Coach Stevens: Butler move to Big East should bring stability
For the second time in two years, the Bulldogs have switched leagues. On Monday, they officially left the Atlantic 10 and became a member of the newly formed Big East.
Some things haven't changed inside Hinkle. As 160 basketball campers wrapped up their daily workouts, coach Brad Stevens barked instructions to the camp counselors and then to the campers themselves to line up for roll call.
But all around them there were signs of change - from the Big East banner hanging in the rafters to newly painted words at both free-throw lines on the court.
Eyewitness Sports remarked to Coach Stevens that it was a little strange walking into Hinkle Fieldhouse and seeing the Big East banner.
"It's probably more strange for you because you've been coming here a lot longer than I have," Stevens said to WTHR Sports Director Dave Calabro. "You were a student here and you have a great feel for this place. It's a neat day. We're excited to build on it. We've known it was coming so it's a little bit of that formal thing. I think it's good to move forward and it's a good thing for the long term."
Stevens explained why joining the Big East is a big deal for Butler.
"One of the things that you're looking for in all of this, and I know it sounds crazy with the shuffling and realignment going on, is stability. This offers a great potential for stability. The reason I say that is because you have ten schools that are private schools that are very like-minded in a lot of their approach and the way they do things. But also, basketball is their major revenue producer and I think that that certainly...it's not a basketball league because there's a ton of other sports that are gonna compete at a high, high level in this league but certainly from a revenue standpoint it's a basketball-centric league. It's a great opportunity for Butler and I think it's a great opportunity for the other nine schools and it should be a lot of fun," he said.
The move also puts Butler in some amazing markets. The competition should be interesting!
"You're playing games in your league in Chicago; you're playing in Milwaukee, you're playing in Cincinnati. Now you go - obviously east - to D.C., to Providence, the Boston area, to New York City, to Philly. There's not very many people that have played in bigger markets than our guys," said the coach.
We asked Stevens - who's led his team to the Final Four twice before the jump to the Big East - what that means for recruiting.
"It's not football so you're not trying to recruit 50 guys to a class; you're still only trying to get three or four guys; it's gotta start here and it's gotta branch out after that. That's what we'll continue to do. One of the things that we've found is there's great awareness and hopefully this move along with our commitment to renovating this place - which is already moving along - is gonna help us continue to help us do that well," he said.
As for summer vacation? He's looking forward to it, but that's nowhere in Brad Stevens' near future.
"We're finishing up our camps; we head out on the recruiting trail and then our team goes to Australia Aug. 3 through the 14th. Maybe a little bit after that. It's been busy - maybe as busy as any summer we've had," he said.