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"One of the reasons he's a special young man is his loyalty," Kilkenny said Thursday, having returned to Eugene from Indianapolis on Wednesday. "He has a very strong connection to Butler."
Kilkenny, the former Oregon athletic director, spoke with Stevens three times by telephone Tuesday, the day after the national title game. But he never believed he was close to getting Stevens. There was never a solid offer, but Kilkenny made it clear, he wanted Stevens to listen to Oregon's pitch.
"He was our guy," Kilkenny said. "But I always felt like it was an uphill battle. We were obviously very interested in him, but we needed to sense that he was interested in us, too. I'm not sure that was there."