Five Facts: Baynes, Hayward, Irving, Larkin, Morris
BOSTON – The Boston Celtics have had one of their busiest summers in recent memory, as they have added nearly a dozen new faces to the roster.
A few weeks ago, you met Boston's rookies. Now, it's time to meet the veteran additions. We've dug up five fun facts on our newest acquisitions, and so, with the season right around the corner, it's time to brush up on your team trivia.
The 6-foot-10 center is a former NBA champion who played his first three seasons with the San Antonio Spurs and his last two with the Detroit Pistons.
- Baynes is one of four players in NBA history who was born in New Zealand. The other three are Steven Adams, Sean Marks and Kirk Penney. Baynes, however, identifies as an Australian, the country in which he was raised.
- He originally had aspirations to become a rugby player. However, his brother Callum, a former professional basketball player who is four and a half years older than Aron, introduced him to hoops at the age of 15, and he soon fell in love with the sport.
- Baynes played four years of professional basketball in four different countries before coming to the NBA. He started out at the age of 22 in the Lithuanian Basketball League, then played in the German Basketball Bundesliga, then moved on to the Greek Basket League, and lastly played for in the Slovenian Basketball league, before signing with the San Antonio Spurs in 2013.
- During his teenage years, Baynes began following the Spurs and he attempted to adopt some of Tim Duncan’s moves. Ten years later, the Spurs signed him to his first NBA contract, which allowed him to suit up alongside his childhood idol and eventually win an NBA title in 2014.
- Baynes made his first NBA start during Game 4 of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Los Angeles Lakers. His assignment that night was to guard All-NBA center Dwight Howard. Baynes tallied six points and had a plus/minus rating of plus-15, while helping to limit Howard to seven points and eight boards during San Antonio's 103-83 win.
The 6-foot-8 forward is a Butler University product who earned his first All-Star nod with the Utah Jazz last season. He comes to Boston with seven years of NBA experience under his belt.
- Hayward was a star tennis player at Brownsburg High School in Brownsburg, Indiana. He played mixed doubles with his twin sister, Heather, and the duo competed together in the Indiana State Open. Heather continued her tennis career at Butler University, where Gordon would also attend to pursue a basketball career.
- Hayward almost gave up on basketball following his freshman season at Brownsburg. He stood 5-foot-11 at the time and was projected to top out at 6-2 at most, so he did not think playing college basketball was a realistic goal. Hayward’s mother, however, swayed him to continue to pursue his hoops dream. He surprisingly shot up to 6-4 by the start of his sophomore season and now stands 6-8.
- Hayward earned first team All-State honors during his senior high school season when he guided Brownsburg to the Indiana Class 4A state championship. He famously hit the game-winning layup during the 2008 state title game, which allowed the Bulldogs to edge Marion High School 40-39.
- During his sophomore season at Butler, Hayward averaged 15.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game and was named Horizon League Player of the Year. Under the tutelage of former Bulldogs head coach and current Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, Hayward helped lead Butler to a Cinderella appearance in the NCAA championship game, which the Bulldogs lost to Duke, 60-59. He was inches away from becoming the NCAA Tournament Hero, but his Hail Mary, game-winning attempt from half court clanked off the rim at the buzzer, causing Butler to fall by one point.
- Off the court, Hayward’s passion is video games. He is avid in the gaming community and has even participated in the IGN Pro League. Hayward competed in his first eSports event in 2011, when was one of 256 gamers who qualified for a Starcraft II tournament in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Irving is a four-time All-Star and was the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. The 6-foot-3, 2016 NBA champion point guard shares a March 23 birthday with Hayward.
- Irving’s father Drederick played college basketball at Boston University from 1984 to 1988. He had his No. 11 jersey retired at BU and is third on the Terriers’ all-time scoring list. After graduating, he was invited to the Celtics’ free-agent camp, but he did not earn a roster spot.
- Irving was born in Melborne, Australia, while his father was playing professional basketball for the Bulleen Boomers. Irving, who has dual citizenship in Australia and the United States, is one of 15 Australian-born players to make the NBA and the first to earn All-Star status.
- Former All-NBA point guard Rod Strickland is Irving’s godfather. Strickland played 18 NBA seasons and led the league in assists during the 1997-98 season as a member of the Washington Wizards.
- In 2016, Irving became just the fourth player in league history to win an NBA championship and an Olympic gold medal during the same calendar year. He and former teammate LeBron James joined Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen on the elite list.
- Irving wrote and directed a series of Pepsi commercials in which he starred as “Uncle Drew” – an elderly man with superstar street ball skills. The commercials were such a hit that they prompted Irving to create a feature-length Uncle Drew film. The movie, which also features former NBA players Reggie Miller, Shaquille O’Neal, Nate Robinson and Chris Webber, is set to release June 29, 2018.
The 5-foot-11 point guard has three seasons of NBA experience with three different teams. He has played for Dallas, New York and Brooklyn, as well as a stint overseas last year in Spain.
- Larkin is the son of Hall-of-Fame shortstop Barry Larkin. Barry was the 1995 National League MVP, earned 12 All-Star selections, three Gold Glove Awards and nine Silver Slugger Awards during his 19 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds.
- Larkin has three uncles on his father’s side who were also standout athletes. Stephen Larkin was a teammate of Barry on the Reds. Byron Larkin was a second-team All-American and the all-time leading scorer for the Xavier men’s basketball team. And Mike Larkin was a captain on Notre Dame’s football team during the mid-1980s.
- Larkin originally wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a baseball player. When he was in elementary school he received hitting tips from all-time hits leader Pete Rose and Hall-of-Fame infielder Tony Perez.
- Larkin played two seasons at the University of Miami under renowned college coach Jim Larranaga – the father of Celtics assistant coach Jay Larranaga.
- Larkin averaged 14.5 points, 4.6 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game during his sophomore season (2012-13) at Miami, all while shooting 47.9 percent from the field, including 40.6 percent from 3-point range. He was named ACC Player of the Year and earned the Lute Olson Award, which is given annually to the most outstanding non-freshman player in the nation.
The 6-foot-9 forward is a six-year NBA vet who has played for Houston, Phoenix and Detroit. He is the twin brother of Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris.
- Morris played three seasons alongside his twin brother Markieff at the University of Kansas. During his junior season, he earned Big 12 Player of the Year honors after averaging 17.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game for the Jayhawks.
- Morris enjoyed reading when he was a child, so his grandmother gave him the nickname “Mook Book.” The nickname was shortened to “Mook,” which has stuck with him ever since.
- Marcus was born Sept. 2, 1989, seven minutes after Markieff. He was fittingly drafted five minutes after Markieff when Houston selected him 14th overall – one pick after his slightly-older brother – in the 2011 NBA Draft.
- He started a game for the Phoenix Suns alongside Markieff on March 10, 2013, marking the first time in NBA history that a set of twins were in the same starting lineup.
- Morris’ career playoff scoring average of 17.8 points per game nearly doubles his regular season average of 10.8 PPG. He saw a spike in his regular season scoring over the last two seasons in Detroit, where he averaged 14.1 PPG over 159 contests.