Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Believe or Not, Butler Will Be Fine Without Gordon Hayward

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
Last season, Butler reminded all college basketball junkies just how much we enjoy Cinderella's. 

The Bulldogs knocked off the number one and two seeds in their bracket before reaching the Final Four.

Once they reached the Final Four, Gordon Hayward led the Bulldogs over Michigan State by two. He posted a 19 point, nine rebound performance that enabled Butler to play in their first ever National Championship.

Statically, Hayward was the top contributor. But if you watched the game, Shelvin Mack was the backbone of the Bulldogs.

He got into passing lanes, rebounded the ball, and did a decent job on Duke guards.

However, neither one of them contributed enough to defeat the Duke Blue Devils.

After that, the Bulldogs were consensus favorites to be back in the title game, because their starting roster consisted of mostly freshman and sophomores.

But Hayward decided he was going into the 2010 NBA draft and was selected in the lottery by the Utah Jazz.

Now replacing a lottery selection is always a hard task to achieve. However, here, I believe it can be done.

The Bulldogs play terrific team defense as displayed in the NCAA tournament. 

Brad Stevens is a very skillful coach, not to mention, he is loyal to Butler.

The likeliest prospect to fill Haywards shoes is 6-foot-6 Khyle Marshall. Marshall isn't 6-foot-9 but he has the ability to grow out of Haywards shoes.

When he catches the ball he is in full attack mode. He has nice handle, which allows him to get anywhere on the court.

The most important aspect of his game, that Bulldog fans will love is his attentiveness on the defensive end.

He is always alert on defense. He has the ability to jump into passing lanes and start off the break. Not to mention, he is explosive enough to give you some highlight reel jams.

In addition, he is always around the rim. When he doesn't have the ball he is slashing to the goal to either post up or get a rebound. 

He loves to crash the boards and will throw down an occasional tip-dunk.

With Marshall's explosiveness and aggressive mentality, I think he can come in and be another Hayward. 

Marshall isn't the only player that can help continue the Bulldogs success. As long as their playing great team defense and Brad Stevens is on the sideline, there is nothing keeping Butler from succeeding.

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  1. The two years immediately BEFORE Gordon Hayward entered Butler were a 29-win Sweet 16 team and a 30-win 2nd Round team.

    Butler will be a 30-win / Sweet 16 sort of team if not better this year.

    Chrishawn Hopkins is Butle's next Gordon Hayward-like break-out star. There might not be an athlete in all of college basketball that is his equal.

  2. I totally agree with you! The way Shelvin Mack is improving this offseason and the players around him are getting better, this Butler team will surprise again.

    They have one of the greatest young coaches in college basketball, and on top of that, they returned most of their roster from last season.

    Butler will be a great team, without Hayward.


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