Thursday, November 5, 2009

Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year: Gordon Hayward

National Hoops Report Horizon Preseason Player of the Year
Gordon Hayward, SF, Sophomore, Butler

Hayward was under-recruited and looked over by the .com world, including myself, despite several nudges from those that followed the program closely. Hayward was not ranked by the national recruiting services and when he committed to the Bulldogs, it didn’t receive any notoriety.

Boy, were we ever wrong.

Shelvin Mack, a fellow sophomore on the team, was thought to be the gem of the class. While Mack is certainly a tremendous player, Hayward was clearly the steal of the class and the steal of the entire 2008 recruiting class. Hayward would have shined at any level, judging his success with USA Basketball this summer.

Hayward averaged 13.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, two assists, 1.5 steals and 0.9 blocks a game as a freshman all the while shooting nearly 45 percent from three.

You don’t find guys like him in the Big Ten anymore so for him to land at Butler and in the Horizon, it doesn’t come as a big surprise that the Bulldogs are the favorites to win their league but also receive recognition as a national top 10 program.

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