- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens gushed about time spent with Rajon Rondo during a visit to the All-Star point guard's summer camp in Louisville on Thursday, noting Rondo was "really really intelligent, really really insightful" during their first face-to-face meeting.
Stevens detailed the importance of establishing relationships with his players during his first full week on the job during an appearance Friday morning on Boston sports radio WEEI (93.7 FM). After meeting much of Boston's staff and returning veterans over four days at the Orlando Summer League, Stevens jumped on the opportunity to say hello to Rondo after returning to the midwest.
"I just went down there because I wanted to get a chance to sit down with him," said Stevens, noting he had returned home to Indianapolis and made the two-hour ride down to Louisville. "We spent quite a bit of time just alone together talking, just learning more about him. I just enjoyed spending time with him and asking him questions, not only about his time with the Celtics, but time before. I found him to be really, really intelligent, really really insightful. I thought he had great ideas. I’m really looking forward to working with him."
Stevens took in four games in Orlando, getting the opportunity to meet such returning veterans as Jeff Green, Courtney Lee, Brandon Bass, and Jared Sullinger.
"No. 1 [on his to-do list] was to get a chance just to meet and spend time with the staff and the players that I could get to," said Stevens. "Quite a few of them were down in Orlando, so that was great. I was in Orlando for four days; I’m actually back in the midwest for a couple days before heading out [to Boston] on Sunday. It was a really good experience, I wanted to really sit, learn, and listen, and I spent more time taking notes, and more time listening and asking questions than anything else. Then when I got back to my hotel room, I spent a lot of time on film, and on generic philosophy, and getting myself up to speed with some of the things that the Celtics have done in the past on both sides of the ball, so that if there are some similarities [from the college game], I can be the one that adjusts instead of making all the players adjust."
Asked if he envisioned Rondo as a part of this team next season and a leader for the 2013-14 squad, Stevens offered an emphatic yes on both accounts.
"I think he’s eager for that challenge," said Stevens. "And I’m looking forward to that. I’ve talked to a lot of the guys that are on this team already, and I think we’ve got a good young group that, I’ll tell you what, has been great to meet. They seem eager and excited. They all speak very highly of playing with him."
Stevens also revealed he had a brief text conversation with former Celtics coach Doc Rivers recently.
"He sent me a nice text," said Stevens. "I texted back real briefly."
Stevens also confirmed that the Celtics would bring on his former Butler assistant Micah Shrewsberry as an assistant coach. With two seats left open on his staff, Stevens plays to target coaches with NBA experience to aid his transition from the college game.
"We have two spots to fill and, with both spots, the plan of attack is to fill them with people with a great deal of NBA experience, whether it be playing or coaching."
5dMatt Walks, ESPN.com
6dESPN Stats and Information Group