Because of his success at Butler University, including leading the Bulldogs to consecutive national title games in 2010 and 2011, Brad Stevens has been linked to potential college openings since he took the Celtics job four years ago.
But with college openings beginning to pop up as that season concludes, Stevens maintained Wednesday that he has no interest in leaving the Celtics and is committed to Boston long-term.
“Nobody calls,” Stevens said, referring to universities with job openings. “The only thing people usually call me for is to ask questions about candidates. Everybody has a pretty good idea of where I stand, and I think ultimately I’m going to be here. I think that’s pretty well known.”
Indiana lost in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament to Georgia Tech on Tuesday, leaving coach Tom Crean’s status uncertain. Many Indiana fans have had visions of Stevens returning to his home state and taking over the program, one that has been inconsistent since the departure of Bobby Knight in 2000. The Hoosiers have been to one Final Four in the last 24 years (2002).
Stevens, meanwhile, said he isn’t annoyed by the rumors or the attention.
“I think it’s all flattering, but it’s certainly flattering to ever be considered, because there aren’t that many jobs out there,” he said. “But at the same time, I’m really flattered to be here and thankful to be here.”
The Celtics will not practice or play a game on Thursday, but Stevens will still have his eye on basketball. His former team, No. 4-seeeded Butler, will face No. 13 Winthrop in an NCAA Tournament first-round game at 1:30 p.m.
“I feel like I lived a lifetime with just the 13 years in the college game,” Stevens said. “I’m happy for what I had a chance to experience. I don’t reminisce too much about it, but I relish the opportunities and certainly the people I did it with.”
Back in town
Guerschon Yabusele, who was selected by the Celtics with the 16th pick of last year’s draft, has returned to Boston after finishing his season in China. The French-born forward attended Wednesday night’s game.
“It definitely feels good to be here with these guys,” Yabusele said. “I played with some guys in summer league. But yes, it feels really good. I’m happy to be here.”
Yabusele averaged 20.9 points and 9.4 rebounds for the Shanghai Sharks this season. He injured his left ankle in Game 4 of the team’s season-ending playoff series and said he will be evaluated before he decides whether to play for the Maine Red Claws this spring.
Yabusele said the decision to play in China this year was beneficial.
“Offensively I play on the post-up, still have my 3-point shot, and just play with confidence and do my best,” he said. “Yes, my 3-point shot is better. Offensively. I’m good. I have a lot of confidence and I’m just ready to play.”
Yabusele, who said he could be compared with Warriors All-Star Draymond Green, said he is now focused on playing for the Celtics next season. He is expected to join the team’s loaded summer league team in July, but he will have to make a strong impression to find a spot on the final roster in the fall. There is a chance Yabusele could remain overseas for another year.
“I hope I can just make the team and play with those guys,” Yabusele said, “and I’m ready for it.”
Yabusele said he was able to watch Celtics games online while living in China.
“They’ve been doing very great,” he said. “They’ve had an incredible season, so it was really great, and fun to watch them play.”