Butler's Gordon Hayward To Remain In NBA Draft

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Butler's Gordon Hayward Will Stay In NBA Draft

With the deadline for underclassmen to decide whether they will remain in the draft fast approaching, the star of Butler's improbable run to the NCAA tournament title game will reportedly keep his name in the draft pool. According to the Indianapolis Star, Bulldog sophomore Gordon Hayward will announce his decision to stay in the draft at a press conference on Friday at the school.

The 6'8'', 200-pound Hayward will likely be a late lottery to mid-first round pick -- Draft Express currently ranks him 19th in this year's class -- which would mean a guaranteed contract for the Indianapolis native. Considering that players who leave after reaching the Final Four get drafted up to 12 spot higher than they otherwise would, according to one study, Hayward's decision to leave school certainly seems like his best option at this point.

Though Butler's hopes of being a preseason top-5 team most definitely evaporate sans Hayward, although they return enough of their core that they should still be a solid top-15 team. Still, Hayward's absence figures to remove a good bit of the luster from their highly anticipated rematch with Duke next December.

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How Much Will Making The Final Four Help Gordon Hayward's NBA Draft Stock?

While cautionary tales of underclassmen who leave school for the lure of NBA riches, only to tumble down draft boards and flame out (we're looking at you Chris Taft) may seem legion, it's usually the opposite problem that plagues top prospects: staying around too long as scouts nitpick their games.

ESPN's draft/player development guru David Thorpe explains:

Which brings us to the second-biggest myth, one used by college coaches every year, that "going back to school helps your draft stock." I love to joke that in the current draft year, there are 60 likely second-round picks, but next year there are 90 first-rounders. [...]

[But] for every Tyler Hansbrough, there is a Craig Brackins or Willie Warren. Gordon Hayward and Kyle Singler could absolutely return to school, have better seasons and meet again in the Final Four. And those events could improve their draft stock, without a doubt. But they could also go back to school, have all those same things happen and not improve their stock at all. And it's easy to see the risk of a poor season or an injury. There are many reasons to go back to school, but doing so because it has to help your draft stock is not one of them.

Indeed, when it comes to Hayward, at least testing the draft waters now is clearly the best choice for him personally. An analysis over at The Wages of Wins found that players whose teams make the Final Four can have their draft stock improve as much as 12 spots -- but only if they leave the same year their team makes the national semifinals. For a player like Hayward, now projected somewhere from the late-lottery to mid-first round, that means moving off the first-round bubble and into the upper reaches of the draft.

Now we'll see if Kyle Singler will follow suit and capitalize off the Blue Devils' title game triumph.

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Butler's Gordon Hayward Declares For NBA Draft, Will Not Hire Agent

According to an ABC News affiliate out of Indianapolis, Butler's sophomore superstar Gordon Hayward will declare for the NBA Draft, but will not hire an agent. Hayward, who averaged 16 ppg this year, was the Horizon League player of the year in 2010, and was one of the most outstanding players in this year's NCAA Tournament.

And for Hayward, it's the right decision. Whether he remains in the draft and ultimately forfeits his college eligibility is another story, but entering without hiring an agent will allow Hayward to familiarize himself with the NBA Draft process, while retaining the option to return to Butler for his junior year.

Hayward has until May 8th to return to school, and should he choose to remain in the draft pool, he's been projected anywhere from the top of the second round, to the middle of the first.

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