Given the way Gordon Hayward's season ended -- with two just-misses that gave Duke the 2009-10 NCAA title -- most would have expected him to be conflicted about his decision to enter the NBA draft. He has two more years of eligibility left, his teammates are all returning, and with him in the fold, Butler would have a great chance of making it back to the Final Four and finishing the job in 2010-11. Defer the NBA and come back to win a title? Or take the first-round money and begin a pro career?
As it turns out, Hayward chose the latter. Was it tough? This is the sort of decision I'd spend weeks agonizing over. Hayward, on the other hand, seems pretty confident in his choice:
"I'm pretty ready," Hayward said. "My mind's pretty made up, and it's been made up for a while now, at least since talking to my dad about it after the (college basketball) season. I've never really wrestled with it, at least in a pure basketball sense; it was no decision for me.
"My only concern would be the transition -- going from dorm life and hanging out with teammates, who are my best friends, the same age, they like the same things that I do -- to a business, a job. Certainly, it's going to be a lot of fun. Not many people get to play basketball for a living. But at the same time, you're traveling, living on your own. Those are the only things that concern me, but I'm excited about that, too."
If I read that right, Gordon Hayward's main concern isn't whether or not he's ready to be an NBA player on the court. His main concerns, far as I can tell, are whether or not his new teammates will like him, and also whether or not he's going to have to worry about balancing his own checkbook and, like, paying rent on time. That stuff is scary, sure. I still don't know how to balance a checkbook. But if you ask me, assuming basic adult responsibilities and fitting in with NBA veterans would not be nearly as scary as getting dunked on by Amare Stoudamire. If Hayward is that confident he can play in the league, well, no wonder he made up his mind so early.