Home » News » Justice

Utah Jazz Notes

Gordon Hayward bulks up for new season

First Published      Last Updated Oct 07 2014 04:21 pm

When he was recruiting players to Butler, Brad Stevens had a slide in his presentation that highlighted the transformation of one scrawny kid into one of the country's best players, from a 6-foot-8 beanpole who could only bench press 185 pounds three times to someone who was doing 14 reps at the same weight a year later.

Wait until Stevens sees Gordon Hayward now.

The Utah Jazz swingman had one of the busiest summers of his life, hosting a basketball camp in the Philippines, getting married, signing a new contract and playing with Team USA for part of the offseason.

But it didn't keep him out of the gym.

"He was great about getting in before he had to go and when he came back he'd be right back in the gym," said Greg Moore, who has trained Hayward at the St. Vincent Sports Performance Center in Indianapolis since he embarked on his NBA career in 2010.

The end result: A bigger, stronger Hayward who says he's better prepared to take on the physical challenges of the NBA season.

"I'm more on balance and just stronger and able to kind of bully some people a little bit more than I was able to," Hayward said.

The new bulk is noticeable.

"It's funny," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "All these guys, it's like when they first got into the league, they hit puberty. Now they're starting to become men and their bodies are changing. But I think anytime you get good weight, more strength, it's a good thing."

Hayward said he hasn't packed on as many pounds as some people think.

"It was probably 5-7 pounds of muscle," he said. "It will drop a little bit after training camp. That's just how it works."

Since he began preparing for the draft in 2010, Hayward has needed to add strength. But early on, Moore cautioned him to work gradually toward that goal.

"In 2010 he needed to get bigger and stronger," Moore said. "I told him, 'It's a marathon not a sprint. If you stay the course and the let the process take its course, it will happen in a natural fashion.' And it has. Every offseason has just been a stair step from the previous offseason."

This offseason's step was made easier by Hayward's efforts during the season. The swingman hired a chef for part of the season, Moore said, and focused more on nutrition.

"The lightest he got last season, which was 215, was the best he's done holding weight during the course of a year," Moore. "We had a better starting point this offseason because he wasn't quite as far down."

While Hayward has bulked up, he's also been careful balance speed and agility at St. Vincent's and the Peak Performance Project (P3) facility the Jazz have made an offseason focal point in recent years.

"That's the thing you've got to balance," he said. "This game is about speed more than weight. It's not football. I wanted to make sure I was just as fast and during the offseason I made sure I was."

"I train him to be a basketball player, not a bodybuilder," said Moore, who lauded Hayward's efforts and his commitment to a program they began more than four years ago. "When I met him, he didn't like any of this. He just wanted to play basketball. My message to him on Day 1 was, 'I don't care if you ever like this. But at the end of the day you can appreciate what it can do for you on the court. You win. I win. We both win. And the end result has showed. He just got paid."

— Aaron Falk