BOSTON: Mike Brown and Brad Stevens will forever be linked and it has nothing to do with NBA coaching circles.
When Stevens left Butler to take the head coaching job with the Boston Celtics, one of the first calls he made was to Brown’s son, Elijah.
Elijah Brown committed to Butler in large part because he wanted to play for Stevens. Knowing how the coaching game worked from living in it his entire life, Elijah even asked Stevens if he was leaving the school for another job.
“I tried to be as candid as I possibly could, as I was with most everybody,” Stevens said. “I said it would have to be an extremely unique situation.”
The Celtics qualified as such.
Elijah was crushed, later telling his father he wanted to buckle his knees and faint when Stevens told him the news. But Mike Brown knows the business far too well to ever be upset with Stevens for the decision.
“It was tough and I had to wear both hats [father and coach] to help my son through it,” Brown said. “I don’t know if there was any other way Brad could’ve done it besides the way he did do it. It was a tough decision for him and his family, but it was one he felt he couldn’t pass up, so you don’t blame him for it.”
Elijah Brown fulfilled his commitment and went to Butler anyway. After the decision had been made for Stevens to leave, Mike Brown said he playfully called Danny Ainge and blamed him for wreaking turmoil in Brown’s family life. Then he called Doc Rivers and blamed him, too, since Rivers’ departure for the Los Angeles Clippers began the carousel turning.
Ainge told him to make up for it, he would take Elijah in the second round when he was finished with college. Then Rivers told him the Clippers would take him if the Celtics pass.
“I got my back covered,” Mike Brown said.
When a reporter asked if Elijah would be a one-and-done candidate this season, Brown laughed.
“He may be four and none,” he said.
Tough game for Butler
Stevens and Brown watched Butler’s near upset of Oklahoma State on Friday. The Cowboys escaped with a 69-67 win when Elijah’s 3-pointer in the game’s final seconds was blocked. Brown watched the game in his hotel room.
“I thought I was going to get kicked out of the hotel,” he said. “I was jumping up and down, I was [screaming], ‘He got fouled!’ I was going crazy.”
After the game, Brown met with Dan Vincent, a member of the Cavs’ support staff, to prepare for the game against the Celtics.
“Dan, I feel like I just got done coaching a game. I need to go have a drink,” Brown told him. “Wow, what emotions. I wasn’t supposed to get like that until tonight.”
C.J. Miles out
C.J. Miles missed Friday’s game with a nagging calf injury and remains questionable for today’s home game against the Chicago Bulls. Miles hoped he would be ready for the weekend, but the medical staff held him back.
“Can’t catch a break,” Miles said. “It’s annoying. It’s an annoying type of injury, too.”
With Miles still missing, Brown changed his lineup yet again and started rookie Sergey Karasev.
“He’s played well and he’s progressed along rather quickly,” Brown said of Karasev. “His ability to make plays and shoot the basketball is something I think will come to the forefront in time. It could be too early for him, who knows? But he’s a guy that’s pretty resilient and doesn’t seem like the moment is too big for him.”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.