Stevens quiet amid UCLA speculation
by David Woods, USA TODAY Sports
Butler coach Brad Stevens declined comment Thursday amid speculation in Los Angeles media that UCLA wants him as its next basketball coach.
When approached at his Hinkle Fieldhouse office, Stevens smiled and mouthed the words “no comment.” He said there was no benefit to talking about his “personal life.” He spent at least part of the day interviewing outgoing seniors.
Butler president James Danko said Thursday he hopes Stevens stays but gave no other information.
Butler athletic director Barry Collier talked to a reporter about the school’s upcoming move to the Big East Conference but would not address Stevens’ job status.
VCU coach Skaka Smart took himself out of the UCLA discussion by signing a long-term contract extension Wednesday. As part of the agreement, he did not interview with UCLA. However, it was not clear that Smart was among UCLA’s top candidates.
There has also been speculation that Minnesota has Stevens on its list of candidates for a new head coach. But considering he didn’t take the Illinois job when it was open last year, it seems unlikely he would be interested in Minnesota.
UCLA, however, is among the nation’s most prestigious jobs, and Los Angeles media have analyzed whether Stevens would be interested.
“Butler will join the Big East Conference next year – the good Big East, with all the basketball powers,” UCLA beat reporter Chris Foster wrote in the Los Angeles Times. “That puts Stevens in a power conference, so who needs the Pac 12?
“And yet …
“Butler will join the Big East Conference next season. The school’s basketball budget, reportedly $3.9 million, would be the lowest in the conference, so you’re a real boy now Pinocchio, deal with it.”
Ryan Kartje wrote in an Orange County Register blog:
“But would Stevens, who is a Midwesterner through and through, fit in Hollywood? Is he the right choice to recruit Los Angeles and return UCLA to the elite? And would he even accept an offer, if one was made?”
The fact that John Wooden, a native Hoosier, built a dynasty at UCLA – 10 national championships between 1964 and 1975 — is part of what might lure Stevens to Westwood. … [For more on Brad Stevens remains quiet amid UCLA speculation, click here.]