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InsideHoops NBA [HOME] July 28, 2003

Jarvis Hayes Has Potential Through the Roof





Hayes - like James, Anthony - provides Washington, league with potential posterboy

Last Sunday afternoon, I made my third annual trip to the University of Massachusetts-Boston for the NBA Pro Summer League. Arriving without a ticket to a sold out doubleheader, headlined by a basketball godsend, left me with the possibility of disappointment. However, I managed to get a ticket from a fan in the lobby who stated that, “scalpers were selling tickets for $85 before." This unheard of price was solely due to the fact that the new human measuring stick for hype may take the floor in Boston for the final time until the season gets underway. A game-time decision was at hand based on an injury suffered by the Eastern Conference savior. Imagine driving a grueling hour on a Sunday afternoon to see your first live peek at a highly anticipated lottery pick, only to find out his injury is keeping him out of the game. The disappointment was inching it's way back into my anatomy. This is a promising star with a winning attitude we’re talking about. This is a lottery pick playing in a media capital, which increases marketability. This is Jarvis Hayes we’re talking about. What, you weren't following?

Granted the buzz around the Bean was all for LeBron James, his inability to play Sunday would only partly have contributed to my downtrodden ride home. Jarvis Hayes might not fit all of the aforementioned descriptions, however, he and LeBron did share some of those misconstruing tags.

Both rookies were supposed to take the floor for Washington and Cleveland on the final day of the Summer League, but had been hampered by injuries suffered during the week. A strained neck made a seven game week of court time into a two game week for Hayes. Sunday, he was a game-time decision.

“He’s going to try, he’s going to suit up and give it a workout before but we’ll see,” said newly instilled Washington Coach Eddie Jordan, in the stands watching his former associate the New Jersey Nets trounce the hometown Celtics.

Never making it out of his Jordan Wizards jersey, Hayes watched from the baseline as the Wiz overcame a double-digit deficit to defeat James and the Cavs. Unlike LeBron, and to his benefit, this hasn’t been the first time Jarvis has had to endure hoop-resulted growing pains at a high level.

Along with brother Jonas, Jarvis transferred from Western Carolina following his Freshman year as a result of coach Phil Hopkins’ firing. From there it was to Georgia and more coaching struggles. The Harrick’s rekindling situation of scandal continued and kept the peaking Bulldogs out of the NCAA Tournament, where they would have likely been no less than a three seed. This summer’s pre-draft camps even sparked criticism toward Jarvis for a late start on workouts.

Nevertheless, Hayes has prevailed through each of these obstacles. LeBron’s future had been known regardless of the result of his high school eligibility controversies, whereas Jarvis had to decide the next step for his future more than once, without any directly foreseen upsides. It’s hard to believe that this has not made the swingman better prepared for that midyear slump concurrent of most NBA rookies.

Another upside of Hayes’ demeanor as a rookie is his win-first attitude and play that isn’t geared toward pleasing the cameras. Discipline off the ball and composure with it are two key qualities that the 6’7, 220 lb. small forward possesses. He typically rolls through screens for the outside jumper or works his defender on the block where he can turn or fade a good percentage of the time. Crossovers, top of the key isolations, alley-oop throwing and look away passes aren’t key dimensions of Jarvis’ game, but his fluidity and three point efficiency is enough to make any logical fan notice. Hayes' perimeter game resembles that of Tracy McGrady’s catch-and-shoot technique and ability to set. Adding to the range of offensive tactics, his first step to the hoop is much like Denver’s Carmelo Anthony. It is one that creates space to either power dribble to a different spot for a jumper or position oneself for a hoop and a foul in the paint.

Besides the National Championship as a Freshman and Nike contract, NBA marketing officials’ favorite new acquisition Carmelo Anthony’s choosing to sign his contract later than expected of most lottery picks was equally impressive. This enabled the Nuggets to acquire some additional payroll in their attempt to work the free agent market in July. At first, it was Gilbert Arenas whose name was speculated as the next Denver point guard. Like Anthony’s case, Hayes’ decision of not signing his contract gave the Wizards an exemption from being charged a 20 percent increase, or around $290,000, as reported by The Washington Post’s Steve Whyce. And where is Arenas now? Alongside Jarvis in Washington.

Displaying character of this nature is something that Anthony is already being recognized for. Jarvis’ heading to Washington, a media capital in the U.S., with the we-before-me approach early in his career and natural scoring skills will bold well for him. Despite an unhyped future in a draft class with a tag team for the marketing ages, Hayes could provide the NBA with a diamond in the rough in its attempt to present young stars with such traits as centerpieces of the game.

Scoring 13 and 18 points in the two summer league games he played is certainly respectful for a rookie, but it is understood that a summer league scroll does not lead to scripture. Washington’s backcourt is full of youth and their franchise guy. Gilbert Arenas, Steve Blake, Juan Dixon, Larry Hughes, and Jerry Stackhouse are a formidable lineup that presents a battle for minutes. If Jarvis’ production mirrors his summer league play, then he can only add firepower to a deep lineup. Thus, a win-win situation formulates for Wizards’ President of Basketball Operations Ernie Grunfeld. The possibility of shopping Dixon or Hughes along with an unproductive, third-seasoned Kwame Brown for a veteran frontcourt player in the future could present itself. Through it all, a Caron Butler-esque year for Hayes would certainly sit well with the fans of Washington and NBA marketing chiefs.

Patrick Stevens is a Journalism Major at the University of Rhode Island

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