Hayes’ Fifth Year More Than a Second Chance
The day was April 22, 2016. A seven-footer stood hunched at the podium during the Georgetown men’s basketball banquet. He thanked everyone involved in helping his dream to play at Georgetown come true. Then, in a few short turns of phrase, he not only shocked everyone in the room, but also the entire Georgetown community.
“I love it so much here that I might have to come back a fifth year,” graduate student center and captain Bradley Hayes said in his speech at the banquet. “I recently found out that the NCAA has granted me a fifth year of eligibility, and I will be playing next year.”
Fast forward six months later, and senior center Hayes can still barely contain his excitement about playing a fifth season.
“Of course, I’m excited, every adjective you can think of,” Hayes said. “I’m just excited to be back and I’m ready to do a lot of the things I did in the conference last year.”
In the 2015-2016 season, Hayes averaged more than four minutes of playing time for the first time of his career. As the starting center for the Hoyas, Hayes averaged 21.4 minutes while shooting 54.1 percent from the field. Hayes averaged 8.7 points per game, 6.7 rebounds per game and one block per game.
Head Coach John Thompson III explained the importance of having Hayes back for his fifth season.
“Having BJ around is important,” Coach Thompson said. “BJ has a big east championship, and he can talk to everyone else about that. He understands, and he’s someone that cares also.”
Due to his increased workload and his experience both on and off the court, Hayes was elected captain by his teammates last season. He not only had to adjust to being a full-time starter, but also someone to whom his teammates admired.
Hayes got off to a fast start last season, scoring 19 points and bringing in 12 rebounds in Georgetown’s season opener, an 82-80 double-overtime loss to Radford. In his second game as a starter, against then-No. 3 Maryland, Hayes scored 16 points and snagged eight rebounds in the 75-71 loss.
Performances such as these instilled belief in Hayes, so much there was speculation on whether or not he should leave for the professional leagues instead of returning for a fifth year.
“Everybody has their time,” Hayes said. “I just didn’t feel like I was ready. If I had to be forced to go, obviously I would have prepared myself, but I was happy to get this year back because it allowed me to look back on my senior season and see what I could improve on and do better.”
Inconsistent play and defensive lapses hurt the Hoyas all throughout last season, things Hayes and the rest of the team look to improve this year.
As the seven-footer enters his final season donning Blue and Grey, he wants to leave his lasting imprint on the Hilltop.
“I want to be remembered as a lot of things, but, most importantly, I just want to leave it better than when it was when I got here,” Hayes said. “When I got here we won the regular season, we had a lot other good things, but it didn’t end the way we wanted to. I want to be remembered as part of a team that did something amazing here.”