June 20, 2005
With all the talk of underclassmen dominating NBA draft discussions, let's remember there are a number of quality seniors who will be selected.
I want to talk about one senior who's a winner and who's capable of contributing in the NBA. Kentucky's Chuck Hayes brings a special attitude that is contagious to everyone around him.
Hayes is the kind of guy you want on your team. I don't care about measuring his speed and quickness and other tangible factors that we hear about at draft time.
|Chuck Hayes averaged 10.9 points per game, but his intangibles are more impressive than his offense.|
Often players are judged solely on those elements, and NBA teams forget about the intangibles that can make a big-time difference. It seems the NBA is looking for Olympians in other sports instead of winning basketball players.
I'm talking hoops, and Hayes is a warrior with incredible toughness. He brings a physical presence to the court.
I remember hearing people who were critical of Udonis Haslem when he came out of Florida. Now look at what he's bringing to the table for the Miami Heat.
In his senior year at Kentucky, Hayes averaged 10.9 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.
He'll never be a star in the NBA, and he'll probably never become a starter. But he can be a role player who will be a factor in practice every day, making his teammates work hard. I believe he will make an NBA roster, and with his hard work and effort he'll find a way to earn playing time.
Coaches love guys with that special attitude who'll do anything to help a club win. Hayes is a fighter, a battler, a competitor and, most of all, a winner.
An NBA team should see his potential. He will be an asset, and clubs should consider him earlier than many experts are projecting.
With all the underclassmen, he could be pushed down the list. So Hayes could be a real bargain on draft day.
Dick Vitale coached the Detroit Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question to Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.