New Celtics coach Brad Stevens praised by former players

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ORLANDO — Brad Stevens made Gordon Hayward believe when the two were at Butler University, Stevens as the basketball coach, Hayward as his star forward.

“He was the first person to tell me he thought I could make it to the NBA,” said Hayward, now a member of the Utah Jazz, who are playing here in the summer league.

Stevens left Butler last week to become the 17th head coach in Celtics history, and Hayward said Sunday he has plenty of faith that Stevens will do just fine in the pro ranks, even though he has no NBA experience.

“He knows what he’s doing,” Hayward said. “He realizes everything that everybody is saying about it, the challenge that he’s going to face. He’ll be successful wherever he’s at.”

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