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.
— Rel (@TheHowardWay32) September 2, 2017
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.
— Brenden Bates (@BatesBrenden) September 20, 2017
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: