Pregame Post-Ups: Beilein Sought Stevens' Advice on NBA Transition

Sunday, Oct. 13 - Cavaliers at Celtics

Pregame – Beilein Sought Stevens' Advice on NBA Transition

BOSTON – As longtime University of Michigan men’s basketball coach John Beilein was looking to move on from the NCAA to the NBA last season, he sought out advice from a friend of his who had already made the same move in a successful manner. Before earning the Cleveland Cavaliers head coaching job this offseason, Beilein reached out to Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who had made a fairly seamless transition from Butler University to Boston six years prior.

That conversation was brought up during Stevens’ pre-game press conference Sunday afternoon ahead of his first NBA matchup against Beilein and the Cavs, and Stevens shared fond memories of his peer.

“He’s a great coach,” Stevens said of Beilein before their preseason tip-off at TD Garden. “He does a lot of fun things, a lot of cool things, and he’s a great person. We served on a lot of committees in the NCAA. I’ve said this about many people, but when you were recruiting against John Beilein you knew you were in for a fair fight, a real fight, and he was going to do it the right way. I have a lot of respect for John, a heck of a coach.

“My advice was not anything out of the norm. Just that the schedule is a lot harder and the summer is a lot better. That’s all I had for advice.”

One of the reasons why Stevens felt that Beilein wouldn't need much guidance was the fact that Beilein had already been in a head coaching role for more than 40 years. He starting his head coaching career in 1975, one year before Stevens was born.

“He’s done this a lot longer than I have,” Stevens said. “I mean, he was a head coach for 20 years by the time he was my age now. So, this guy had never been an assistant and he’s been doing it a long time. He’ll be a lot quicker than I was.

“I think the whole first season was a learning experience from the standpoint of the schedule. It’s just a bear. By March it’s just like nothing you’ve been through physically and just getting ready for the next game over and over and over. I think you learn how to manage that better each time you go through it. I think you have to take a real assessment of your physical health and your own wellness and make sure that you’re not wearing yourself out by the end of the season. And that’s something that I think you learn – not only coaches, but players too when they’re young in the league. The schedule is just different.”

It just so happens to be that one of the first games on Beilein’s schedule will come against his friend Stevens, who is hoping that Beilein can make a smooth transition to the NBA just as he did.

- Taylor Snow

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