Stevens selected as USA assistant

Butler men’s basketball head coach Brad Stevens has accomplished more in four years than many do in a career.

The 34-year-old head coach has been the Horizon League Coach of the Year twice, earned the best Division I coaching record in the first three seasons (89-15), recorded his 100th career win faster than all but five Division I coaches and led the Bulldogs to the 2010 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Chmpionship.

He can now add another distinction to that list: being named an assistant coach of the 2011 USA Men’s World University Games team.

Stevens was selected Jan. 20 for the job by the USA Basketball Junior National Team Committee.

The World University Games will be held Aug. 12-23, in Shenzhen, China. The U.S. team will compete for a gold medal against opponents from all over the world.

Basketball Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim is the head of the committee that selected Stevens as a coach.

“Brad Stevens and Cuonzo Martin—another assistant for the World University Games team—are two of the best young head coaches in NCAA basketball,” Boeheim said.

“I was honored and humbled to be selected,” Stevens said. “I thought I might be getting a call [to be a coach] this year after they had me as a court coach last year.

“I’m looking forward to it and I think [being selected to the staff] will hit me as we get further along.”

Stevens will work alongside Martin, Missouri State’s head coach, and Matt Painter, Purdue’s head coach, who were named assistant and head coaches for the team, respectively.

“I’m excited to work with them,” Stevens said. “They come from the same background, they’ve coached together and they do things the right way.

“I respect both of them and it will be good to take in the experience.”

Stevens, who has been involved with Butler basketball since the 2000-01 season, isn’t sure how his experiences with the Bulldogs would help him in China.

“I don’t know what they’ll want me to do,” Stevens said. “I’ll do whatever Matt wants me to do and I’ll assist him as I can.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Stevens is confident that his time spent working for the World University Games team will be beneficial to him as a coach.

“There’s no doubt [the experience] will help,” he said. “Spending 23 days watching, coaching and scouting basketball in August, when most coaches are at home recharging their batteries, will be an unbelievable opportunity.”

A training camp will be held July 30-Aug. 8 to select 12 players for the team’s roster.

With that in mind, Stevens believes there is a key difference in how he, Painter and Cuonzo will have to coach the team.

“We really need to emphasize what the players have to do,” Stevens said. “We’re only going to be together for three and a half weeks, so we have to be solid [as a team].”

With all of the success that Stevens has attained, one might think that he would sit back and take some time to pat himself on the back.

But that’s not Stevens way.

“I’ve never really taken the time to rank my accomplishments,” Stevens said.

Stevens also realizes there is some time between now and his trip to China. When he gets there, however, he expects to be hard at work more often than not.

“I haven’t looked at where the games will be,” Stevens said. “I’ve never been to China and I’m looking forward to going there, but I’m guessing there won’t be any time for things outside of coaching.”

In the end, Stevens, whose contract with Butler lasts through the 2021-22 season, knows where his priorities lie.

“I’ll worry about [the World University Games] later,” Stevens said. “I’m focusing on this team [Butler] 110 percent right now.”