Hayward puts on show for Raps

Gordon Hayward, of Butler University, worked out with the Toronto raptors Monday. (Dave FullerQMI...

Gordon Hayward, of Butler University, worked out with the Toronto raptors Monday. (Dave FullerQMI Agency)

DAVE FULLER, QI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:37 PM ET

TORONTO - Gordon Hayward almost made that impossible shot, a Doug Flutie-like Hail Mary to win the NCAA basketball championship last month in Indianapolis.

But the Butler forward’s half-court toss, with basically zero time remaining, hit the backboard, caught the rim and bounced out — allowing favoured Duke University to win the NCAA title, 61-59, over Hayward’s Bulldogs.

“It’s been a wild ride, hectic, surreal, unimaginable... Every word that’s a synonym for that,” said Hayward, who worked out for the Raptors Monday in advance of the June NBA draft.

“It’s been just a lot of fun, exciting ... really these past three years for me, it’s all happened so fast.” Hayward, a 6-foot-9, 207-pound small forward from Brownsburg, Ind.

He was voted Horizon League player of the year and is as cinch to go in the first round of the draft.

“Gordon Hayward’s coming off a dream season, last year winning the (under-19) world championship, then almost being that Cinderella team (at March Madness),” said Jim Kelly, director of player personnel for the Raptors.

“He’s a great shooter, a great story, and he had a good workout today. He shot the ball very well.”

Hayward, who played guard in high school until an unexpected growth spurt turned him into a forward, is in that in-between spot as to where he’ll play in the pros.

“Hayward’s a little bit of a puzzle,” Kelly said. “He’s a four, he’s a three, it depends on the system, it depends on his coach as to where you plug him in. But he is a basketball player.”

Hayward is confident he can make the leap to the NBA this year. “It’s always an adjustment,” he said.


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