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Recently on an interview with Sportsradio 610 Jason Friedman announced he was going to do his best to get Chuck on the All Defensive team this season. With Yao out, he is hopeful that Hayes will get the minutes to be noticed.
The campaign started today. On Rockets.com
Despite being generously listed at 6-6, Chuck has already risen to the challenge of checking massive centers (Greg Oden and Andrew Bynum), skilled fours (LaMarcus Aldridge) and scoring two-guards (Corey Maggette) this season. No real surprise there, though. That’s just how Hayes rolls and he does it with aplomb. There’s just one problem: it’s difficult to tell how effective he really is simply by breezing through a nightly box score. Hayes comes out well in steals (we’ll get to that in a moment) but blocked shots aren’t really his calling card. All of which might make it somewhat challenging to sell a still-skeptical public on Hayes’ credentials as a cream of the crop defensive maestro.
“I may not be top in the league in blocks but if I’m guarding, say, LaMarcus Aldridge and I make him shoot a bad percentage, then I hope they pay attention to that,” says Hayes. “I just wish there was a stat for keeping your man to the lowest field goal percentage.”
Well guess what, Chuck? You just so happen to work for the most number-crunching team in the league. Of course there’s a stat for that!
Consider these numbers (courtesy of the Rockets’ Basketball Operations department):
Steals: Hayes ranks 2nd (out of 303 players; behind only Rajon Rondo) in the entire league in Steal% (Steals per defensive possession). Keep in mind, the top spots in this category are typically reserved for point guards and wings, as illustrated by the fact that Hayes currently is the only big in the Top 10.
Lest you think his lofty status is simply a byproduct of a small sample size, since 2007, Hayes ranks 14th in the entire league in Stl% and is by far the best big (1st out of 127). No other post player is even in the top 35.
Charges: (Offensive Fouls Drawn per defensive possession) Since 2008 Hayes is top 10 (6th out of 265) in the entire league in drawing offensive fouls.
Team Defense: Since 2005, Hayes has the best Defensive Efficiency Rating (Based on team points allowed per defensive possession while the player is on the floor) regardless of position in the entire league.
After Jason posted his rational, Henry Abbot at ESPN’s Truehoop
Chuck Hayes is starting in place of Yao Ming, and the Rockets are out of the gates 3-2, which makes them just one of ten NBA teams with a winning record. They’ve beaten Golden State, Portland and Utah, and lost to the Lakers by a single point. Tonight they play the Thunder, which will be the first time all season Houston has been favored to win.
How have they had this surprising starless success? 6-6 Chuck Hayes is tiny for an NBA center, but he’s a huge part of the reason.
Jason Friedman of Rockets.com is kicking off a campaign to get Chuck Hayes on the NBA’s All-Defense team. I’ll second that.
It’s very hard to put into words what I want to say about Bill Keightley.
So I am going to say it like this and hope that my words ring true.
To me he epitomizes what is truly beautiful about being a UK fan.
My family, like so many in Kentucky, have followed and cheered the Wildcats for many many years, even though I was in high school before I was able to attend a game at Rupp. My father, well he was over 40 before he was able to see a game there. My grandfather, in his 60’s. But for years, Mr. Wildcat, equipment manager, symbolized for us the every fan. He was, at least in my mind, my representation on the UK bench.
I don’t remember ever watching a UK game on television where I couldn’t find Mr. Keightley sitting on the bench. He was behind Tubby or next to Rick, or somewhere down the line of trainers and assistant coaches behind the players. It is sad that Billy Gillispie will only get one season of having him as part of the team, but I am pretty sure it didn’t take long for Gillispie to understand Mr. Wildcat’s role for our team.
A quote that stuck out to me from Gillispie today was that even with the disparity in their ages Keightley had become one of his best friends. He apparently had that affect on everyone, even those of us who never met him felt as though he would be a good friend.
The media will tell you that UK fans are rabid. That we are all monsters who run coaches out of town and that we don’t know a good thing when we have it. People have to understand that there are always going to be some people who do give our fandom and tradition a bad name by their behavior.
There are also UK fans who after hearing of Mr. Keightley’s death walked to Memorial Hall with candles to cry a bit and honor a man that gave half his life to the program that we all love.
Some UK fans won’t discover until morning that he is gone and will have to call their family and friends to relate the sad story, probably hiding a few sniffles as they read the news reports.
There will even be fans that will go to school with a symbol on their backpacks or ribbons on their jackets to show that they understood what a single person can bring to the UK family.
