May 05, 2010

Butler's Gordon Hayward is expected to announce Friday that he will hire an agent and remain in the NBA draft, SI.com has learned. Hayward, the 6-foot-9 sophomore swingman who helped lead the Bulldogs to the national title game, is projected to be drafted in the 10-25 range of the first round.

Because final exams at Butler kept him from participating in workouts with NBA teams, Hayward reportedly made his decision based on feedback from the NBA advisory committee, scouts and agents. His stock as a first-rounder was solidified during a strong NCAA tournament. Hayward was named the West Region's Most Outstanding Player and came within a few inches, in the national title game against Duke, of hitting perhaps the greatest buzzer-beater of all-time.

Butler is scheduled for a rematch with Duke on Dec. 4 at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J. Had Hayward returned to school, the Bulldogs would've been considered a top-five team in the preseason; now, they're more likely to be in the lower portion of the top 25.

Hayward's decision to turn pro was first reported by the Indianapolis Star on Wednesday.

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