The Butler Bulldogs are one of the best stories in NCAA men's basketball history. The 2009-2010 team took the world by storm when they reached the NCAA Championship game against Duke. The Bulldogs fell to the Blue Devils 61-59, but they were the talk of the entire tournament.
"The longer that season went, the more it was, hey, there’s a chance," Stevens said in an interview with the Indianapolis Star in 2015. "I think that any year that team would've played in the tournament, that team would’ve had a chance. That wasn’t a miracle run." Stevens went on to say the Butler team "was legitimate." He then said "our guys just thought they would win. They prepared like they were going to win."
Butler went undefeated in conference play (18-0 in the Horizon Conference) and went to beat UTEP, Murray State, Syracuse, and Kansas State before beating Michigan State in the Final Four matchup. Before losing to Duke, the Bulldogs' last loss came three months prior, making them the hottest team in the country. Despite losing the national championship game, the head coach and a few of the players went on to do bigger things when it comes to basketball.
Gordon Hayward was arguably Butler's best player as he was named Horizon League Player of the Year in 2010. He went to be drafted No. 9 overall by the Utah Jazz in the 2010 NBA Draft and was named an All-Star in 2017. He then signed with the Boston Celtics later that year and has been with the team ever since. Recently, Hayward helped the Celtics reach the Eastern Conference Finals.prevnext
Matt Howard was named Horizon League Player of the Year in 2009 and was a three-time Academic All-American. He has never played in the NBA but has seen some success overseas, winning Pro A Sixth Man of the Year in 2016 when he was a member of Strasbourg IG. His most recent team was Hapoel Tel Aviv in 2018.prevnext
One year after Hayward was drafted by the Jazz, Shelvin Mack was selected in the second round by the Washington Wizards. He bounced around the league for a few years after spending two seasons in Washington. His last NBA appearance was last year as a member of the Charlotte Hornets. He's currently playing overseas as a member of Hapoel Jerusalem.prevnext
Ronald Nored was a two-time Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year during his time at Butler. He went into coaching after his playing days came to an end and is currently an assistant coach for the Charlotte Hornets.prevnext
Andrew Smith was a key contributor to Butler's success during the 2009-2010 season despite only being a freshman. He played three more seasons with Butler and spent a little time playing overseas. Unfortunately, Smith's life was cut short when he died of cancer in 2016. Following his death, the United States Basketball Writers Association named him and his widow as recipients of the Most Courageous Award.prevnext
Shawn Vanzant was a role player during his time at Butler. After college, Vanzant played professionally, spending time in the NBA Developmental League and overseas. He is currently the head coach at Bloomingdale High School in Valrico, Florida.prevnext
Coach Brad Stevens
Brad Stevens gained national attention after leading Butler to the Final Four in 2010 and 2011. He was with the team until 2013 and then jumped to the NBA to be the head coach for the Boston Celtics. Stevens has had success with the Celtics, leading them to the playoffs the last six seasons. This year, Stevens led the team to the Eastern Conference Finals.prev