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Stevens celebrates an NCAA tournament win with the Butler Bulldogs in 2011.

The day after the Celtics fell to the Clippers in Los Angeles, Brad Stevens did a phone interview on ESPN Radio's Russillo & Kanell show.  Ryen Russillo asked Stevens if he prefers coaching in the NBA rather than college.  Stevens didn't exactly say "yes":

Russillo: When I talk to other NBA people about you [they say] 'Brad is an NBA guy. He loves this, he's addicted to it.' ... What is it about the NBA, is it fair for me to say you enjoy it more than when you were a college head coach?

Stevens: I will say this, I really enjoy college and all that goes with it. There's always the discussion of the schedule in the NBA is a lot longer, the 82 games truly is a grind. Obviously all of the challenges that come with coaching in the NBA, talking about the players that you're coaching against and everything else, but I think the biggest thing is I really enjoy those challenges. I enjoy the opportunities to compete against Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan rolling down the lane and how the heck you're going to get back out to [JJ] Redick and [Jamal] Crawford on the weak side...

There's all these little challenges every single day that I really enjoy and I really enjoy working with our guys as they try to grow into the best version of themselves. We've only got one 29-year-old on our roster, it's really a group that is growing into what they can ultimately become and to play a small roll in that process is very fun. But it was really fun in college too. One of the things that I've learned is I just like coaching. I like being around guys and I like the process of growing a team. But the challenges in the NBA are just incredible and every single day when you let your guard down for a minute you're in trouble.

The last line of Stevens' quote looks worse when you read it that it actually was (listen here at the six-minute mark).  The Celtics coach was implying that he embraces the opportunity to solve the challenges the NBA presents and prove he's up to the task.  However, this is definitely not the answer of someone who clearly prefers his current gig to his previous one.

Stevens could've began his reply with something like "Absolutely, I love being an NBA head coach," but he didn't.  He started by saying how much he enjoyed his time in college and even circled back to that thought again later.  Not only that, but Steven's explanation of what he likes about coaching in the NBA was also a description of how hard it is.

Before we start freaking out about the possibility of him going back to the NCAA, there are three things I think are important to note:

1. Stevens is a very analytical guy with a brain geared towards problem-solving, so Celtics fans shouldn't be that surprised or discouraged to hear him say it's the part of his job he likes best.

2. He's also someone who always makes an effort not to offend anyone.  Stevens obviously places great value on his time at Butler and the relationships he built there, so clearly he was being careful not to say anything negative about his experience.

3. We may have to give Stevens a pass for feeling sentimental about his days as a college coach on the eve of the Final Four.  It was exactly five years ago that his Bulldogs accomplished one of the most amazing feats in the history of sports--reaching back-to-back NCAA title games out of the Horizon League.

Regardless, I'd be a lot happier if Stevens had just raved about how much he loves being the head coach of the Celtics instead.




Follow Mark Vandeusen on Twitter @LucidSportsFan

Mark Van Deusen 3/30/2016 02:02:00 PM Edit
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