Special Night in Store for C’s Growing Indy Family
INDIANAPOLIS – The Celtics’ fraternity of Indiana natives appears to grow larger by the year, making each successive trip to Indianapolis more special than the last for the men in green. At least five current members of the C’s have ties to the Hoosier state, and each of them will cherish tonight’s opportunity to play back at home in front of friends and family, as they take on the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
We’re all familiar with Brad Stevens’ extensive connections to the Hoosier state, and Gordon Hayward’s ties have also been well-documented. There’s also Boston’s longest-tenured assistant coach, Jamie Young, who hails from Logansport, Indiana. And finally, there are the newest additions to the Indy crew – New Albany native Romeo Langford and Purdue alumnus Carsen Edwards.
“I just think it’s always great to be back,” Stevens, a Zionsville native, said ahead of Boston’s morning shootaround. “I love being back. These work trips are quick, so I learned very early on that you can’t meet up with anybody and you just keep your head down and stay in the season, but it’s still great to drive down the street and be back in this building and with Butler on last night, it’s fun to watch. But it’s always good to be back. And for those guys, I’m sure it’s the same.”
The timing of the trip worked out well for two of those guys – Hayward and Langford – who have both recently been cleared to play after being sidelined due to injuries.
Hayward returned from a broken left hand Monday night, and he’s happy that he’ll be back in the lineup again tonight against his hometown team.
"Coming back here is always special,” said the veteran wing, who went to high school in the nearby town of Brownsburg. “To play in front of friends and family and get a chance to visit for a little bit, it's definitely always special."
Langford, on the other hand, was just cleared to return today after suffering back-to-back right ankle sprains early in the season. He said that some of his family and friends will be in attendance to see him possibly play, along with an abundance of his high school classmates.
“It’s a lot of fond memories being here,” Langford said as he laced up his sneakers while sitting courtside at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. “It’s nice to be back in familiar ground and just nice to be here to be able to have people that grew up watching me play to be able to come back and see me again.”
Edwards also has a history inside this particular arena, where he was a three-time participant in the renowned Crossroads Classic – an annual college basketball tournament that features Butler, Indiana University, Notre Dame and Purdue.
“It's cool to think that I wanted to play here again one day and be playing for an NBA team,” said the former Boilermaker. “So it's cool to be back like this."
Although he’s not from the state of Indiana originally, Edwards noted, “I still have a lot of people here that support me and pulled for me when I was at Purdue.”
One Purdue representative who will be in attendance supporting the Celtics tonight is Boilermaker assistant coach Micah Shrewsberry, who served under Coach Stevens up until this season.
Shrewsberry, who hails from Indianapolis, stopped by Celtics shootaround this morning to say hello to his longtime friends, which was a pleasant surprise for Stevens.
“It’s been pretty well documented how good of friends we are,” said Stevens, who also had Shrewsberry on his staff while coaching at Butler. “I think he’s a great coach, he’s done a great job in every stop he’s been at. He’s always been a blast to be around. He’s got a great way about him, a great communication ability, and sees the game really well. It’s fun to watch. Next week Purdue and Butler play here, so we will not be rooting for him; we’ve made that very clear. Some of my family is actually coming back for that, so it’ll be very fun.”
Tonight should be an enjoyable experience for those family members as well, and not just those who belong to Stevens. Bankers Life Fieldhouse should be packed with the friends and family of a handful of current Celtics, which will make it feel like one big homecoming for the fraternity of Indiana natives.