If Texas basketball history is any indication, Jaxson Hayes may have a long career ahead of him in the NBA.
Hayes was named the Big 12’s freshman of the year on Sunday. He becomes the sixth Longhorn to win the honor, following the trail set by the likes of Kevin Durant, Tristan Thompson and Myles Turner over the last 12 years.
Hayes, who ranks third in the Big 12 in blocks (70), was also named second-team All-Big 12 and landed on the all-defense, all-newcomer and all-freshman teams. The awards were voted on by the league coaches, who cannot vote for their own players.
“My expectations were to just come in my freshman year, give good minutes when coach needed me to and that changed obviously as we stated playing,” Hayes told the American- Statesman in late January. “It’s definitely a lot harder than I thought it would be. It’s a lot more physical game, a lot more pace to it.”
Hayes, a 6-11 forward from Cincinnati, is widely projected to be a possible NBA lottery pick should he enter the draft after this season. It’s unclear which direction he’s leaning. He’s averaging 10.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. Hayes went the entire regular season without a single double-double.
Hayes’ situation is similar to that of Jarrett Allen two years ago. He may want to stay but the money is too great by bypass. Even players taken in the middle of the first round last year received guaranteed two-year deals worth at least $6 million.
Last season, there was no doubt Mo Bamba would leave Texas after one year. He was a one-and-done player all the way. Allen and Bamba are now well into their NBA careers with the Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic, respectively.
Also, guards Matt Coleman III and Kerwin Roach II received honorable mention status from the Big 12 coaches.
Roach has been suspended the last five games, but the Statesman reported last week he would be reinstated for this week’s Big 12 tournament in Kansas City. An official announcement is expected to come Monday from school officials.
Big 12 bracket locked: The Big 12 office confirmed Sunday that Texas will be the No. 6 seed in this week’s league tournament and face No. 3 seed Kansas at approximately 8:30 p.m. Thursday. The winner will face No. 2 seed Texas Tech on Friday.
Kansas State and Texas Tech shared the league championship by virtue of both having 14-4 league records. K-State will be the No. 1 seed in the Big 12 tournament due to the league’s tiebreaker policies.
The tournament begins Wednesday when No. 8 seed TCU faces No. 9 Oklahoma State at 6 p.m. No. 7 seed Oklahoma will then play No. 10 West Virginia at approximately 8:30 p.m.
All games are at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.
Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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