Celtics' Stevens Coaches Up Helena Area Coaches - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Celtics' Stevens Coaches Up Helena Area Coaches

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To the rest of the world, Brad Stevens is most well known as the Boston Celtics head coach. But to Saints men's basketball coach Carson Cunningham, he's more well known as his early role model.

"I felt like here's a guy that knows what he wants, and is about, and he loved basketball," said Cunningham. "So that was really what I wanted to be like. So we just hit it off."

Stevens and Cunningham met during their high school days of playing AAU basketball. Their love for the game brought them together as friends, but it wasn't just hoops that Stevens felt Carson had the advantage in.

"He was a goofy kid," said Stevens. "He was really smart. You could always tell that. I'd go out to my driveway and he'd kick my butt playing 1-on-1, and then we'd come back and he'd start talking politics and I'd be lost."

And luckily for local Montana coaches, Cunningham's friendship with Stevens is what persuaded Brad to come to Carroll for a coaches clinic. He broke down drills he does with the Celtics, and passed his knowledge on to the coaches in the Helena community.

"As a coach you're always learning," said Capital girls basketball head coach and 2015 AA state champion Bill Pilgeram. "We just don't get that opportunity that often in Helena, Montana, and you've got to take advantage of it. If I was going to pick any of my top coaches in the country he'd be in my top three."

"You can tell he's got a love for the game of basketball, and obviously a love for his friend Carson, and that's why he's here," said Capital boys basketball coach and 2014 AA state champion Guy Almquist. "I think he appreciates what Carroll College, and all small schools, are trying to do with their basketball programs."

Stevens sat in on both Pilgeram's and Almquist's lessons they taught at the clinic, and even jumped in to help on a few drills. And while he said he expected he would learn from the Helena coaches, but they're not so sure.

"I'm guessing he had heard probably everything I said, but I did get to have him run point guard for some of the sets we showed today," said Almquist. "So that's something I'll not forget."

So thanks to a childhood friendship formed at AAU games in Indiana 20 years ago, local Montana coaches are already a bit better than they were last season.

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