But if you want to see the definition of what a true UK fan is…
Look in Wikipedia under the name William (Bill) Bond Keightley.
Rest in Peace, Mr. Bill. We will never forget you and know you will be working on pulling the strings up there to get us another Championship banner.
Thanks to Matt at KSR
…The Rockets Are Red Hot
By Gene Peterson, Radio Play-by-Play, KILT 610 AM
Posted Mar 13 2008 5:59PM
NBA.com caught up with Houston Rockets’ broadcaster Gene Peterson to discuss why and how the Rockets are in the midst of a 20-game win streak. The Rockets expert provided 10 solid reasons that explain the team’s recent success.
1) The team’s adaptation to Rick Adelman’s system
The defense was there a year ago, which was something that Rick obviously was pushing hard to have continue, but they have adapted to his offensive style after taking a couple of months to fully adjust. His is a motion offense that is structured around everyone passing the ball, of everyone being involved. They did it earlier in the season before Yao got hurt and it has just continued. That is the most important factor as to why they’re playing so well right now.
2) A top notch T-Mac
Tracy is playing the best he has ever played in his entire career. I’ve told him that and he’s said other friends have told him the same thing. There is no question about it. He had to do a lot of things in Orlando – mainly scoring – that no one else could do. He even led the league in back to back years (’03 and ’04). Here he hasn’t had to do that. He’s been the consummate team player and very, very unselfish. He scores when he has to score. For example, against New Jersey he scored 19 but he could have scored two and we would have won that ballgame. He has adapted himself to Adelman’s style.
3) The coaching of Rick Adelman
The job that he has done as head coach is absolutely phenomenal. His substitution patterns have been terrific and when Yao Ming went down he was able to get this team to continue to play his style of basketball. Rick makes sure that they take it one game at a time. These guys are not caught up in a 20-game winning streak. How could they be when you see how close it is from No.1 to No.10 in the Western Conference? They are caught up in trying to make the playoffs. He has done a marvelous job of coaching this basketball team and I think he is one of the best in the business. This year he has really proved that.
4) Rafer Alston – no longer just ‘Skip To My Lou’
Rafer has been absolutely superb. A lot of people have maligned him but they don’t realize that he’s averaging double figures in scoring; he hands out six, seven, eight assists a ballgame; and he only turns it over twice a night. This young man is playing the best of any point guard in the league right now. That’s not to say he is the best point guard, but he is playing superb basketball and is a major reason the Rockets are having the success that they are.
5) The adaptation of the Van Gundy defensive style
Jeff Van Gundy instilled a lot of his defensive principles into these guys’ minds that were here last year and it has maintained. They have adapted that philosophy, led by Shane Battier, who is probably the best defensive forward in basketball. Every single night Shane gets the tough scorer. The other night he did a marvelous job on Vince Carter holding him to 5-for-15 shooting. Night after night he does it.
6) Daryl Morey: The Team Architect
Our general manager, Daryl Morey, has done a great job, mainly because he was given carte blanche by our owner, Leslie Alexander, to go get the likes of Luis Scola and Carl Landry. The deals were made and both have been major, major parts in the play of the Rockets this year. Scola had tremendous success while playing in Europe with Spain and with Argentina as a professional. Even though he’s one of the older rookies in the league at 27, this is a new story for him. The NBA is a much different style of basketball. And Carl Landry was just a gold find, having been obtained from the Sonics on draft day. This young man is a terrific young player and he’s got the heart of a lion. We’ll give a little bit of credit to the youngster, Aaron Brookes, too. Despite the arrival of Bobby Jackson recently, he’s had some very good moments with the Rockets.
7) The ageless Dikembe Mutombo
How about the play of this guy at 41 years old? He had to step in with just unbelievable shoes to fill with Yao Ming out for the year and all he did his first game in there was block four shots. The next game he blocked four more. The next game three more. Against New Jersey he blocked five. So in about 130 minutes of play he’s blocked about 15 shots. Dikembe Mutombo is just the consummate professional. He’s not going to score a lot of points for you, but he does the job in the middle. He plays 23-24 minutes a ball game and is extremely effective. His contributions have been a major reason as to how we’ve won eight straight without Yao Ming.
