Lazar Hayward Steps Up

When Lazar Hayward came out of Traditional High in Buffalo, he couldn't do much more than shoot the ball from long range. Since he's gotten to Notre Dame Prep, his game has expanded.

Lazar Hayward was considered purely a long-range guy coming out of Buffalo's Traditional High (N.Y.) last year. Give him the ball and some space and he could knock it down.

Now, the 6-foot-5, 205-pound swingman, who averaged nearly 30 points per game last season at Traditional, has expanded his game under Notre Dame Prep (Mass.) coach Bill Barton.

``I didn't think I was going to do this well," Hayward said. "But I think I have a lot of heart and desire."

``Coach Barton is harder on me than everyone else," added Hayward. "He makes sure I'm in the gym all the time. He's on my all the time and that's what I needed."

Hayward has been a mainstay in the Notre Dame Prep gym, hoisting up 400-500 shots each and every day.

It's slowly paid off. Hayward averaged 12.9 points per game over the first 22 contests, but ever since a 41-point outburst at Winchendon in January, he'll be a scoring machine. Hayward has put up 26.3 points per game over the past dozen contests.

Hayward isn't just known as a perimeter guy any more. He can score in a variety of ways now and that has plenty of schools interested – especially now that he's going to spend another year under Barton in Fitchburg, Mass.

Hayward still has to work on things, such as his handle and speed – and that's part of why he'll return for another prep year despite spurning A-10 offers.

Hayward, who will play for the GC Ballers again this spring and summer, scored a team-high 21 points in Notre Dame Prep's upset victory against St. Thomas More in the NEPSAC Class A quarterfinals on Wednesday. In doing so, Hayward sank just a single trifecta, getting most of his points in the paint.

``He stopped being a flat-footed perimeter shooter," Barton said. "When he came here, he was a zone-buster – but he can do so much more than that. He still has to get stronger and quicker, but he's gotten so much better and is very coachable."

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