Posted on 30 March 2011.
VIDEO | Basketball team gets warm welcome at Hinkle
Butler men’s basketball upsets Florida; advances to Final Four
Photo Gallery | Bulldogs celebrate Florida upset
Many basketball fans around the country have been wondering how Butler made it back to the Final Four this year, especially without Gordon Hayward.
The answer lies within comic book lore.
Before Clark Kent stepped into a phone booth to quickly become Superman, he took off his glasses.
Every morning before driving to Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse, Butler head coach Brad Stevens puts his on.
A costume and profession separate the two personas of Clark Kent and Superman.
Being on and off the court separates Stevens from his two personalities—the smiling father figure and the animated, intense coach.
Stevens, like Superman, has become a prominent figure in the popular culture of his day.
Stevens’ new eye glasses seem to be the symbol of his power, or rather success on the court.
Ever since a mishap with contacts forced Stevens to leave the last regular season game early, he’s been wearing glasses.
In the minds of many, there’s no coincidence that the Bulldogs have been undefeated in single-elimination tournament play since the switch.
Such success has inspired a #FearTheGlasses hash tag on Twitter and a “Wear Glasses in Support of Brad Stevens and the Bulldogs Day” this Friday.
Players on the team gave perspective on the spectacles.
“He’s already a smart guy, but they make him look smarter,” junior guard Ronald Nored said. “They fit the mold.”
That mold is one of an academic, math-savvy guy.
“He does a really great job of analyzing statistics,” Nored said. “There’s no one in the country that pays closer attention to the details than him.”
Sophomore center Andrew Smith said Stevens was book smart and shared knowledge with the team on a daily basis.
“The first thing I think of when I think of [Stevens] is how he always comes into practice with a new quote from some book we’ve never heard of,” Smith said. “He has one of the best minds I’ve ever encountered.”
That mind is a superstitious one, which is why Stevens has not yet sought out new contacts.
“I know he’s not going to take them off this year because we haven’t lost since he started wearing them,” Nored said.
Stevens confirmed Nored’s hunch, saying that he would not switch to contact lenses right now, even if the doctor told him it was necessary.
Smith and senior Grant Leiendecker gave further insight into Stevens’ superstitious nature.
“We’ve been having the same pre-game meal—spaghetti, chicken, baked potato, garlic bread, fruit salad—for I don’t even know how long,” Smith said.
“We’ll stay in the same hotels if we won while we were there,” Leiendecker said, “Or not go back to a restaurant if a loss followed a meal there.
“He’s superstitious until the day he dies.”
Senior forward Matt Howard knows a thing or two about being superstitious. His less-than-attractive mustache gained national attention during the 2010 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championships, but he assures all that it will not be making an appearance in 2011.
“This is the time in life that we all try weird things, but I think the mustache reflected poorly on my teammates,” Howard said. ”No one can tell me it was good look. That’s how I feel and how other people should feel.”
Howard said the comparison to Clark Kent and Superman may have something to it, but he’s not convinced yet.
“All I know right now is that [Stevens] no longer has watery eyes or vision problems,” Howard said. “The glasses do make him look more intelligent and about two years younger.”
So what do eye wear and Saturday’s game have in common? Virginia Commonwealth head coach Shaka Smart doesn’t wear glasses.
OTHER WAYS TO “FEAR THE GLASSES”
Click and drag the photo montage to see Brad Stevens sporting other infamous spectacles
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