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Brad Stevens misses Celtics game to be with former player battling cancer

Former Butler basketball player Andrew Smith is in a serious battle with cancer (non-Hodgkins lymphoma to be specific), one that has his family requesting prayers and his friends flying to be by his side.

That includes Brad Stevens, the former Butler and current Boston Celtics’ coach.

He is missing the Celtics’ Thursday night game against Chicago on national television to fly back to Indianapolis and be with Smith in his time of need, something the Celtics have confirmed. From A. Sherrod Blakely of

Smith was a starting center on both of Butler University’s Final Four teams, coached by Stevens.

Assistant coach Jay Larranaga will assume head coaching duties tonight in Stevens’ absence.

Classy move by Stevens. Our thoughts are with the Smith family.