There’s a lot of people that it will be fun to beat, and then I can trash talk afterwards. —Gordon Hayward
NEW YORK — It was bizarre for Gordon Hayward to learn that his beloved Butler coach had been hired by the Boston Celtics.
Hayward is about to enter the Twilight Zone, aka the Boston Garden, four months later.
For the first time in his life, Hayward will play against a Brad Stevens-coached team Wednesday when the Utah Jazz visit the Celtics.
Stevens was a coach and mentor for Hayward during his two-year college career at the Indianapolis-based university. The Bulldogs rose to fame in 2010 when that pair helped guide the team to the NCAA championship game.
The former Butler bench boss was hired this offseason to replace Doc Rivers, who moved on to the Los Angeles Clippers.
“It will be weird seeing him in green, but it should be fun,” Hayward said Tuesday before the Jazz’s road-trip-opening loss at the Barclays Center to the Nets. “I’m looking forward to that game — hopefully, looking forward to beating my old coach.”
Hayward, who left after his sophomore season and was drafted ninth overall by the Jazz, smiled when pointing out that Stevens’ new organization hired two other Butler products — his teammate/buddy Ronald Nored, who’s been assigned to coach the D-League’s Maine Red Claws, and Drew Cannon, a 23-year-old assistant on the Bulldogs’ staff.
“There’s a lot of people that it will be fun to beat,” Hayward said. “And then I can trash talk afterwards.”
Then again, it's unlikely either side will do much yakking. Both the Jazz and Celtics enter this contest wtih 0-4 records.