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Stevens sneaks back to Butler on Indy trip

Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens was able to sneak back to Butler University on Thursday during the team’s offday.

With the Celtics in Indianapolis for Friday’s game against the Pacers, Stevens took advantage of a break in the schedule to visit his former employer on a day the program honored longtime sports information director Jim McGrath.

“I think, obviously, the one program that I follow is Butler,” Stevens told reporters on Friday morning before the team’s shootaround at Bankers Life Fieldhouse “And we follow it religiously and see as many games as we can. I was able to go over there for a minute [Wednesday] -- they honored Jim McGrath, their SID who is the best ever, he’s the greatest guy ever -- that was great to be able to do that.”

Butler recently agreed to a multiyear deal with coach Chris Holtmann, removing the interim tag after he filled in for Brandon Miller, who had been on medical leave since October.

Asked about Butler’s coaching situation, Stevens said, “I think it’s one of those situations where, first and foremost, my heart and my sympathies are with Brandon and his family. And I’m very excited that they had a person like Chris there. The staff up there with [assistants] Michael Lewis and Terry Johnson -- those guys that were with me really handled a tough situation fantastic. I’m really happy that that’s going to be a long-term thing now with Chris at the helm. I thought all those guys just did a marvelous job and I’m happy for him.”

Stevens smiled and added, “You can bet I want them to beat [Xavier] tomorrow.”

The Celtics flew to Indianapolis after Wednesday’s win in Brooklyn. Stevens and his wife, Tracy, made a two-hour trek to Cincinnati on Thursday for a family obligation before returning to the area.

Stevens, a native of nearby Zionsville, savored a rare stop back home.

“It’s great. This will always be home,” he said. “It’s always been a blast to coach [in Indianapolis]. I could make 1,000 shots while I’m here, but we have a job to do and a game to play. Your focus is on that, but certainly it’s nice to be home. Nice to be able to walk around. You know where to go to eat, where to order from and everything else.”