Just last week, the Boston Celtics made the choice to name Butler Bulldogs head coach Brad Stevens to their open vacancy, effectively replacing Doc Rivers. Stevens, who is just 36 years old, becomes the youngest head coach in the NBA and he brings with him a track record at Butler that needs no explanation.
Since taking over the Bulldogs’ program in 2007, Stevens has guided Butler to two National Championship appearances and basically put the Bulldogs on the national radar in college basketball. From the Horizon League to the Atlantic 10 Conference, Butler has continued to climb under Stevens and now the university finds itself preparing for its first season as a member of the Big East — talk about leading a program forward.
So how can Butler possibly replace Stevens? Well, they can’t.
They promoted assistant coach Brandon Miller to the head spot, marking the fourth such internal promotion in a row for the university. Let’s face facts though — the last one worked out pretty well in Butler’s favor. The Bulldogs’ athletic department is making the right decision by promoting from within and thanks to both the past work of Miller and Stevens, Butler is still in fine shape moving forward.
If you are going to write off Butler because Stevens is gone, you will be mistaken.
The Bulldogs must replace their top two leading scorers from a season ago in both Rotnei Clarke and Andrew Smith, but aside of that, the team is welcoming back most of its top contributors — including sophomore sharpshooter Kellen Dunham, who could be poised for a breakout season with Clarke now moving on.
The key to Butler’s success, not only in their first season as a member of the Big East, but down the line as well, is their freshman class. A four man group of Nolan Berry, Rene Castro, Andrew Chrabascz, and Elijah Brown gives Butler plenty of talent to work with moving forward.
Miller faces the tough task of replacing Stevens on the sidelines, but in all, he should have a Bulldogs squad that can compete within the upper half of the newly restructured Big East Conference.
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