Seems like several years since Utah Jazz swingman Gordon Hayward was running things at Hinkle Fieldhouse and leading the Butler Bulldogs to the NCAA championship game. Hayward in the sophomore season of his NBA career would be a senior for Butler this year had he not entered the NBA draft following his sophomore season in college.
No doubt, Brad Stevens would like to have Hayward on the floor to help solve Butler's offensive woes this season, but there is also no doubt that Hayward made the right decision to begin his pro career when he did. The Jazz entered the season appearing to be in a rebuilding mode with a lot of young talent, but a stretch of eight wins in nine games to start January has them off to a solid 13-10.
Hayward has started every game for the Jazz currently averaging 9.7 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. Like his sophomore year at Butler, Hayward's shooting percentages are down in his second season as he's shooting just 41% from the floor and 25% from behind the arc.
Things have been going better of late for Hayward as he arrives at the Fieldhouse tonight shooting 46% in his last six games while averaging 14.5 points. The Jazz are 3-3 in those games but have lost three of their last four games. Pacers guard Paul George was taken one pick after Hayward in the 2010 draft and was dunked on by Hayward in the Jazz's only visit to the Fieldhouse last year. No doubt, PG will be ready for the rematch, but Hayward should have plenty of family, friends and Butler fans cheering him on tonight.
Here are a couple of links with stories on Hayward hitting Olive Garden in New York and earning his first technical...ever.
- Utah Jazz notebook: Gordon Hayward, Jeremy Evans go back for seconds at Olive Garden | Deseret News
- Utah Jazz notebook: Gordon Hayward earns a stat he's never had before | Deseret News