SALT LAKE CITY — Ah, yes, Selection Sunday is just around the corner, the precursor to perhaps the greatest sporting spectacle there is — the NCAA tournament. Yes, it's called March Madness for a reason.
And third-year Utah Jazz shooting guard Gordon Hayward certainly has fond memories of his own March Madness moments.
Three years ago at this time, Hayward was busy getting ready to take his unheralded Butler University team on a thrilling ride all the way to the NCAA championship game.
After punching their Final Four ticket with a pair of scintillating victories in Salt Lake City, Hayward and the Bulldogs nearly shocked the world when his half-court, potential game-winning buzzer-beater barely missed in the title game against Duke.
Hayward says he'll be watching the Selection Sunday show this weekend with hopes to see Butler's name pop up on the bracket again.
"It's always fun to watch that," he said Tuesday as the Jazz prepared for a road trip to Oklahoma City. "There are so many games on with the conference titles and all of that. ... They always go down to the wire at the time of the season when guys step up and make big plays, so it's a fun month."
And certainly something Hayward knows all about.
As to Butler's bid to get invited to the Big Dance, Hayward says the Bulldogs (24-7 entering this week's Atlantic 10 Tournament) should get there.
"They've been up and down this year," he said. "They've taken down some of the best teams in the country, and then they've had some tough losses in conference.
"Coach (Brad) Stevens always seems to have the guys ready in March, so we'll see how he does. I think (they'll make it). They definitely need to make sure they have a good showing in the Atlantic-10 tournament, though."
THE LITTLE DANCE: Tyrell Corbin, son of Utah Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin, and his Salt Lake Community College team have earned a trip to the National Junior College tournament, which begins next Monday at Hutchinson, Kan.
Tyrell, a point guard who led West High to a state championship a couple of years back, averaged 10.5 points, 4.5 assists, 3.2 rebounds and more than two steals per game this season for the Bruins.
And coach Corbin was a proud papa at Tuesday morning's Jazz team practice.
"It's great," he said. "It's a tremendous accomplishment. It really solidifies his decision to transfer (from UC-Davis) and go to a junior college, and he's having a great, great time at Salt Lake Community College.
"Coach Todd Phillips and his staff have been very welcoming and he's enjoying his schooling there, and it's been great for him to be back home. It's been a good experience for him."Comment on this story
MO HELP IS HERE: After missing a couple months of the season with a thumb injury that required surgery, Jazz point guard Mo Williams had his best game since returning to the lineup — 20 points and six assists — in Monday's win over the Detroit Pistons.
"I think he's coming along," coach Corbin said. "It takes awhile, man. He was out for nine weeks. It just takes you awhile to get your rhythm back. I think his conditioning is pretty good; we kind of manage his minutes and extended them a little bit (Monday) night.
"It takes you a little while to get your timing back. Plus, he's learning his teammates again and they're learning him as well. He's coming along pretty well."