8.) Yao Ming, pre-injury
Yao Ming is just a terrific, terrific professional. He has skills that I don’t think any other 7-6 guy has. Because of his size he has defensive liabilities and he doesn’t have the greatest of hands and leaping ability, but when it comes to offensive skills, he has it all – the jumphook, the fadeaway jumpers. How many guys do you know 7-foot-6 that shoot 86 percent from the free throw line? He was a major part in this run for 12 games who was enjoying his best season to date before the unfortunate season-ending injury.
9) Chuck Hayes, Luther Head and the entire Rockets’ bench
Chuck Hayes is a guy that people say can’t start because he can’t score, but he has been another major factor coming off the bench for this team. He was starting for a long time, but since Scola was inserted in the starting lineup, we haven’t lost a game. Coming off the bench in situations where defense is required, and I’m talking about against the Tyson Chandlers of this league, the seven footers, you can’t say enough about Chuck Hayes and the great hustle that he provides. And as an added bonus he’s even had 12 assists in his last five games. Luther Head has been another guy who, with this outside shooting ability, has affected the game for the Rockets. Overall, whenever anybody has been called on by Adelman, they have gone in and done the job.
10) The Red Rowdies
The electricity of the fans in Houston over this last series has been terrific and I think the players would agree with that. Sometimes it hasn’t been as volatile and vociferous as you’d like it to be, but lately it has been a big boost. The city of Houston right now is caught up in Houston Rockets basketball, not in the Astros or anything else. Let’s face it, there’re only two championships in the city of Houston as big as it is – the fourth largest city in the United States – and both of those championships belong to the Houston Rockets.
“Voice of the Rockets”
Gene Peterson enters his 45th year in broadcasting this fall and his 33rd and final season as the “Voice of the Rockets.” In his career, Peterson has only missed 25 contests out of a possible 2,592 regular season games with the Rockets.
Peterson’s career began as a disc jockey in Brookings, South Dakota, with a dream to one day broadcast professional basketball games. His career took him to WECL in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, KOB in Albuquerque, New Mexico, KCMO in Kansas City, Missouri, and finally to KPRC in Houston, where he took the job of sports director.
In 1975, Peterson’s dream came true as he became the play-by-play announcer for the Rockets. Over three decades later, Peterson has called both NBA Championships for the Rockets, as well as the action of Houston’s greatest players from Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler on through the years to the current All-Stars of Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming.
A native of Albert Lea, Minnesota, Peterson became interested in broadcasting while serving his military duty with the United States Air Force. After his tour was over, he returned to Minnesota to study broadcasting at the Brown Institute in Minneapolis.
ROCKETS 117, PACERS 99
HOUSTON – Why Chuck Hayes? How come a franchise-record 16 straight Houston Rockets victories? What sense does it make? It’s all about unselfishness.
There’s a real team in downtown Houston. They play together. They pull for each other. They now have the most consecutive NBA victories that any Rockets team ever has fabricated. Yet after the 16th straight win – 117-99 over the outmanned Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night at Toyota Center – another streak entered into the Rockets’ minds.
The Rockets are on a six-game head-to-head losing streak against the Dallas Mavericks. They will try to reverse that skid in the second half of a TNT national doubleheader game in the American Airlines Center tonight at 8:30 p.m. It may help considerably that Dallas will go to war without their leading weapon Dirk Nowitzki, who was suspended for a game earlier in the day by the league office for his actions in Monday night’s game at Utah.
It also may work in Houston’s favor that Rockets coach Rick Adelman was able to limit Dikembe Mutombo to under eight minutes (7:45) of playing time and Luis Scola to under 22 minutes (21:43). But the Rockets will not care that they reached a season-high 66 first-half points. They won’t really be all lathered up that Chuck Hayes delivered a season-high 9 points and 11 rebounds.
They will be very glad that Chuck’s OK, though. Hayes came down from a rebound on an opposing player’s foot right before the first half, turning an ankle.
But here’s the most important thing. It’s called the unselfishness which Adelman and his players mention constantly.
Before you could say Rockets owner Les Alexander, at least of three of Chuck’s teammates would run out onto the court and be right at his side, checking on his condition.
“I saw that and it really sent me a special message,” Hayes said. “That’s the thing about this team. We really pull for each other. Plus, we know right now that with Yao (Ming) out, this team can’t afford to lose anyone else.”
Hayes felt his ankle would be a “little sore” on Thursday morning, but his presence came in handy when a few of Houston’s front-court regulars gave far below their greatest performances.
“We moved the ball well as a team,” Hayes said. “We did tonight, it was great. It shows how unselfish we are.”
