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Get to know Jaxson Hayes, Kentucky’s new 2018 target

There is a new name on John Calipari’s recruiting board for the Class of 2018 and it’s a surprising one.

Calipari extended a scholarship offer to Jaxson Hayes, a blossoming prospect out of nearby Cincinnati, on Tuesday. Hayes is only the second big man on UK’s board with an offer, and many are wondering why it went to him and not Simi Shittu, who Calipari loves.


Power Forward/Center 6-11 | 195 lbs. Cincinnati, OH Archbishop Moeller
ESPN: Unranked Top 247: 160 | 41 PF Rivals: Unranked Scout: Unranked

Hayes is considered a long-term project due to his inexperience and skinny frame, but Cal obviously sees the potential or he wouldn’t have extended the offer. Other big programs see the potential, too — Hayes also has offers from Texas, Ohio State, Purdue, Xavier, Illinois, Butler and Dayton, among many others.

You’ll hear plenty more from Hayes in the coming days as speculation of a commitment heats up, so you better go ahead and get familiar with him. Here’s what you need to know…


He hasn’t started a game in high school.

By now you’ve probably heard: Hayes hasn’t started a single game of high school basketball — not on the varsity team, not on the JV team and not on the freshman team…

… yet he holds a scholarship offer from the University of Kentucky.

He averaged less than 10 minutes per game last season.

Hayes was a reserve for Ohio state tournament runner-up Archbishop Moeller in his junior season, his first on varsity. He averaged around three to four points per contest off the bench.

He’s grown almost a foot taller since his freshman year.

Hayes was 6-1 as a freshman, and has grown to 6-11 entering his senior year at Moeller.

Anthony Davis 2.0?

“He’s literally getting better by the hour.”

That is what his head coach, Carl Kremer, told WCPO in Cincinnati back in July.

He visited Kentucky on Sept 2.

Hayes took an unofficial visit to Lexington on Saturday, September 2.

He took official visits to Texas and Xavier.

Hayes visited the Longhorns on September 8; then Xavier on September 15.

Football was his first love.

Before the sudden growth spurt, Hayes thought his future was in football. He was being recruited as a tight end and wide receiver, and took a visit to Iowa, his father’s alma mater.

His father is the tight ends coach for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Hayes is the oldest son of 12-year NFL veteran Jonathan Hayes, who is in his fifteenth season as the Bengals’ tight ends coach.

His mother was a college basketball star.

Mama Hayes scored more than 1,500 points for Drake and was the 1995 Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year. She went on to coach at Southern Illinois-Carbondale, Iowa and Oklahoma.

So the kid has pretty good genes, huh?

He is a friend and classmate of UK tight end commit, Brendan Bates.

Bates committed to Kentucky back in March and has been billed as the tight end of the future for Kentucky football.

He played AAU ball with Romeo Langford.

Hayes played alongside Romeo Langford on the Kentucky-based 22 Vision AAU team on the adidas circuit this past summer.

Learn more about him in this news story:

Watch his highlights:

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

10 Comments for Get to know Jaxson Hayes, Kentucky’s new 2018 target

  1. BluKudzu
    12:27 pm September 20, 2017 Permalink

    WAS 2.0?

  2. BluKudzu
    12:37 pm September 20, 2017 Permalink


    • Bluegrass79
      1:18 pm September 20, 2017 Permalink

      there is no doubt about it….WCS for sure.

  3. BlueGrass
    1:58 pm September 20, 2017 Permalink

    C’mon MOM! You can’t call him out like that at the end of the first video, “he hasn’t beat me yet.”

  4. postfeeder
    4:26 pm September 20, 2017 Permalink

    This is coming from an old timer, but this kid reminds me of Sam Bowie more than WCS.

    • Wilfred Smith
      6:40 pm September 20, 2017 Permalink

      Sam didn’t play WR….

  5. blueballs80
    12:02 am September 21, 2017 Permalink

    Def reminds me of WCS. He is a late bloomer but he has the athletic ability fuh sho

  6. Sentient Third Eye
    9:33 am September 21, 2017 Permalink

    As someone who once grew a foot in less than a year myself, I know the kid is probably just now getting used to his body. That’s probably why he hasn’t started any games or excelled yet. He’s been more focused on not falling on his face or walking into every door-facing he passes through. It takes about two years to “learn” your new body. So don’t hold his past stats against him.

  7. catsfan27
    10:24 am September 21, 2017 Permalink

    Looks like he plays for 22 vision. Maybe news on the Romeo front?

  8. a21CATSfan
    5:07 pm September 21, 2017 Permalink

    I believe Cal will only have 5-6 open scholarships to work with (2 open now, 2-3 early entrants and a transfer), and he is trying to replace a big body at practice. There aren’t a lot of options left, but Shittu still doesn’t hold an offer. If he (Hayes) turns out to be WCS, cool, but maybe Cal is just trying to get a commitment. Also saw where Quickley has a couple predictions to Kansas on 247.