Lazar Hayward: A Forward among Guards at Marquette

Sean StancillSenior Writer IDecember 22, 2008

When you’re submerged beneath a team of playmaking guards like Wesley Matthews, Dominic James, and Jared McNeal, exposure may seem futile.

Marquette swingman Lazar Hayward understands and can relate to the exact problem. Though he averages 16.7 points and 9.7 rebounds per game (at only 6’6”), the shooting guard/small forward's name is oft-overlooked because of the eccentric play of his fellow nimble-footed teammates. But when you’re built like a freight train, you tend to develop rough skin.

Though Hayward’s 14-point, seven-rebound performance was an exemption of masterfulness, he exposed the Volunteers from the paint to the wing, and was the first forward since Nov. 28 to net double-figures in scoring with at least seven rebounds against Tennessee.

Hayward has two 20-10 games, three in which he scored 20 points or more, three double-doubles, nine games in which he has compiled eight rebounds or more, and three consecutive games in which he registered double-figures in points or rebounds while having an assist or a steal.

He has career-highs in minutes per game, points, rebounds, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and assist-to-turnover ratio. He's also doubled his assist average this season, in comparison to last year's average, and quadrupled it when noting his freshman sum.

Despite his average height, Hayward secures 9.7 rebounds per game thanks to his herculean strength and astute recognition of game flow. In the paint, he exerts his stalwartness and inertness toward the opposition, allowing him to get into better position to create second-chance opportunities for his team or contribute to his scoring totals.

The junior excels in the Marquette system because the noteworthy guards like Wesley Matthews, Dominic James, and Jared McNeal launch countless numbers of shots enabling more possibilities for a rebounding to surge.

He's also attempting to implement more focus on defense—when that pans out, it will only be rivaled by his improving perimeter game.

My assessment of Hayward is he displays all the qualities of a more defensive-minded Corey Maggette. Both have stellar upper bodies, are fierce competitors, and enjoy working hard for the greater good of the club.