For a guy who wasn't drafted, Hayes has found his niche in the Bayou City. He spent part of the 2005 season in the NBA Developmental League, where he played 14 games for Albuquerque before the Rockets gave him the call he had been waiting for. He endured a coaching change this offseason but with defense often at a premium in the NBA, Hayes has a bright future under new head coach Rick Adelman. Kentucky Sports Report recently caught up with him in Dallas and here's what Hayes had to say.
"I had a great time," Hayes said when asked to sum up his years at Kentucky. "It was a great four years. I think I made the best choice that I could have possibly made by choosing UK. I miss it but now I go back and now I'm the alum and the old guy. It's good though."
Hayes spent all four years playing for Smith, someone to whom he feels a huge debt of gratitude for helping him learn the nuances of becoming a better defender.
"I thank him as much as I can whenever I can," he said. "He helped me out on the court as far as sacrificing and doing what you have to do to get better if you want to see the court. Off the court, he taught me that once you leave this campus, you're going to become a man out there in the real world and that's what he tried to prepare us for. I try to thank him for that every time that I can."