It also shows why Rockets’ coach Rick Adelman deserves his newest award as NBA coach of the month for February. The Adelman approach to constant ball movement is making more and more of an impression on his players. It’s turning Tracy McGrady into an even better than he has been throughout his career.
McGrady was truly outstanding with 25 points, including 23 in the first half. It marked Tracy’s first 20-point opening half since he collected 21 against Denver last November.
“It’s all about confidence,” T-Mac said. “We’ve got a great chemistry and we’re playing so well. The guys really believe in each other. They’re hustling for loose balls. They’re doing whatever it takes to win.
“It’s history. We’re going to be in the books for a long, long time. Tonight was a short-term goal we had that we wanted to accomplish. We got it done tonight but it doesn’t stop there. We want to keep it moving. We don’t want to become complacent. We want to keep our eyes on the prize and win a championship. I think the way we pull together as a team is the best that I’ve ever been a part of. We get along.”
Indiana made a nice third-quarter run at the Rockets, trimming a 66-49 halftime deficit to 79-71 midway in the third. At a crucial moment when momentum could have shifted, T-Mac would display a new-found unselfish maturity that had to delight Adelman.
Spunky rookie Carl Landry missed a layup. Crafty veteran Shane Battier grabbed an offensive rebound and passed it around to McGrady. Tracy drew his defender into the air, but chose to pass up his shot. Instead, T-Mac opted for the extra pass to Scola who sank a layup from the left baseline. The play gave the Rockets a 90-76 cushion and the Pacers never came within 12 points for the rest of the night.
Five Rockets finished in double-figures – McGrady 25, Rafer Alston 21, Luther Head 14, Scola and Landry with 13 each.
More importantly than many of those points were the minutes Adelman got from bench-warmer Hayes. Chuck played nearly 30 minutes (29:19) on the first of a tough back-to-back. It certainly was appreciated greatly his Chuck’s coach.
“Chuck was terrific,” Adelman said. “He kind of set the tone for us when he came in the game defensively. He just established a presence in there and around the basket. I thought he really changed things up when he came in.”
A few witnesses in the sellout crowd of 18,160 might have noticed, too.
The NBA was the last place Chuck Hayes thought he would be after his most recent D-League game.
That was two years ago, and the Rockets forward hasn’t had to worry about the minor leagues since.
Players looking to make the same leap Hayes did have their chance to get noticed next week at the fourth annual D-League Showcase, being held Monday-Thursday in Boise, Idaho.
That was Hayes’ goal in 2006 while playing for the Albuquerque Thunderbirds. He just didn’t think things had worked out as he planned, especially after a four-point performance against Austin in the showcase.
“We had two games, a back-to-back. First game, I played well, played really well,” Hayes said. “Second game I played terrible. Then the next day the Rockets called me up.
“And after the second game I was like, ‘Oh man, I’m never going to get my call-up.’ I was discouraged. I was like, ‘Man, I had my opportunity and I blew it the second game.’ But the next day we were traveling and my layover in Chicago, (Rockets trainer) Keith Jones called me up and told me to catch a flight to Houston and I’ve been here ever since.”
All 14 D-League teams will play two games in the event, with every game being televised by NBA TV. The NBA expects scouts or other personnel from nearly all of its teams to be at Qwest Arena.
“They love the showcase, they love the opportunity for players to be seen by their scouts,” NBA commissioner David Stern said. “The opportunity to have that kind of exposure causes a real high number of players to stay home in the D-League so they can be seen. And that’s causing our teams to evaluate their investments in the D-League in a positive way.”
Eleven players have been called up to the NBA this season, and somebody else can earn a shot with some strong play next week. Just ask Hayes, who has started every game this season for the Rockets.
“Just do what do well,” he said. “Play to your strengths, there’s a role for you. There’s a spot here for you.”
Here’s an interview with Anna-Megan of the Houston Chronicle after the game where Chuck was elbowed in the eye by Tim Duncan.
We went almost a week between preseason games, but we’ve been scrimmaging a ton over the past week.
I’ve been really happy about that. Scrimmages help so much because it’s just repetition. It gives us a chance to get used to Coach Adelman’s new system and get used to what our players can do in the system. We’re seeing what everyone can do best and how the personnel on this team fits into the system. Right now, we’re really creating a bond.
I probably haven’t scrimmaged this much since college. But that’s to be expected with a new system and a new coach. We’re all learning and we’re starting to pick it up.