Gordon Hayward credits Brad Stevens with fueling NBA career

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 01: Gordon Hayward
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 01: Gordon Hayward /

New Boston Celtics star Gordon Hayward says Brad Stevens is the first person who made him realize his NBA dreams.

The relationship between Gordon Hayward and Brad Stevens is something special.  Not only did the new Boston Celtics All-Star forward play under Stevens at Butler University, he credits the coach as the first person to help him realize his NBA potential.

During his introductory press conference Friday, Hayward reminisced about their time at Butler and expressed how Stevens inspired his NBA career.

"“I always say that Coach Stevens was the first person – I always had a dream to play in the NBA but he was the first person I think made me realize I could maybe get there one day,” Hayward acknowledged.  “And so to be back and reunited with him again, I’m beyond excited and can’t wait to get to work.”"

BOSTON, MA – SEPTEMBER 01: Gordon Hayward
BOSTON, MA – SEPTEMBER 01: Gordon Hayward /

Unfinished business is what Hayward described it as in the Players’ Tribune back in July when he revealed his decision to join the Celtics.  The two came close to winning an NCAA championship back in 2010 and now the two reunite in Boston to finish what they started.

It is ironic that the player Stevens encouraged to leave college early to pursue his NBA dream is the same player he hopes help lead the Celtics to an 18th title.  While both Hayward and Stevens downplay their relationship, it is obvious they complement one another in a unique way.

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Whether that player and coach chemistry translates from the college game to the NBA is a question that will be answered a couple months from now.

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What we do know is Stevens knows how to put his players in the best situation to succeed on the basketball coach.  He certainly knows what Hayward brings to the team.  How he utilizes that skill and merges it with the players around him will show the kind of coach Brad Stevens is.

Hayward praises Celtics fans

Gordon Hayward also took some time to warm up to the fans at the introductory conference.

When both he and Irving were asked about how they will deal with Boston fans if things get tough, Hayward recognized the fans as very educated and a fanbase that definitely understands the championship history of their sports franchises.

"“We’ve been in this league long enough to realize that it’s like that, Hayward said.  “What’s special about here is it seems like they’re pretty educated towards fans here.  So they know a little bit more.  For us, at least for me individually, I never try to get too high on the high’s or too low on the low’s.”"

While that is a good approach, it is easier said than done.  Boston Celtics fans are very loyal, but they will also get on a player if that player is not living up to their capabilities.

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I don’t think neither Gordon Hayward or Kyrie Irving will have a problem with producing on an All-Star level.