Butler Basketball

Brad Stevens: What Makes Butler Head Man the Best Coach in College Basketball

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04:  Head coach Brad Stevens of the Butler Bulldogs claps from the sidelines against the Connecticut Huskies during the National Championship Game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at Reliant Stadium on April 4, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Derek GerberichCorrespondent IJanuary 22, 2013

Adding yet another addition to the growing Brad Stevens legend, Butler pulled off a magical victory over Gonzaga on Saturday night.

Ho hum. Don't look now, but the are a fresh 16-2 (including three top 10 victories) and ranked No. 9 in the country. 

That's nothing new for the best coach in college basketball.

Yes, you heard me. Brad Stevens is the best coach in NCAA Men's Division I Basketball.

No question.

For starters, let's take a look at his recruits. It's these guys who he has managed to turn into legitimate title contenders, year in and year out.

Over his tenure, Stevens has produced just two 4-star recruits. Count 'em. Khyle Marshall and Kellen Dunham. That's two. 

Duke bypasses 4-star recruits like Tom Brady does a lost penny on the street. For Butler, a 4-star recruit comes around a handful of times per decade.

Some critics would argue this point. Sure, Butler hasn't got the recruits in the past they say, but Stevens is sure reeling in the players now.

But is he?

Let's look at Butler's 2013 recruiting class.

Three middling 3-star recruits. Not a single player ranked higher than 35th at his position.

Sounds to me like Butler is just raking in the prospects.

The catch is though, that Stevens is raking in his prospects. It's the less-hyped recruits—well-rounded individuals who will buy into "The Butler Way."

The kids come to Butler believing in the system and believing in Brad Stevens.

And then a funny thing happens.

Stevens gets them to believe in themselves.

Because to be downright honest with you, Roosevelt Jones is not in the same planet as Archie Goodwin. Same could be said about Khyle Marshall and Alex Poythress.

But remind me, where is Kentucky ranked again?

Point being, is that Butler isn't even on the same planet (talent-wise) as a team like Kentucky. But it  performs like it is.

What's the trick?

Stevens, naturally.

It goes back to the belief. The magical gift that Stevens possesses is his innate ability to instill confidence in the young men who play for him.

He doesn't tear them down, crushing them for their inevitable mistakes. Rather, he takes a calm approach. Focuses on the positive plays. Corrects tactfully. 

In Division I men's basketball, the difference between a good player and a great player comes down to one thing. 

Confidence.

Plus, just to cap everything off, the best part of Butler's most recent win was Stevens' reaction.

Watch it below.

Arms folded. Head down. Good game, Coach Few. Better luck next time.

Just another day in the life of Brad Stevens.

Ho hum.

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