INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Butler sophomore Gordon
Hayward, who helped lead the Bulldogs to the NCAA national
championship game, confirmed on Friday, May 7, that he will keep
his name in this year’s National Basketball Association
draft. He made the formal announcement at a press conference
at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
“After much prayerful consideration and consultation with my family and the coaches, I’ve decided to stay in the 2010 NBA Draft,” Hayward told a standing-room-only crowd of media, family and friends. “This is a very difficult decision for me given the outstanding people we have here at Butler, the coaches, my teammates, the fans and the faculty here. And I want to thank all of them for the support they’ve given me while I’ve been at Butler.”
Hayward, a 6-9 wing player who led the 33-5 Bulldogs in both scoring and rebounding, first caught the attention of NBA scouts as a freshman, when he was named Horizon League Newcomer of the Year. His stock continued to rise this season, particularly during Butler’s run to the Final Four. He was named the Most Outstanding Player at the NCAA West Regional, and he was picked to the All-Tournament Team at the Final Four. He led the Bulldogs in scoring in each of the team’s last four NCAA Tournament games.
“We’re thrilled for Gordon. We’re excited for Gordon. He’s certainly earned the right and the opportunity to move forward,” said Butler head coach Brad Stevens. “And we know this about him. He came to Butler with a degree in mind, and he is going to get his Butler degree. He’s always made that very clear to us.”
Hayward averaged 15.5 points and 8.2 rebounds in 2009-10, while helping the Bulldogs to Horizon League regular season and tournament championships and a fourth consecutive berth in the NCAA Tournament. He was named Horizon League Player of the Year and was a first team All-League pick. He was the only player in the league to rank among the “Top 5” players in both scoring and rebounding.
“We wish Gordon all the best as he pursues professional basketball,” said Horizon League Commissioner Jon LeCrone. “He has been a great example of what we expect in the Horizon League in that he is an elite competitor, he excels in the classroom, he serves the Butler community and he understands the notion of personal accountability.”
A third team Academic All-American this past season, Hayward completed his spring semester at Butler, and he’s been involved in pre-draft workouts to prepare for the June NBA Draft. Butler has not had a player in the NBA since 1952-53, when Ralph “Buckshot” O’Brien played for teams in Indianapolis and Baltimore.