the second time. I don't say that to be cruel because those kids played their butts off, but it is what it is. The same is true of this year's team IMO, but Stevens just puts these kids in the perfect spot to succeed Roosevelt Jones is the perfect example of this, Stevens gets him the ball in the correct spot every single time he runs a play for him.
Texas's complacency with Mack Brown and Rick Barnes really legitimately baffles me. They're probably the richest athletic department in the country by a large margin, have all the positives in the world, and are just cool with being the giant that gets made fun of.
Do you think there's any scenario where we keep Stevens the full length of his career?
Butler has to figure out why they can't sell out Hinkle on a consistent basis. This should not be a hard thing to do and for some reason they struggle to fill that upper deck pretty regularly.
I think Stevens would love to stay, the only school I think he would leave for without a doubt if the opportunity presented itself is IU because he grew up an Indiana fan, but at the moment I don't see Crean leaving anytime in the near future unless things go way off track.
Brush's scenario of an offer you can't refuse from Texas is interesting and I think that's absolutely what it would take to even get Stevens on the phone, but then you are talking about big deals like that the coaching search could include other folks besides Stevens. I mean there is not being motivated by the money and then there are scenarios where you would be financially irresponsible to not take the deal. But Texas? I don't know, it would really change his recruiting venue, but maybe that wouldn't matter to him.
Stevens to Duke to replace Coach K has always been everyone's favorite scenario and I have to admit I think it would be tough for him to pass up if Butler couldn't match the money. I also look at Boeheim and think Syracuse would make a big time run for Stevens as well. The fact is this though, whether Stevens will stay or won't, it is going to be a constant fear Butler fans will have to live with until they can pay him the same amount of money as these big schools.
Historically, guys staying at small schools are the exceptions, not the rule. Mark Few is so often referenced in discussions like this not because he's won multiple national titles or anything like that (heck, like I pointed out Brad has the better resume at this point), but because he's really just about the only guy to do it. (Win big at a mid sized program and stay there for an extended period of time.)
The other interesting thing in all of this is that Shaka Smart is viewed on a national level in a similar way to Stevens. They will likely be 1a and 1b on every major schools call list until one of them leaves. There is also that additional variable.
It's actually kind of interesting. I can't really remember the last time two mid major coaches were both young and highly coveted. I don't know that it has ever really happened.
The ideal scenario for Indiana basketball fans is that Stevens stays at Butler and continues to build what he is building there and we get a great modern day rivalry between IU and Butler. There was an article about this on ESPN the other day and it definitely painted an awesome picture so I would love for this to happen.
To keep him, Butler has to become Duke midwest IMO, which then you have to ask, what od you have to do to become that? I guess the logical answer is that you have to win a title. Duke turned itself into a national brand and Butler is still mentioned with Gonzaga or Xavier way more than you hear them mentioned as a Duke in the making and that is with back to back national title appearances.
So yeah, Butler has to become a national brand and hated by a lot of people to keep Brad Stevens I guess is what I am saying if you compile all my thughts. I think Brad would love to stay, but there could be a lot of good jobs opening up in the next couple years, like I said Duke, Syracuse, UCLA if Howland is canned. What if Cal goes to the NBA? Doesn't UK come for Stevens too? I wouldn't want to be a Butler fan during this it's going to be very stressful, but it's also pretty awesome that you have a coach that pretty much any fan base in America would immediately go "yeah I'd take him" if someone said your coach was gone tomorrow and you had to hire someone new.
Like Brush said, sounds like we'd be much better off growing and increasing revenue rapidly . . . rather than just hoping Stevens always likes it here enough to overlook what he could be earning.
That we can't sell out Hinkle makes me think that the sports dept is poorly managed at some level . . . that's pretty sad really.
I mean it is cheap to go to a Butler bball game and a lot of fun. They are in a pretty big city and they should be able to capitalize on that. Even if you are not getting all "butler" fans you should be able to ge tpeople who just want something fun to do on a cold winter night in Indy. Maybe it's just not in the budget to market, maybe the change to the A10 and perhaps to the new big east will have a big impact on this. I don't know, but it's a major, major hurdle.
And like you said, if you want to keep Stevens, you have to do it now. Not later IMO.
I mean honeslty look at some of the best coaches in America, I already mentioned that Duke, Cuse, and UCLA could all be coming up soon.
But Roy Williams isn't exactly a spring chicken at UNC either, Izzo at MSU, I could see Izzo transitioning to like an AD role at MSU too. There could be some good jobs with deep pockets opening. Butler has to get going on growing their pot of gold ASAP.
But you would need someone equally special on the business end of things to grow it alongside him . . . and if we can't even capture the Indy market, well then that's certainly discouraging. Inexcusable.
Ahem, where were we...Butler? Oh yes. It is odd that is not sold out all the time. Is it a reflection on the small size? That people generally find there style of play boring? That everyone hopped back on the IU bandwagon?
Butler will start selling out frequently next year when Hinkle is reduced in size. It'll be around 8,000. I do understand why it doesn't always sell out. Butler is great but there are so many games against Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Illinois-Chicago, and Wright State that people can stomach. It'll be different with the A-10 and Catholic 7 in a few years.
Another big reason why is the lack of local alumni.
I agree the main problem with attendance, which isn't nearly as bad as it is being portrayed (hell, it was mostly full for the IUPUI game on Tuesday night and that's one of the worst teams I've ever seen), was the schedule. It's always packed to the brim when a good opponent is on the schedule. Getting out of the Horizon Conference will alleviate most of those issues. Getting into the Big East should solve the rest.
The thing about Stevens that impresses me besides that his teams are nearly always elite at being of the most physical and defensively sound teams in the nation is that he wins with non-top tier guys. In that regard, he's a bit like Tom Izzo (although Izzo still gets more McDonalds HS Americans and prospects than Stevens gets). Would a jump to a power conference like a new Big East help in that regard? Sure, Stevens would probably get some Cody Zeller types that would be successful and gel into any system. However, I'm not sure it would drastically improve things. He's still going to be highly selective in getting "his" type of guys aka the Butler way type of prospects.
Speaking of attendance, the Gonzaga game is already sold-out and the Evansville game looks to be very crowded, probably around 9,000 without students. That's impressive.
Butler recruiting is already getting better. Not McDonald's All-Americans but Butler has 2 Rivals150 commits for 2013 and are seriously in it for Trevon Blueitt and Shane Hall in 2014.
Proud of the crowd and the performance today. Roosevelt Jones is a fullback playing basketball and has the touch to match the strength. Kellen Dunham really stepped up, and he has clearly worked on his game outside of 3s. Andrew Smith and Rotnei Clarke were great, keeping up the trend. Turnovers were a big problem, but a lot of those were uncharacteristic charges and great D from Evansville. The near-sellout crowd was great too. At a TV timeout Barry Collier came out and had everyone stand & started sitting people down by their first time being at Hinkle. "If your first game was in the 12 years, sit down" "If your first game was in the 90s, sit down" and when it got to the 20s, there was one little old lady who had been to Hinkle Fieldhouse in the 1920s. That was really cool.
I saw Park Tudor star Trevon Bluiett at the game as well. He'd be a massive pickup for this team. Biggest recruit in Butler history.