|LA Hayes-2023-Brook Park, OH.|
As we’ve stated several times before, Ohio’s class of 2023 could be one of the best we’ve seen in years. Right at the top of the class is LA Hayes (5’7/PG/Brook Park), who has been one of the most consistent young players we’ve seen in a while. Not only has Hayes enjoyed success on the travel team circuit running with the Shooting Stars, he has been a consistent standout performer at our elite showcases. In fact, Hayes is not only a perennial all-star at our events, he routinely takes home Top 5 Awards. Moreover, Hayes is easily among our top 5 in the state and could make an argument for the top spot based on his consistent play. In terms of Northeast Ohio kids, Hayes is one the top 2-3 players in the area!
As further evidence of his consistent play, he was selected to participate in the prestigious Ohio North vs South All-Star Game in September, where his breakout performance led to MVP Honors. Mind you, Ohio’s best of the best participated in that game! Moreover, based on his body of work in 2016, Hayes was selected as Buckeye Prep’s Second Team All-Ohio. According to Damon Stringer, coach of Hayes’ Cleveland Heights winter team, Hayes is averaging 18 points per game and is the second leading rebounder as a guard. Stringer had this to say about Hayes, “…LA is an all-around player. His on ball defense is second to none, he puts pressure at the top of our defense, and is good in transition. If I had to start a team, I would start with LA,” Stringer said.
From what we’ve seen, Hayes is a threat to score in catch and shoot situations, and his solid handle, aggressiveness and length allow him to get to and finish at the basket. Although it’s either a 3-ball or a lay up at the rim for Hayes right now, when he develops a mid-range game he’s going to be tough to handle. Also, he’s a great on ball defender, who also uses his long arms to step into passing lanes, collect steals, and then finish easy transition buckets. In our post event report in September of 2015, we had this to say about Hayes, “…We were well aware of Hayes and Molton, as both players attended our September elite showcase, and not only did they get all-star game nods, they went on to secure MVP honors and were both ranked in the top five in our post event rankings. We were really impressed with Hayes’ motor, aggressiveness to the cup and his willingness to defend. What’s most impressive is the fact that he competed against older guys and more than held his own.”
He’s not yet a national name, but Hayes has a chance to build on his national reputation as he participates more at national events. In fact, there are some suggestions that Hayes might be balling with the North Coast Blue Chips this season. If that’s the case, he will have the opportunity to make more noise nationally. We look forward to seeing Hayes in action at our March 4th elite Showcase.