Lazar's Work Ethic
His production on the court all starts with practice. Being well aware of their #1 national ranking, Hayward knew that it wouldn't be easy to maintain that spot in the polls, and felt the only way they could stay there was to improve their practices. "Me and my teammates, we felt very confidant, but when you're on top you have to keep on your toes because it really makes us a target, so at practice I always make sure everyone goes 110% so that we can be better than the next team, Hayward said."
Notre Dame Prep Assistant Coach Mike McMahon has worked with Lazar and knows that his work ethic has paid off on the court. "Everything he gets he has done and deserves. His work ethic is just incredible. He came to us last year, worked his tail off and made himself more than just a shooter. The thing that makes me proud to work with Lazar is his willingness to do whatever you ask to the best of his abilities. He's got a real good basketball IQ, but he realizes that he doesn't know everything and he's willing to learn more about the game every single day.
Basketball practice is not the only time that Lazar dedicates to improvement. When we scheduled the time to speak with Lazar for this article, we agreed on 9:00 pm, but when that time came we had to delay an hour because, with an important game around the corner, Lazar felt he needed to head back to the gym and shoot for another hour. Coach McMahon explains that with Lazar, that is just the beginning, "During the summer Lazar would be lifting weights, running, where you would go to work for eight hours a day, he would do that for eight hours a day. But the strange thing, unlike so many kids in this generation, he didn't dread it - he didn't try to get away with anything, he just loves doing that sort of stuff. That's just another reason why he's so special."
Lazar Hayward Sr.
Listening to Lazar, Notre Dame Prep head coach Bill Barton and assistant coach Mike McMahon, it is obvious that Lazar's work ethic is something that you just can't teach. It is something that comes from within, something that has developed over time, through hard work and a great attitude. It also requires the right influences along the way, and with Lazar it won't take long for you to see where that came from, and Lazar will be quick to tell you. "My father, Lazar Sr., taught me how to become a man, not just in basketball but as a person too. He taught me how to take care of my responsibilities. My junior year I wasn't really playing that well. He told me that I had talent and potential, but some days it really didn't look like I wanted it. He told me, ‘If you're going to play basketball, you need to go 110%.' That is what he has also taught me about life and about school. He taught me to be the best that I can be and I think about that every day. Every time I slack off, or I'm on the court and I get tired – I think about that and realize that I need to do the best that I can while I'm here."
Lazar Sr. is not the type of parent you run into often, and today's athletes could use more role models like him. Coach McMahon, who does a lot of work trying to help his players both on and off the court will tell you that the elder Hayward is a breath of fresh air. "His dad has certainly been a great influence. If you could order up role model as a parent, that is exactly what Lazar Sr. has been. I wish every young man had a father like that. The work ethic that he has been able to help Lazar develop and instill in him has just been incredible."