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In their words: Butler coach, players, officials talk on Big East move

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Stevens isn't letting new league be a distraction

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 - 8:11 pm

LEXINGTON - Several people connected to the move of Butler, Xavier and Creighton to the Big East Conference addressed the media on Wednesday.

Here is what those affected had to say:

Butler men's basketball coach Brad Stevens

"I stand by our administration and certainly think it's a great, long-term move for Butler. And you know, the one thing that always you think about when you're in my shoes is certainly (that) it's great moving forward and it's such a neat thing for the athletic program and for the school.

"I also felt that way about the A-10, and I really like the A-10. I thought it was a great league, extremely well run, terrific leadership, terrific teams, but when you look at the big picture, I completely agree that it was the right move, moving forward.

"You're excited about that. That being said, all I've done for the last couple of months, as all this chatter has been happening, is ask that I just am allowed to coach our team. And so that's all I've focused on. I haven't had any conversations with President Danko in the last two or three weeks. I've talked to (athletic director Barry Collier) really briefly. Both of them just said 'Hey, do the best job you can coachign your team.' And I appreciated that, because to be real candid, it was a lot easier to say I don't know the last couple of weeks than - because I'm not in the middle of those conversations - and obviously it would have been a distraction to our team.

"It's great for the young guys. Right now, it would be wrong of me to focus on that and not the seniors and their opportunities moving forward here with this season."

Butler senior center Andrew Smith

"Obviously, I'm happy for the guys who will be here and I know that it will be fun for them. But at this time, we're all just trying to focus on this season and we're not trying to get too carried away with all that yet.

"It doesn't really concern us right now. It has no impact on this game tomorrow."

Atlantic 10 Conference Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade

“I wish Xavier University and Butler University all the best in their new conference. They are two outstanding universities with outstanding people; our partnership has been mutually beneficial and successful. As a longtime strong A-10 member, Xavier's departure is unfortunate. Butler's departure is a by-product of the chaotic conference realignment environment. BU's association with the A-10 has been a fun ride this year; no regrets from the Atlantic 10 for providing a home for them during the 2012-13 season.

“As a conference, we anticipated this move and are prepared to proactively move forward. The A-10 is strong – we have 16 basketball teams participating in the postseason and will focus on them right now. NCAA Postseason is an exciting time not to be overshadowed by conference realignment.

“Lastly I would like to acknowledge both presidents: Rev. Michael Graham and James Danko for their cooperation and professionalism in their management of this issue. It has been an honor to work with and for them.”

Butler University president James Danko

“Joining the Big East is an unprecedented opportunity for Butler and represents an ideal fit for us—academically, athletically, and geographically.

"Butler's increased national prominence will create new opportunities not only for student-athletes. But for our entire student body and for our alumni, while increasing the value of a Butler degree.”

Butler University vice president and director of athletics Barry Collier

“This new opportunity to compete against Big East universities—which have a rich tradition of excellence across a wide range of sports—will enhance the Butler experience for all our student-athletes."