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The entire Houston Rockets team has started all out practicing. Chuck Hayes said: “I have been training together with our team mates these 2 days, and I’ve a first hand experience of the abilities of Luis Scola. He has excellent footwork in the interior, and his shooting touch out from the 15-feet ranges is also great.”
photos from sohu.com and cimg2.163.com
Yao, Nash, Anthony to play charity game in Beijing
BEIJING, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) — A charity basketball game featuring NBA star center Yao Ming, two-time regular season MVP Steve Nash and Carmelo Anthony will be played here on Sept. 14, according to the organizers.
The Chinese men’s national team will play against a team composed of NBA stars in this charity game, which was launched by Yao and Nash, with all the incomes to be donated to help improve educational environment for poor children in Western China.
“More than half a year ago, Nash mentioned this idea to me and I thought it is great. Then we began to make it into reality,” said Yao at the press conference.
“I promise you that every penny of the money we get from this game will be duly used on poor children in Western China,” Yao added.
Nash, who woke up at 5 am in Phoenix City for the press conference, said on telephone that he felt very happy to launch this game together with Yao and do something for poor children in China.
Other NBA players to participate in this charity game are Baron Davis of the Golden State Warriors, Leandro Barbosa of the Phoenix Suns, Yao’s Houston Rockets teammates Bonzi Wells, Chuck Hayes, Mike James and 2007 NBA top draft pick Greg Oden of the Portland Blazers and No. 4 draft pick Mike Conley of the Memphis Grizzlies.
The travel hasn’t yet started to wear on Chuck Hayes.
The former UK forward likes the hotels, loves the room service and enjoys seeing the country as a member of the NBA’s Houston Rockets.
Now he has a new reason to stay home.
Hayes averaged 5.6 points and 6.7 rebounds in 78 games for the Rockets last season and had a 12-point, 12-rebound performance in Game 2 of a first-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz.
But Hayes’ fondest memory of the season came on the first day of the playoffs, when son Dorian Hayes was born.
“Just knowing that he looks at you and smiles and has the same facial expressions that I do?” Hayes said. “I wouldn’t change a thing about him.”
This month Hayes signed a four-year contract with the Rockets.
Hayes — who said the first words he uttered to teammate Yao Ming were, “I’ve got your rookie card at home” — said he’s grown close to his teammates, especially former Illinois guard Luther Head, whom he constantly reminds of his resemblance to former UK point guard Cliff Hawkins.
But while he’s making a home in Houston, Hayes keeps Kentucky roots.
He visited UK last week for pickup games with current Wildcats and stopped by UK’s football practice with former teammate Ravi Moss, whose younger brother Austin is a sophomore defensive lineman.
Hayes said he spoke with new UK basketball coach Billy Gillispie in July and spent last week getting acquainted with the current Cats. He said the team has “a lot of athletes.”
One in particular — freshman forward Patrick Patterson — made an impression.
“Patrick covers so much space because of his length,” Hayes said. “He can alter your shot if you’re over there and he’s way over here because his length is phenomenal.”
HAYES AT SLAM-N-JAM CLINIC, REUNION DINNER — The following are on Saturday, Sept. 22, at Modesto Christian High:
Modesto Slam-N-Jam Basketball Clinic featuring former Modesto Christian star and current Houston Rockets player Chuck Hayes. Session I 9-11:30 a.m. for grades 3-6. Session 2 noon-2:30 p.m. for grades 7-12. $50. Call Bobby Cole at 543-9520. …
Modesto Slam-N-Jam 20-year Celebration Dinner at 7 p.m. If you were a member of a Slam-N-Jam travel team and haven’t received an invitation, call Cole at 543-9520. … Modesto Basketball Reunion Dinner featuring Hayes. Celebration of city of Modesto’s basketball accomplishments. For all ages. $30 adults, $15 for ages 10 and under. Call Cole at 543-9520.
Events both big and bigger are seeking out Chuck Hayes.
He wishes he could deal with them one at a time, but they’re not happening one at a time. They’re all good, and life-changing, he understands, yet more difficult and complex. You can’t check off this to-do list with a 3-point basket and a couple of assists.
Because Hayes, 24, has become, in order, a father, a millionaire and a businessman.
“I’m thrilled,” he said during a weekend stay in Modesto, “and busy.”
Wasn’t it just yesterday Hayes led the Modesto Christian Crusaders to within a hoop of a state Division I title? Wasn’t it just last week he was a small deity at Kentucky? Wasn’t it just the other day he signed a 10-day contract, one of those NBA sink-or-swim agreements, with the Houston Rockets?
“I’ve always been the underdog,” he said. “That’s perfectly fine with me.”
He didn’t have to add the following: It’s good to be the underdog when you’ve scored some serious coin.
Hayes capped a tedious and sometimes uncertain summer last week by signing a four-year contract with the Rockets. That is noteworthy by itself for an undersized power forward who averaged only 5.6 points and 6.7 rebounds last season.
He didn’t exhale until the Rockets agreed to reportedly pay him a base salary of $1.5 million for three seasons with an option for the fourth. Hayes received the job security he demanded, the payment for an offseason of questions and doubt.
For starters, there was the exit of coach Jeff Van Gundy, whose half-court style seemed to be a good fit for Hayes. Van Gundy’s successor is Rick Adelman, the former Sacramento Kings coach whose offense-minded let-it-roll approach invited speculation about Hayes’ future.
Adelman’s philosophy manifested itself in the Rockets’ personnel moves, beginning on draft day when they traded for rookie power forward Carl Landry. Then, about three weeks before Hayes signed his contract, the Rockets traded with the world-champion San Antonio Spurs for 6-foot-9 power forward Luis Scola, a gifted and experienced product of Argentina and, equally important, a talent Adelman coveted. Clearly, the Rockets seek more points from the position where Hayes started 43 games last season.
