August 20, 2009

Butler’s Gordon Hayward Named To Wooden Award List

Butler sophomore Gordon Hayward has been named to the list of preseason candidates for the 2009-10 John R. Wooden Award All-American Team and Player of the Year trophy.  This list is comprised of 50 student-athletes who, based on last year’s individual performance and team records, are the early frontrunners for college basketball’s most prestigious honor.

Hayward was named Horizon League Newcomer of the Year and first team All-Horizon League in 2008-09 after helping Butler to a 26-6 campaign, a “Top 25” national ranking and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.  The 6-8 forward, who was chosen to the National All-Freshman Team by FoxSports.com, was Butler’s second-leading scorer (13.1) and rebounder (6.5) in his initial season.

This summer in Auckland, New Zealand, Hayward, along with teammate Shelvin Mack, helped the U.S. capture its first FIBA U-19 world championship since 1991.  He averaged 10 points, 5.7 rebounds and shot 41.4% from the three-point arc for the Gold Medal-winning U.S. squad.  He was one of two U.S. players named to the tournament’s Best of the Best team.

Hayward is the fourth consecutive Butler player to be recognized by the Wooden Award Committee.  Guard A. J. Graves was named to the Midseason Wooden Award All-America Team and was a finalist for the Wooden Award in 2007, and he was on the Wooden Award Preseason List in 2008.  Graves’ teammate, Mike Green, was a finalist for the Wooden Award in 2008, while Butler forward Matt Howard, the 2008-09 Horizon League’s Player of the Year, was named to the Midseason Top 30 for the Wooden Award last year.

This year’s Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 includes players from 11 different conferences and 41 different schools.  Forty-two of the players selected come from the Big East (11), ACC (10), Big 10 (8), SEC (7) and Big 12 (6).  Hayward was the lone player selected from the Horizon League.

In late December, the Wooden Award Committee will release the Midseason Top 30 list, followed in March by the National Ballot, consisting of approximately 20 top players who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA.  The Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced the week of the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Tournament.

The 34th Annual Wooden Award ceremony, which will include the announcement of the Men’s and Women’s Wooden Award winner, and presentation of the Wooden Award All-America Teams and the Legends of Coaching Award, will take place the weekend of April 9-11, 2010.