|Freshman||6’11” 220||Center||Texas||DOB: 5/23/2000|
|10 ppg||5 rpg||2.2 bpg||FG: 72.8%||FT: 74%|
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NBA Comparison: Nerlens Noel
Strengths: Athleticism, Rim Protection, Mobility
Weaknesses: Raw Offensively, Average Production. Strength
Hayes came into Texas with some hype as an athletic big man, but there were not many that expected him to be a one and done player. Hayes was ranked 112th by Rivals, 129th by 247 sports, and 89th by ESPN which is a far cry from the usually top ten or twenty ranking you see from a potential one and done first round pick. What has happened since he arrived on campus is that NBA teams have become intrigued with his ability to be a highly efficient big man who can bring solid defense to the table as well. His athleticism is elite for someone his size, allowing him to finish around the rim with short shots/dunks, put backs, and alley-oops. On the defensive side of the ball his athleticism leads to plenty of blocked shots, with Hayes averaging 2.2 per game in his only college season. It is not just his athleticism that leads to blocked shots as his length is solid at 7’3″, something that can help him on both ends of the floor. In addition to his vertical abilities, he runs the floor and moves laterally very well for a 6’11” player, which is an attribute that will be required of him with all of the fast break or pick and roll situations.
Despite being efficient shooting it at 72.8% from the field overall, his offensive game is very limited. The majority of his points came off of fast break dunks, put backs, and alley oops. With his back to the basket he lacks many moves, something that he will need to improve going forward. There is hope that he can extend his jump shot to at least the mid range with him shooting free throws at 74% as a freshman on 3.1 attempts. While the numbers are pretty solid from the line, his mechanics will need some work but he has shown the potential skill is there. There is no doubt he will get most of his production on dunks and effort plays, but if he can expand his game out from the basket he will have a much higher ceiling as an offensive player. One concern is the fact that he only played 23.3 minutes per game, averaging just 10 points to go with 5 rebounds. The numbers are solid in the limited minutes, but teams would feel much more confident in his future if there had been more production in his lone year at Texas.
This play shows off his athletic ability:
This clip gives you an example of his rim protection skills:
Hayes is viewed as a potential first round pick. His projections are all over the map from the top 10 to the 20’s later in the first round. Teams like his potential due to possessing size, length, and athleticism which should have a team taking a chance on him somewhere in the first round. His ceiling as a professional is a starter level center, playing elite defense and putting up average offensive numbers. The worst case scenario for Hayes is that he is unable to expand his offensive game, causing him to come off of the bench being used mainly as a rim protector in a reserve role.