Basketball: Killian Hayes, from the floors of Cholet to the stars of the NBA

The outfit is ready and waiting for it ironed on the hanger. Even if the NBA Draft, ceremony where the Franchises recruit the best young basketball players in the world, will not take place this year in the huge Barclays Center in New York and was postponed from June to November – health crisis requires -, Killian Hayes will respect tradition and wear a special costume for the event. “Simple and classy”, assures the young Frenchie of 19 years who will follow the evening at his home, in his house in Orlando, Florida, surrounded by his relatives… and by a team of ESPN specially dispatched on the spot. A privilege reserved for the most prominent players of this great mass. Which is the case with Killian.

The French rear (1.96 m) is presented as one of the headliners of the ceremony on Wednesday. According to the latest trends, he could be “selected” among the top 5. Better than the 8th place of Frank Ntilikina in 2017 who is today the top ranked tricolor. Projections that he follows “from afar” and “serenely”. “I discussed it with Frank, we laughed about it,” Killian Hayes answers. It’s more of an honorary and nice title to wear but it doesn’t put any pressure on me. Other than being called first, the ranking doesn’t mean much. Whether you are drafted 2nd or 20th, the main thing is what you do afterwards. I’m just waiting for someone to call me … ASAP. “

Despite his young age, the Lakeland, Florida native is a man in a hurry. Behind her innocent smile and her first-class glasses hides a hell of a determination. A strong character and a double culture – his dad Deron is a former American professional player who went through many clubs in France and his mother’s family, Sandrine Demiannay, is very established in basketball in Cholet – who is not not unlike a certain Tony Parker. Like him, he hates losing. “I think I got that from my parents,” laughs the person concerned.

His father is also one of his first models. “It was while watching him play that I fell in love with the game and basketball”, confides the son.

Baptism of fire in Jeep Elite at only 16 years and 3 months

At home, the ball is never far away. If he made his first dribbles in Nancy, where his father then played for a few months, it was in Cholet that he would really take on another dimension. In this club renowned for its training (Rigaudeau, De Colo, Gobert…), the young Hayes will climb all the levels, from youngest to professional, and started to fill the trophy cabinet. Among the most valuable, this title of U16 European champion in 2017 with the Bleuets where he was elected MVP of the tournament. A few weeks later he made his baptism of fire in a Jeep Elite at only 16 years and 3 months. Not a record but promises for the future.

“People were starting to talk about me, to say that I would go to the NBA, the American media were making subjects,” he recalls. I understood that my dream could come true. “” He was in great demand, more than Rudy (Editor’s note: Gobert) at the same age, remembers Sylvain Delorme, his coach in Espoirs at Cholet. I’ve never seen that. But for him everything went very quickly. We quickly realized that he had it all: physique, technique, skill and intelligence. If some young people need 3 years to assimilate things, he understood everything in 6 months. “

The only downside, a quarrel in 2019 with the French Federation which suspends him from competition for six weeks for refusing a summons to the France U20 team. An injustice for the person concerned who leaves France and goes to Ulm (Germany) “to play”. “I did not follow the same path as others, but the result is there, he appreciates today. When I went to Germany it was a risk but I don’t regret anything. “

“He may be in the line of a Tony Parker”

This fan of series and manga, whose favorite is Seven Deadly Sins, is therefore about to enter the big world. The one from the NBA he dreamed of as a kid when he saw the acrobatic exploits of his idols Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose. “It’s a childhood dream that has become a goal over time, breathes Hayes. And now, I hope this will be my daily life. It’s a new page that opens, I want to write my own story in the NBA. “

“Until now, he has always pushed the limits and taken up the challenges,” says Delorme. He may be in the line of a Tony Parker. He has the shoulders to go far. Someday kids will say they want to be like Killian. His parents, who have always refused to subscribe to a channel to watch NBA games – forcing Killian to watch the best stocks on the Internet – may have to change their mind.

Three other French players at the gates of the NBA

If he is the most prominent Frenchman, Killian Hayes will not be the only tricolor concerned by the NBA Draft. Three other Frenchies have put their names on the list of many contenders for the American dream. Announced around 20th place, 19-year-old leader Théo Maledon is well known to the courts of Jeep Elite. Professional since the age of 16, the native of Rouen quickly had responsibilities under the jersey of Asvel – the club of Tony Parker – and has built up a nice track record: champion of France and Coupe de France (MVP of the final) in 2019. A course that has already opened the doors of the great team of France (5 capes).

The 3rd Musketeer is a well-known name in French sport. Son of Laurent Tillie, the former international and current coach of the France volleyball team, Killian Tillie (22) has completed his training in the United States. He has just completed his 4-year course at Gonzaga University (NCAA). The interior (2.08 m) is the youngest of a very sporty sibling since his brothers Kim (basketball) and Kévin (volleyball) are French internationals.

The back Abdoulaye N’Doye (22 years old) is the 4th musketeer of the Draft. Trained in Cholet – like Killian Hayes – he has currently played under the colors of Monaco (Jeep Elite).

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