The world of Butler basketball is spinning out of control for Bulldogs coach Brad Stevens. And that is a good thing.
Over the past three days, Stevens has had a vested interest in the NBA Draft for the second consecutive summer, and for the third time in three years he's watched one of his players (Khyle Marshall this year) be selected to represent the United States in international play.
Stevens, too, will represent the United States in the World University Games in China as an assistant coach in August.
A lot is happening with the Bulldogs, and it's not even basketball season.
“My wife (Tracy) refers to this as the ‘new normal,'” Stevens said.
It's not typical for a Horizon League program to have to pay close attention to the NBA Draft, but as the college basketball world has discovered, Butler is an atypical program.
“All of this shows that we had a heck of a team with a lot of individuals that really embraced their roles,” Sevens said.
Butler junior Shelvin Mack was selected with the 34th pick by the Washington Wizards in Thursday's draft, and Stevens feels that is a nice fit for the 6-foot-3 combo guard.
“Washington sounds like a great fit,” Stevens said. “There was some need there for a player like Shelvin, and I know that he felt really excited about going there.”
Having been selected in the second round, Mack doesn't have the luxury of a guaranteed contract. But Stevens doesn't believe that will have a negative impact on his former player.
“That will be determined by how it all works out in Washington,” Stevens said. “There are all kinds of factors that determine whether a player makes it or not. You see guys taken in the later part of the first round and in three or four years they are done. Then there are other guys taken in the second round that really stand out and end up having great careers.”
Another former Butler player who Stevens believes “will have a great career” is Matt Howard. The senior forward was not selected in the draft, but again, the Butler coach sees a positive where others may not.
“I talked to Matt before the draft and with the possibility of the (NBA) lockout and his maybe having to go overseas to play,” Stevens said, “maybe it's a good thing to have all of your options open and not be tied to just one team.”
Howard just finished what many Butler fans regard as the most successful career in program history. But despite that, no NBA teams saw the need to have Howard.
“I know a lot of the second round is about picking a player for what they can become,” Stevens said. “But with Matt, you have to look at how he affects a team winning. I know very few – if any – people in college basketball had the impact that he did. You have to look past that maybe he's smaller than your typical power forward and look a little deeper into him and why he accomplished what he did.”