Hayden, who tinkered with the idea of leaving the program after his sophomore season in 2003-2004, seemed to go out of his way to chat with the media following Thursday's 81-63 victory over Eastern Illinois University.
"Last year I felt it a little, but this year it's pretty obvious," Hayden said of his discomfort within the system. "Me and Jeremiah (Massey) are the same type of player, so it's either going to be him or me. I don't know if you can tell... ."
While Hayden's voice tailed off, it was apparent that he was upset about not getting enough touches.
"It seems funny how those guards always find him (Massey)," Hayden said with a laugh. "Do you guys notice it?"
Hayden then repeated, "It's nothing toward the coaches. It's just me personally not fitting into the system. That means I have to adapt; good players adapt. I have to adapt and keep trying, but I don't know what else I can do."
When asked what he might change from within to have a better fit in the system, Hayden said, "I've tried every single way, but pretty well lost hope. This (game) took the air out of me. You just want to throw up your hands, look at the sky and ask, 'What do you do now?' "
When told the basics of Hayden's comments, coach Jim Wooldridge paused, shook his head, and said, "I wouldn't even comment on that."
He later said, "He's (Hayden) playing very well at times, but when you look on the stat sheet, he's kind of up and down. But that's been a lot of our guys."
Thursday was one of the "down" games as Hayden made just 1-of-7 shots, plus 3-of-4 free throws for five points and two rebounds in 27 minutes of play. In three of 10 games, Hayden has been in twin-figures, which included a season-high of 15 against Oakland, but in three other games, he's had no more than five points.
The 6-foot-7 junior is averaging 8.0 points per game, which is exactly what he averaged last year. As a freshman, Hayden, a former Oklahoma Prep Player of the Year, averaged 7.0 points per game.
Hayden does recognize that the team is 9-1, which leads him to say, "It's not about me, it's about the team. We got a win, and that's what matters."
But he adds, "What's troubling is when I've been here three years and I'm not making any significant contribution on offense, at all."
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