When Lazar Hayward left Marquette University, he was one of the most successful point producers in school history – many of them coming at the Bradley Center. Hayward recently returned with his NBA team, the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“I walked right in and I started getting flashbacks, and everybody was kind of making fun of me. They were like ‘Lazar, where are your banners?’ I said they’ll be there, once I start getting some more minutes,” Hayward said.
Minutes have been very hard for Hayward to find. He has played in less than half of the Thunder’s games, and even in those games, only sporadically.
“I need to keep working really, really hard. Just kind of grind it out and always be prepared. Of course, I would be wanting to play much more, but I’m not at the moment, but I am with a championship contending team,” Hayward said.
Under Tom Crean and later, Buzz Williams, Hayward did a lot of winning and maturing at Marquette. He says his time in Milwaukee prepared him for his life in the NBA.
“The travel definitely gets tough. Not playing definitely gets tough. I can’t sit here and say it’s not hard. I’m not sure a lot of people could do it. It’s very tough, mentally. I think that going to school for four years definitely benefitted me in that aspect, and I think that may be why I am able to handle certain situations,” Hayward said.
Hayward gets the every day opportunity to see one of the best in basketball, Kevin Durant, practice his craft, and that helps Hayward too.
“I’m going against him every single day. I’m playing alongside a guy who is arguably the best player in the league, so I can’t complaint too much,” Hayward said.
Hayward doesn’t play much or score much yet in the NBA, but he is second on the all-time points scored list at Marquette.