May 2, 2012

Hayes from Honker to Penguin

Kevin McCarthy

Yuba City's Matt Hayes has owned the Tri-County Athletic League for some time, having earned most valuable player honors two years running. That obviously caught the attention of a number of college coaches and Dominican University's Booker Harris is now the one with Hayes' name on the dotted line.

photo of Matt Hayes

So what did Hayes do to celebrate his scholarship achievement?

He took a training plan developed specifically for him by the Dominican University coaching staff and went to the gym after dinner, carrying out the workout program.

Yes, when the majority of new signees would be resting on their laurels or basking in glory, Hayes was focused on improvement.

Typically, that's all you would need to know about the heart and mind of the 6-foot-1 sharpshooter.

But he also sports a 4.4 grade point average, and this with taking AP classes in his course load.

With Hayes, it's the maximization of the possible -- simple in approach, but requiring time, effort and focus in order to realize his potential.

There, that's all that's necessary to understand that he models the prototype for success.

But, of course, there's more about the young man.

It was the level of comfort with all that Dominican had to offer that did the trick for Hayes.

As he explained, "it's a great fit of academics and athletics with an up-and-coming basketball program and just a place where I'll be successful."

What he will bring to the court is "definitely shooting, just being competitive. I'll do whatever it takes to win."

He'll be joining some familiar talents as junior-to-be Penguin Connor Haysbert played at Center High in Antelope and fellow prepster K.J. Logue, out of Fair Oaks' Bella Vista High, is also coming aboard to join the waddle.

Dominican plays in the Pacific West Conference, along with Academy of Art University, BYU Hawaii, Chaminade, California Baptist, Dixie State, Grand Canyon, Hawaii-Hilo and Notre Dame de Namur so that means a couple of games each season over in the islands.

As to where he'll be positioned on the court, Hayes said, "probably a two." For the record, Hayes scored 23 points per game, finishing just short of 100 treys, in the 2011-12 season.

But what's most fascinating about his game is although he isn't the tallest or stoutest, "I can rebound really well and guard bigger guys. I have a strong lower body and work to get good position. I try to time it correctly, knowing when to jump." To the tune of 12 boards (and no, that isn't a typo) a contest in his senior year.

Asked about his best moment on the court , Hayes recalled it took place late this season in a February 22 playoff matchup with Del Campo High. "I nailed a dagger three and the crowd went silent" in a 74-65 Honker victory.

He's looking to be a pre-med major.