For Basketball Society’s #WhatIfWednesday, we are taking it back to the 2010 Nation Championship between the Butler Bulldogs vs. the Duke Blue Devils. What if Gordon Hayward hit that half-court shot? Would more players have been drafted? Let’s take a dive into one of the better championship games we have ever seen.
The Duke Blue Devils were a stacked a loaded team that included the likes of Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler, Mason and Miles Plumlee, as well as Ryan Kelly and Seth Curry.
For the underdog, the Butler Bulldogs, they consisted of only two future NBA players, Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack.
Butler came into this game as a 5 seed and were not about to back down to a strong and deep Duke team.
The game came down to the final seconds with, as mentioned before, Gordon Hayward missing a desperation half court shot. I remember it like it was yesterday, Jim Nantz was on the call and said the famous last words, “It ALMOST went in, ALMOST, and Duke is your National Champions of 2010.”
Gordon Hayward has lived with that haunting story every day since then. I feel that his draft stock wouldn’t have increased regardless of if they won the game or not, but Hayward has truly made a name for himself since 2010. He is the star of the Utah Jazz and is finally turning around a bad four year stretch with them. The individual play has been there, just not the team consistency.
For Shelvin Mack, I feel that he should’ve been drafted higher that year. He was a great defensive guard that has all the qualities you want offensively. He was a good shooter in college as well but has lost that ability just a bit since being drafted. He is now playing for the Atlanta Hawks as a bench player.