Butler University’s Gordon Hayward announced on Wednesday that he will make himself eligible for this year’s National Basketball Association draft. He does not plan to sign an agent, which means he could return to Butler if he doesn’t like his draft status.
Hayward, a sophomore forward, was Butler’s pillar in the team’s run to the NCAA championship game, where the Bulldogs lost to Duke 61-59 on April 5.
NBA draft experts project that Hayward would go somewhere between the 15th and 25th selection in the draft. The Indiana Pacers will likely draft around the No. 10 selection and there is some speculation that team brass might look to draft the Brownsburg High School graduate.
College players have until April 25 to declare themselves eligible for the NBA draft. They have until May 8 to withdraw and return to school. Players like Hayward and Purdue University’s JaJuan Johnson will be able to participate in several pre-draft workouts along other NBA hopefuls to give scouts a chance to gauge their value to the 30 NBA teams.
First-round NBA draft picks get guaranteed two-year contracts, with the drafting team getting a two-year option beyond that. First-round players in last year's draft received two-year contracts worth between $1.7 million and $9.4 million.
Larry Bird, Pacers president of basketball operations, will hold a press conference Thursday on the Pacers’ 2009-10 season and upcoming off-season, and is expected to be asked about the team’s interest in the Butler star.
Hayward led the Bulldogs in scoring with 15.5 points per game. He was the Horizon League player of the year.