Guard Killian Hayes, a potential lottery pick playing in the Bundesliga, submitted paperwork to the league office to officially declare for the upcoming NBA draft, he told ESPN’s Jonathon Givony on Friday.
Hayes, 18, is widely considered to be a lottery pick in the upcoming draft. Yahoo Sports’ Krysten Peek has him going No. 12 overall to the Phoenix Suns in her latest mock draft.
The 6-foot-5 point guard is the son of former Penn State star Deron Hayes. He was born in Florida but grew up in France, and helped lead the French u16 team to a European Championship in 2017 while winning MVP honors. He picked up similar honors in both France’s U18 league and the Jordan Brand Classic international game.
He jumped from France to Germany’s Bundesliga this past summer, and is averaging 12 points and 5.6 assists per game with Ratiopharm Ulm while shooting nearly 60 percent from the field.
The German league, however, suspended operations earlier this month due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Germany had more than 42,200 confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of Friday afternoon, according to The New York Times, the third-most among any European country behind Italy and Spain.
Once play suspended, Hayes and his family returned to the United States. He is currently training in Lakeland, Florida, both in preparation for the draft and in case the German league does resume play later this summer.
“I trained at home at first, but my trainers have found a private gym that we can use so I’ve been working on my game out there,” Hayes wrote to ESPN. “Right now everything is uncertain. I was supposed to have my pre-draft training in Chicago with Will Bynum, but with everything that’s going on and the German league willing to resume the season [at the end of April], everything is blurry at the moment.
“We’ll have to wait and see what happens. I’m still very excited for the pre-draft because I will be able to showcase how I improved on my game and everything I added to it. These are tough times, but we’ll get through it. I pray for the safety of everybody.”
Hayes is the latest projected top pick to declare for the draft. Obi Toppin, the Dayton star and reigning Associated Press Player of the Year, announced on Wednesday that he will hire an agent and make the jump to the NBA. Georgia guard Anthony Edwards and Iowa State point guard Tyrese Haliburton declared this week, too. North Carolina’s Cole Anthony, a projected lottery pick, said he is delaying his decision due to the uncertainty brought forth by the coronavirus.
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