Brad Stevens misses Bulls game to be with former player struggling to hang on in fight vs cancer

Fox Sports:
Brad Stevens has always preached family first, and he backed up those words with action Thursday when he's skipped the Boston Celtics' game against the Bulls to visit a former Butler player of his... former Bulldog Andrew Smith, a member of the 2010 and 2011 Final Four teams under Stevens who is in a deep fight against cancer.

Despite all the pressures and demands of being an NBA head coach, Stevens has always preached to the Celtics that there are things in life more important than basketball.

"He makes it very clear to our players on a day-to-day basis that family is the most important," Larranaga said. "The things they're able to do away from the court ... are so much more important than what happens on the court."

Stevens proving once again that no matter how great he is as a coach, he's an even better person. The fact that Stevens considers former players like family says a ton. Stevens continues to do a fantastic job with the Celtics. He didn't get dealt the best cards this season being overloaded with big men in a now small ball league. Yet despite a mismatched roster and the Celtics failing to add a star in their rebuilding effort, he has still led them to a winning record this season in an improved Eastern Conference.

If Danny can unload some of the excess pieces, so that Stevens can play more small ball and have a tighter rotation, expect the C's to go on another 2nd half surge. And as much as Stevens would love that, he'd trade that for his former player surviving the fight of his life. That's the type of person you want leading your team.

I'll leave you with the words of Smith's wife: