It seemed to matter deeply to the 19,000-plus souls crammed into available space for this event. This was taut competition, not least for the men pacing the sideline, the animation of Stevens and Indiana coach Tom Crean underscoring the grind. When the Hoosiers' irreplaceable star, Cody Zeller, drove hard on the baseline and got body-checked in the air for his efforts, Stevens grinned and applauded the hard foul from his bench. On the other end, Crean was not amused.
"Oh, yeah, you like that?" he bellowed. "Make sure they make a play on the ball!"
And so it went, reflective of the game's tenor, each coach desperately trying to hoarse-collar calls. Exasperated by whistles in Zeller's favor after Roosevelt Jones picked up his fourth foul, Stevens held an extended audience with referee Mike Kitts. As Kitts trotted down toward the Indiana bench, Crean playfully played the good cop. "I don't treat you like that," the Hoosiers coach cooed, even tossing Kitts a towel to wipe down a damp spot on the floor.
Even more exasperated when center Andrew Smith picked up his fourth foul while checking Zeller, Stevens picked up his zingers. "Keep protecting him!" the Butler coach said. "Make him some more money!"
Doesn't that just sound like a guy who enjoys playing the underdog? He's the nerdy kid who knows (or thinks he knows) he's better than everyone at something people don't expect him to be good at, and tries to show up the "big boys" whenever he can. Sounds like he coaches with a chip on his shoulder like "You think you are better than me because I coach at Butler?".
You can't play that role at a place like Indiana or Duke. The latter being where I think he is most likely to end up.
An interesting discussion was brought up on another message board I post on. How does the way he builds a team translate to a blue blood school?
Stevens clearly has a style. He recruits these tough-nosed, 4 year guys, who play his system. I realize much of that is because he's at Butler and he doesn't have much of a choice. He also recruited Cody Zeller (a blue chipper).
But that doesn't change the fact that at a blue blood school you have the opportunity, and are expected, to go after the top kids in the class, within reason. Essentially he would have to compromise and adjust his philosophy to try and find the right median to implement potential one and done NBA talents with whatever he tries to do at Butler.
As a fan of a program who gets negative recruiting against his coach because of a "team philosophy" my coach runs, it's a lot harder to land those recruits than you might think.
How would Stevens adjust to a Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker? Because it wouldn't be the other way around.
Last edited by IGotACoolStory : 12-16-2012 at 08:43 PM.