March 30, 2011 in NBA 10-11 Season
Chuck is popping up all over… now he’s weighing in on playing in the NFL on nba.com.
LeBron James isn’t the only former All-State wide receiver collecting NBA paychecks these days.
Rockets forward Chuck Hayes spent some time lighting up the gridiron in high school as well, as a jumbo receiver at Modesto Christian in California.
“If I’d have stuck with football through school and straight on to college I might have done well,” Hayes said Friday afternoon. “But the transformation from college football to the NFL, that has to be huge. I think if LeBron had stuck with it he would have done well. And we all like to toot our own horn.
“But the demands of the game, the Xs and Os, the blocking schemes and … there’s just so much to it, so much to it. Again, the physical demands of that game are so tough. I think you’d have to have a real passion for that to stick to it.”
Hayes said he simply did not have that passion. After earning All-State honors he gave up football after his junior year of his school.
“I played because all my homeboys played,” Hayes said. “But I hated going across the middle. I made my slant route look like a post route. And by the time my senior year rolled around I had more top notch colleges looking at me for basketball than I did for football. I made my decision right there.”
Interest from the likes of Notre Dame and UCLA couldn’t sway him to football. Not with Kansas and Kentucky, where he starred in college, calling.
These days Hayes is happy in his role starting for the Rockets, 7-5 heading into tonight’s game against the Hawks. He’ll leave all the football talk for James and other dual sport alums like Nate Robinson (who starred as a cornerback in college at Washington before deciding to stick with basketball) and Allen Iverson.
“You can’t imagine the physical pounding they must take,” Hayes said of NFL players. “I give those guys the utmost respect. In that game, every inch counts. They hit hard and they’re so strong. The speed of the game is probably faster than I think, and I don’t mind giving them credit on that.
“You have defensive lineman running around out there with 4.6 speed. That means he’s catching me. It’s such a pounding on your knees and your body. You always see those [NFL] guys at the end of a season having this surgery and that surgery. It’s just not for me. Again, I give those guys the utmost respect because they obviously do their jobs very well.”E-mail Sekou
November 11, 2009 in The Good Stuff
The road to the NBA is never an easy one, even for the kids who wind up as first round draft picks with guaranteed contracts handed to them. Chuck Hayes wasn’t drafted into the NBA, so his journey was even harder. He worked his way into the league by standing out in the NBADL and catching the attention of the Houston Rockets. He recorded a double-double in the second game of his first ten-day contract in January of 2006 and he’s been an invaluable member of the team ever since.
“It’s really an internal drive,” Hayes says of what got him to this point of his career. “This is what I’ve wanted to do all my life. It would have been great to hear my name called on draft night, but mine wasn’t, unfortunately. I had to take the alternate route through the D-League and I enjoyed my experience down there. It was a learning experience, a humbling experience, and it showed me that everybody has a different story, a different path. Mine took the Albuquerque route and came back here.”
Hayes’ numbers don’t jump out at you, averaging right around seven points and seven rebounds per game, but the Houston Rockets aren’t about box scores or flashy stats. They’re a team that truly appreciates the intangibles, which is why Hayes fits in so well. Read the rest of this entry →
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.
November 6, 2009 in The Good Stuff
Lots of links the last week about Chuck… here are some of the highlights.
Jonathon Feigen on Chuck’s Battle Against the Lakers
Ariza, however, had an answer. He won a jump ball and then nailed his 3 with 14.2 seconds left to tie the game. The Lakers went to Bryant, but Hayes switched on a screen and smacked the ball free with seven-tenths of a second remaining. When the Lakers tried to inbounds to Andrew Bynum, Hayes slapped that away, too.
“Chuck being Chuck,” Battier said. “If you want a treat, watch Chuck Hayes for a game. He is fantastic at what he does.”
In overtime, the Rockets had a few minutes of Hayes being Bryant. After a Bryant free throw for a one-point lead, Hayes finished a drive. After a Bryant jumper, Hayes scored again, giving him 14 points on 7 of 9 shooting to go with 14 rebounds.
Ball Don’t Lie’s Kelly Dwyer Loves the Rockets
The Rockets? They’re just a joy.
Chuck Hayes is a 6-6 Kevin Garnett. His footwork belongs on Mt. Rushmore. His hands belong in the Smithsonian. He had two steals tonight, and caused as many jump balls. He’s a center that’s in the top five in steals, per game, in barely half a game. His defense is unbelievable. And now (7-9 shooting, no hesitation around the hoop) you have to pay attention to him when someone drives and dishes.
Chron’s Justice says that Hayes fever has gripped the Rockets
Don’t believe me? Let’s check in at Toyota Center and run it past some people who should know.
“Luis Scola and I were talking in the weight room this morning,” Shane Battier said, “and we both agreed Chuck Hayes is our favorite player in the NBA.”
“It’s pretty amazing what he does,” Battier said. “He’s a huge reason we’ve been one of the best defensive teams in the league the last few years.”
How about you, Carl Landry? Do you love Hayes as much as the rest of us?
“He’s the perfect player,” Landry said. “He rebounds, plays defense, takes charges, gets steals. He does the dirty work.”
Is that right, Scola?
“It’s a pleasure to play with him,” Scola said. “He plays hard. He does everything a basketball player should do. He’s a great teammate.”
Surely someone disagrees. Coach Rick Adelman, are you ready to get rid of the Chuck Wagon?
“He’s incredible,” Adelman said. “You watch him play that game (against the Lakers on Wednesday) against a 7-1 guy (Andrew Bynum). That guy is a really good young player. He gets 17 points and 17 rebounds. Chuck ends up with 14 and 14.
“When he’s on the court, we’re so different. Right now, he’s confident and making some plays for himself. He’s playing with a lot of freedom. I marvel at what he gets done against certain people in this league.”
Once upon a time, Hayes was one of the NBA’s best-kept secrets. Only the Rockets seemed to know how good he was. Jeff Van Gundy fell in love with him midway through about one practice, and then Adelman arrived and did the same thing.