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.