Hayward looking for right fit in Olympic bid

Hayward looking for right fit in Olympic bid

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Hayward looking for right fit in Olympic bid

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When Gordon Hayward was chosen by the Utah Jazz in the first round of the 2010 NBA draft, no one was projecting him as a future Olympian.

Aug 11, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Team USA forward Gordon Hayward (24) shoots during the USA men's basketball national team minicamp at Mendenhall Center.

Aug 11, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Team USA forward Gordon Hayward (24) shoots during the USA men’s basketball national team minicamp at Mendenhall Center.

But six years after helping Team USA win a gold medal at the under-19 World Basketball Championship, the former Butler forward is in the mix for the Rio Olympics. Granted, he remains a long shot. Coach Mike Krzyzewski has a plethora of wing players to choose from.

As the Salt Lake Tribune’s Aaron Falk reported, the key for Hayward will be finding a fit.

In assessing Hayward’s chances, USA Basketball director Jerry Colangelo told Falk:

“I think he recognizes that there’s a real value in being a part of this family and he’s hopeful, like he should be, that sometime in the future he’s going to have an opportunity to put on that uniform.

Gordon Hayward, other NBA players in Indianapolis for offseason workouts

“I respect the heck out of him in terms of his willingness to pay the price, pay his dues. You never know what the future holds. He’s the kind of a player who can contribute in so many different ways. He has the character. He’s got the talent. It’s just having the opportunity.”

Hayward, 25, has become versatile enough to play every position except center. Indeed, he was essentially a power forward for the 2009 gold medalists and was selected to the tournament’s five-man all-star team.

This is isn’t directly related, but it is interesting to review this re-ranking of the 2008 high school recruiting class to which Hayward belonged. The re-ranking placed Hayward fifth and Shelvin Mack 25th. Neither was ranked coming out of high school.

For 2016, Butler has pulled in what, on paper, is its most touted class ever. Yet it is improbable that this class could match what the 2008 class featuring Hayward, Mack and Ronald Nored achieved: back-to-back runs to the NCAA championship game.

2 in 1 day: Is this Butler’s best recruiting class ever?

Call Star reporter David Woods at (317) 444-6195 or e-mail david.woods@indystar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidWoods007.

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