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UMass basketball gets a commitment from Aussie guard Kieran Hayward, an LSU transfer

  • Mississippi State guard Quinndary Weatherspoon (11) scores ahead of LSU guard Kieran Hayward (5) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Southeastern Conference tournament Wednesday, March 8, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne) AP

  • Florida forward Devin Robinson (1) dunks the ball for two of his game high 24-points as LSU guard Jalyn Patterson (11) and LSU guard Kieran Hayward (5) watch in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, in Baton Rouge, La. Florida won 106-71. (AP Photo/Bill Feig) AP



@MattVautourDHG
Thursday, May 18, 2017

The newest member of the UMass men’s basketball program might have the distinction of being the player who traveled the furthest to play for the Minutemen.

Kieran Hayward, a 6-foot-4 guard from Sydney, Australia, played one season at LSU before choosing to transfer. He made his announcement via Instagram at 1:45 a.m.

“Ready for the next Chapter! Thanks to the entire coaching staff and community at UMass for providing me with this opportunity! Huge thanks at well to the guys at @ausa_hoops for helping in guiding me through this transition! Can’t wait to get things rolling”

The post included a picture of him with a UMass No. 0 uniform photoshopped on him.

Hayward, who averaged 1.2 points in 8.2 minutes at LSU, will have three years of eligibility remaining after sitting out 2017-18.

Hayward spent Thursday flying home, going from Louisiana, to California, to Hawaii to Australia. During his California layover he talked about how excited he was to be joining the Minutemen.

“The coaching staff really showed me love and looked like they really wanted me to be there,” Hayward said. “That was the deciding factor for me, making me feel at home. Coach (Matt) McCall and the coaching staff there is going to take me to the next level to become the best all-around player I can be.”

Hayward said he has more to offer than what he got a chance to show at LSU.

“I love shooting. That’s one of the major strengths, scoring,” Hayward said.

He arrived at LSU as a three-star recruit, according to 247Sports, and was the No. 62-ranked shooting guard in his class.

Hayward will join UMass’ sitting four of Curtis Cobb (Fairfield), Jonathan Laurent (Rutgers) and Keon Clergeot (Memphis), who’ll all become eligible in 2018-19.

Hayward liked the idea of the four of them sitting out together.

“I’m just trying to work on my whole game,” he said. “With more than one of us sitting out I’ll have a chance to get better and build that chemistry so we can hit the floor running at this point next season.”

Hayward will spend about two weeks in Australia before returning briefly to Baton Rouge. He’s expecting to arrive in Amherst in late June.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage