Gordon Hayward is all in for the NBA Draft.
Butler's 6-foot-9 sophomore forward confirmed to The Associated Press on Thursday that we will remain in the draft, giving up his final two years of college eligibility. He will discuss it during a news conference Friday.
"For me there really wasn't any doubt," Hayward said in a telephone interview. "I went into it and when I declared, this was what I decided I wanted to do. I hadn't hired an agent because I hadn't picked one yet and hadn't done the interview process. If I had a breakdown or something, I would have come out."
Most analysts projected Hayward to go somewhere between No. 10 and 20 when he declared last month, and Hayward says the projections haven't changed since then.
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But Hayward isn't content to settle for 10 to 20. He has been working out at St. Vincent Sports Performance with other college prospects such as Northern Iowa's Adam Koch and Purdue's Keaton Grant and Chris Kramer.
Program director Ralph Reiff, who has helped other NBA players such as Greg Oden and Mike Conley prepare for the draft, insists Hayward is ready to make a difference in the NBA.
"If I were managing an NBA franchise I would start with Gordon Hayward," said Reiff, who worked at Butler under then-coach Barry Collier. "He is capable of making a team-building impact similar to Kevin Durant. Gordon has a school boy look, a humble 'I will help you first' demeanor yet a competitive gear that will rip the heart out of an opponent. I see it every day in workouts. The NBA franchise that nurtures this young man will get a monster player."
Hayward certainly hopes to fulfill that promise with his unique combination of skills.
Despite his height, he handles the ball like a point guard and is adept at getting to the basket. And though he led the Bulldogs in scoring, at 15.5 points per game last season, he also was their top rebounder (8.2) and one of Butler's best passers.
Rebels' White also gone
Terrico White will hire an agent and enter the NBA Draft instead of returning to play at Mississippi next season.
White was one of the nation's best young players. The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 15.1 points this season, helping lead the Rebels to a share of the Southeastern Conference Western Division title and the NIT semifinals.
UK's 2010 class is No. 2
Rivals.com released its team rankings for the recruiting class of 2010 Thursday with Kentucky occupying the No. 2 spot. Memphis was No. 1.
The Cats will bring in Enes Kanter (No. 3 on Rivals), Brandon Knight (No. 6), Doron Lamb (No. 21) and Stacey Poole (No. 33).
UK is also in the running for eighth-rated Terrence Jones, who committed to Washington on Friday but is reportedly still considering the Cats. Rivals.com said the addition of Jones would push UK into the No. 1 spot.
Dieng signs with U of L
Louisville officially signed 6-foot-10 center Gorgui Dieng on Thursday, one day after Coach Rick Pitino announced sophomore center Samardo Samuels is staying in the NBA Draft. Dieng averaged 15.4 points, 12.6 rebounds and 7.2 blocked shots last season while playing for Huntington (W.Va.) Prep. He was ranked 44th nationally by Rivals.com.
Wears to transfer from UNC
Twins Travis and David Wear are leaving North Carolina after one season. Coach Roy Williams made the announcement Thursday, one day after he said their father called and asked for a release from their scholarships.
Travis Wear averaged 3.5 points and 2.2 rebounds in 32 games and David Wear averaged 2.9 points and 2.2 rebounds in 27 games and missed the final nine games with a torn labrum in his left hip.
Ex-Herd coach pays debt
Marshall University said former coach Donnie Jones repaid the final $250,000 he owed the school under his contract. Jones left in March to become Central Florida's head coach. Under the terms of his contract with Marshall, Jones owed a buyout payment of $500,000 to the school.
Jones went 55-41 in three seasons at Marshall. He was replaced by former Pittsburgh associate head coach Tom Herrion.