“It was pretty obvious,” Adelman said at the time, “we needed to fill that spot.”
Small wonder Hayes was worried.
Yet at the same time, the Rockets said all along they were intent on signing Hayes. Three weeks later, they made good on their word, though the series of events probably whacked years off Hayes’ life span.
“From now on, I’ll be watching the NBA Draft a lot closer,” he said. “When I heard about the first trade (Landry), I thought, ‘They’re bringing in a young guy. I’ll have to go at him to keep my job. I’ve got no problem with that.’ ”
The acquisition of Scola, however, struck Hayes like a slam dunk.
“I was thinking, ‘Maybe they (the Rockets) want to go in a different direction,’ ” he said. “I understand it’s a business but for a moment I was heartbroken. It was a long process, sometimes discouraging. I wondered for a while if Houston was the right place for me.”
Hayes discovered there was no problem in Houston, after all, whether or not he starts. See, Hayes’ identity in the NBA already is etched in stone. He overcomes his physical mismatches and offense shortcomings by being a little smarter and by, well, knowing the game and making his teammates better. Like his collegiate coach Tubby Smith always said, “All Chuck does is win.”
“It makes me feel appreciated that I’m not going unnoticed,” Hayes said. “It’s a stereotype that’s been put on me. I take pride in that label.”
Yes, life is full-court pressing Hayes. He used his weekend in Modesto to visit friends and get his newly expanded financial house in order. He’s also agreed to appear at the Modesto Basketball Reunion Dinner, a celebration of Slam-N-Jam’s 20-year anniversary along with state titles over the years by Modesto High and the Crusaders, Sept. 22 at Modesto Christian.
But before all contracts, appearances and all things hoops is Hayes’ baby son, who stops his father colder than a Shaquille O’Neal screen.
“Changes everything,” Hayes said. “What a numbing experience, to see fresh life looking at you and knowing it’s part of you. I’ve never had a feeling like that. It’s a different world.”
For Hayes, a bigger and better world.
HOUSTON — Tracy McGrady hit a home run for a local elementary school.
The Rockets’ seven-time All-Star hosted his third annual T-Mac Celebrity Softball Tournament on Saturday, raising nearly
$200,000 for the renovation of a reading and learning center at Kashmere Gardens Elementary School in Houston.
It was the largest amount of money that the Tracy McGrady Foundation has raised in the event’s three-year history.
McGrady invited several big-name guests to participate in the tournament, including teammates Aaron Brooks, Steve Francis, Chuck Hayes, Luther Head, Mike James, John Lucas III and Kirk Snyder.
Indiana’s Jermaine O’Neal, the Clippers’ Sam Cassell, Denver’s J.R. Smith, Miami’s James Posey, Boston’s Glen “Big Baby” Davis, former NBA star Nick Van Exel and model/actress Vida Guerra also participated in the charity softball tournament.
The Tracy McGrady Foundation began the charity weekend by raising $20,000 during an auction at a comedy show.
McGrady fetched $8,500 by auctioning off a Kid’s Clinic with himself, while the charity also raised an additional $3,000 for a date with Guerra.
The free agent power forward agreed to return to the Rockets on Friday, signing a multi-year deal with the team. Terms of the deal were not disclosed per team policy. The signing bolsters the team’s front court heading into next season, giving the Rockets a pair of power forwards under contract. Carl Landry, the team’s second round pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, remains unsigned.
“Chuck was a big part of our success last season,” Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said. “We are happy he will be part of our future for some time. His abilities to rebound and defend at an elite level are critical to winning.”
Hayes, a 6-foot-6 power forward, emerged as a starter last season thanks to his rebounding and scrappy play. Despite entering the league as an undrafted rookie, Hayes started 43 games and became a constant in the lineup next to Rockets star center Yao Ming. He averaged 5.6 points and 6.7 rebounds, finishing second on the team in rebounding.
Hayes is expected to compete for playing time with Luis Scola.
Before Fran headed to the beach, Steve Francis signed in a stunning turn of events.
Not that I’m complaining, but as I head out of town, Chuck Hayes signed the deal certain since the season ended.
Chuck is a fine guy and a better player than people seem to remember, but he does not generate conversation quite like Steve, who remains as much a force in that regard as ever. . .
Finally, back where we began – with Chuck. The contract is four years, with the last at the team’s option. It begins with a base salary of $1.5 million, with another $200,000 in incentives considered likely to be met. There are other incentives, too, that would be less likely.
For some reason, many seem to have forgotten what Hayes brings, focusing on what he does not. The Rockets still are counting on Luis Scola, but Hayes does things that are always useful. Drawing charges, getting loose balls, rebounding at a high rate, defending well.
We know that in others ways, he is limited. But when he started, the Rockets’ starting five had the best plus-minus in the NBA, and a very strong record. I don’t think he’ll be starting again, but he’s a good signing.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith received a standing ovation Saturday night at the Mothers Basketball Association’s national conference gala at the InterContinental Houston with his statement that professional ball players must be accountable for their actions.Among those applauding were Shaquille O’Neal’s mom, Lucille; Derek Fisher’s mom, Annette; and Theo Ratliff’s mom, Camilla. Local basketball moms hosting the event included Mary Ford, mother of T.J. Ford; Renee Jones Lee, mother of Damon Jones, and B.J. Ewing, mother of Daniel Ewing.
There were plenty of players in the house as well — Hall of Famer Moses Malone, All-Star Jermaine O’Neal, Houston Rockets Luther Head and Chuck Hayes, and former Rocket David Wesley.
Pulling it all together behind the scenes were conference consultants Renee Miller, Karen Simon and John Guess Jr.