The numbers don’t lie. It’s time to move from Cam Hayes to NC State PG.
Cam Hayes has talent and NC State needs him.
there is no doubt. The kid is 6’4, handles the ball well, plays extremely hard and was a pretty good shot until this season. One thing it isn’t, however, is a PG.
NC State has a lot of problems this season, but most blatantly for us is Keatts’ insistence that Hayes be the primary ball handler when he’s in the game. Hayes does not take the eye test at this time. He keeps his dribble high. It does not have a low center of gravity, which limits its ability to absorb contact on drives and limits its speed and ability to change direction in no time. He is not a born leader. And that’s not a hit on the kid, it’s just the facts. He’s lucky to be a real factor for this team, but he’s embarrassed to be forced into a position he’s not built for.
About ten years ago, there seemed to be a change in theory. The theory was that we might be wrongly seeing the position of the PG all the time. Why not replace the PGs with bigger, stronger shooting guards that had decent grips and would look to shoot first. That way you would have more goal scorers and more height on the pitch.
It was a great theory… in theory.
In the end, it never really worked. While a few PGs who shot first ended up becoming stars, most did not. At the end of the day, having the ball dominated by a guy who doesn’t command the leadership on the pitch, someone who doesn’t have a big vision or isn’t looking to create for his teammates, doesn’t lead to a lot of victories. It actually leads to stagnant infractions, standing guys, and bad team chemistry.
NC State’s problem is that they didn’t appear to receive the memo. It may not be by design. Maybe Keatts thought he could turn Hayes into Markell Johnson 2.0 and it just didn’t work. But at this point, if they are to have a chance this year, and even next year, they have to re-evaluate the way they use Cam Hayes.
Now doing that is going to hurt Cam’s feelings. It will make him angry. He’s been a PG throughout his prep career and he’s been successful. But it’s not preseason basketball, it’s ACC, and it was noticeable last year, and blatant this year. He does not have the tools to do it at this level. It’s time to take him off the ball, for his future and for NC State’s present.
Keatts must engage with Dereon Seabron at this point.
Seabron gets lost like a forward swing in the ACC game. He’s by far the most talented guy on the pitch, he plays on contact, he finishes at the rim, and because of that he draws defenders. He’s not a great passer, but it’s a skill he can improve on. He has good vision and has shown a willingness to find open players when defense weakens. In fact, Seabron leads NC State in assists with 3.1 per game.
Moving Seabron to the point also does the child a service for his future. There’s no way he’s playing 3 or 4 for the pros. There’s no way he’ll even be recruited as a shooting guard, as he really doesn’t have a consistent jumper. If he wants to move to the next level, it will be as a leader.
It is therefore time to take action. It will not be a quick fix. Seabron isn’t going to come in and suddenly become an elite leader, but you have to let him work there. Get used to being the primary ball handler. Be used to involving other people if the defense crashes on the reader. And you back it up with Breon Pass, which slowly gets used to the college game.
It’s not just a random opinion. It is backed up by the numbers. Cam Hayes just doesn’t do it on time. Last night was just another example. He finished the game playing 25 minutes, 4 assists, 1 turnover, 3 rebounds and zero points on 0-6 shooting. He had a few costly misfires and some big turnovers on the home stretch. But it’s not just this game, it’s a trend. See…
- Cam Hayes tied for 10th among ACC 15 pointers (10.5 ppg).
- Cam Hayes is the LAST of the CCA’s 15 point guard in assists (2.6 assists per game).
- Cam Hayes is the 14th of the 15 CCA leaders in FG% (35.1%).
- Cam Hayes is the LAST of the 15 CCA leaders in 3pt% (24.6%).
- The only positive point for Hayes is the fact that he is the first of the 15 ACC leaders to limit turnovers (0.8 TO per game).
But Hayes doesn’t return the ball because he doesn’t take the necessary risks. He’s not driving or trying to put guys in a better position by attracting defenders. Almost every time he does his workout, he shoots. And he doesn’t knock. Cam Hayes is an ACC level shooting guard, and it’s time to admit it. Ball safety is just not valuable enough to make up for other stats.
It’s time to make him compete for a few minutes with Terquavion Smith, Casey Morsell and Thomas Allen.
It’s time to get Seabron down to the basics, increase his touches, let him learn the stance and become a team leader and general on the ground. Keep Terquavion Smith on 2. Play Morsell on 3, Hellems on 4, and Dowuona on 5.
Hayes can split minutes between 2 and 3 in Keatts’ offense, but allowing Seabron to maximize his touches, learn position, and become your true PG will pay off not just this year, but the year. next before his departure. That’s when you pass the torch to the 5 Star Freshman Dillingham or the Veteran Breon Pass.
It may seem like a drastic decision. It might seem like you’re doing 180 mid-season, but it’s something you should have seen in the preseason, or at least a few games in the season. At this point it’s a big change, but it’s necessary if NC State is to maximize their talent and do anything with this season.