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Import in waiting

There’s a blue-chip import waiting for a call to play in the PBA Governors Cup and so far, Lazar Hayward remains untapped. Former Arizona State star guard and coach Paul Howard, who’s based in Los Angeles, is pitching for Hayward. Howard knows the PBA like the back of his hand. He used to fly to Manila often to visit his best friend Ron Jacobs. But since Jacobs’ death, Howard hasn’t taken a trip over. But he’s planning to reacquaint himself with PBA team coaches on a long-overdue trip next month.

Howard recently got in touch with a PBA team to offer Hayward’s services but the call came too late as an import was already signed up on a two-month guarantee. “Lazar’s 6-4 3/4 barefoot,” said Howard. “He’s a post-up player, a tremendous rebounder for his size. And Lazar just won the championship in Venezuela.” The PBA team official whom Howard contacted described him as “very knowledgeable.”

Lazar Hayward.
Hayward, 30, played four years at Marquette University, raising his scoring average from 6.6 points as a freshman to 12.8 as a sophomore to 16.3 as a junior and 18.1 as a senior. He could’ve renounced his varsity eligibility to apply for the NBA draft but decided to finish the course, a testament to his maturity. A teammate at Marquette was Jimmy Butler, now an NBA star recently traded by Chicago to Minnesota.

College basketball writer Todd Rosiak said Hayward played out of position in his four years at Marquette, moving from his natural three spot to four or five “because of the dearth of experienced talent in the frontcourt.” Rosiak added, “Hayward presents a match-up nightmare for opposing coaches because of his ability to step out and hit the three and has pulled down as many as 18 boards in a game despite often being much smaller than his opponent.”

Marquette coach Buzz Williams said Hayward was more than a player to him. “I think Lazar’s a really good player and I mean this in a very genuine way,” said Williams. “I’m much more grateful to Lazar the person is in our program than Lazar the player. Because his impact resonates whether I’m present or not. Whether it’s in the gym, in the dorm, at the mall. Who he is as a person is exactly what I want my sons to grow up to be.” Williams called him a multi-position guy. “Throughout his career, his game began to evolve,” he continued. “Lazar became catch-shoot to one-dribble pull-up to out-running his guy in transition and finishing the break to defensive rebound and helping initiate the break. All of that in his game, he has worked to expand.”
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In 2010, Hayward was the Washington Wizards’ first round draft pick. He ended up earning over $3.37 Million playing for Minnesota and Oklahoma City in three NBA campaigns. In all, Hayward appeared in 72 NBA games, averaging 2.9 points and 1.3 rebounds.

Source: http://www.philstar.com/sports/2017/07/13/1719177/import-waiting

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