Hayward content with decision to leave Butler

Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:32pm EDT
 
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By Steve Ginsburg

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Gordon Hayward, the catalyst of Butler's magical run to last year's NCAA championship game, has never second-guessed his decision to leave school after two seasons for the NBA.

Despite losing their best player to the Utah Jazz, Butler (27-9) has returned to the Final Four, leading to speculation how good they would have been if Hayward remained at the tiny liberal arts school.

"I'm very blessed to be here in Utah," Hayward told reporters on Wednesday on a conference call. "I couldn't have been happier with the decision.

"Once you make that decision, you just have to move forward and not look back."

Butler, figured to be an afterthought in this year's NCAA tournament, will face fellow upstart Virginia Commonwealth on Saturday with a spot in Monday's title game on the line.

"I'm not surprised at all they got this far," said Hayward, a small forward who is averaging 4.2 points and 1.8 rebounds in 15 minutes a game for the Jazz. "They've got great senior leaders.

"And they've got (Final Four) experience. That you can't teach. None of these guys are going to be rattled by any of these big moments because they've all been there before.

"And then you also have the hunger from losing and being so close last year. They want it really bad."   Continued...