Stevens enjoys walk-through at NCAA's famous Palestra

Stevens enjoys walk-through at NCAA's famous Palestra
April 14, 2014, 3:15 pm
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PHILADELPHIA — Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens was in a pretty upbeat mood Monday morning, even getting up a few jumpers before his players hit the court for their morning walk-through.

A two-game winning streak for Boston is reason enough for Stevens to be a little happier these days. But his cheerful demeanor on Monday had a lot to do with him and the Celtics doing their morning walk-through at The Palestra.

Known as the "Cathedral of college basketball" and the host site of "Big 5" games between Philadelphia-area schools like Temple, Drexel, St. Joseph's, Villanova and Penn, the 8,722-seat arena is nestled on the campus of the University of Penn where it has hosted more games than any college arena.

Stevens, who came to Boston after six seasons as the head coach of Butler, is a big fan of college arenas steeped in such a rich tradition as the Palestra.

"For me and all the places I coached at in college, this would be second to the place I coached at everyday," said Stevens, referring to Butler's Hinkle Fieldhouse which also has a rich basketball tradition.

Stevens' Butler Bulldogs played at the Palestra a couple years ago.

"We showed our players the documentary of the Palestra," Stevens said. "It was great to show them that."

The life of an NBA coach doesn't afford many opportunities to spend time in one of college basketball's legendary arenas which made the hour or so spent at The Palestra time well spent.

"We're all over the place, all the time," Stevens said. "We're in (28) other cities that we play in. There's a lot of great venues in those places that you don't always get a chance to be in because of travel schedule. This was close to the hotel. It made sense to just hop on over here for a quick walk-through."

There's a part of Stevens who appreciates these moments maybe more than most coaches, seemingly wanting to take part of the experience with him after he leaves.

"One of the things I wish I would have done a long time ago was take a picture of every gym we did a walk-through," Stevens said. "We've done them at YMCA's, we've done them on outdoor courts, we've done them at basements of hotels, we've done them in lobby's and locker rooms. At the end of the day, this is a fun thing for all of us, to see a different venue."