The French Killian Hayes will discover the NBA at 19. Drafted in seventh position by the Detroit Pistons, he could, thanks to his immense potential and his American mentality, become the worthy heir of Tony Parker.
“Detroit Pistons pick seventh … Killian Hayes.” The 19-year-old point guard was the seventh player called up by NBA boss Adam Silver and the first non-American. On Wednesday November 18, the player became the most drafted Frenchman in basketball history.
Killian Hayes felt “a great relief”, he responded to the announcement. “Because in my head I knew it was Detroit, but nothing was guaranteed. So I was really happy. You could see the reaction of my mom and dad, who were jumping for joy. has a lot of excitement. I feel super proud of myself, “said the young Frenchman.
In recent days, Killian Hayes said he wanted to “inspire the next generations, especially in France”. And he continued: “I know that basketball is gaining momentum, but it is not as important there as football. I want to make young French people aware that they can go to the NBA, that their dreams can be achieve”.
At the Pistons, Killian Hayes will quickly learn the NBA profession alongside stars Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin. In this club steeped in history, champion in 1989, 1990 and 2004, where playing hard is the first virtue, the young man knows “that it will be necessary to give everything, to be 100% on the floor, in front of fans who love those who work hard “.
But neither the pressure, nor the dizziness, nor even the excitement seem to reach Hayes, who everything was preparing for such a fate. However, to the extent of his reputation and his rating, validated by Wednesday’s Draft, the expectations around him are enormous. Certainly more than for Tony Parker, chosen in 28th position of the 1st round by San Antonio, in 2001.
“The thing that shocked me a bit when I looked at him as a youngster was that he looked cold all the time. There was something like ‘it’s normal’, of ‘why you wonder. that I am European champion in U16 of France in U18 and U18? It’s easy. I’m not here for that, I’m here to do more ‘”, told Ouest-France recruiter Nicolas Mathieu, who works for Asvel and some NBA clubs.
“It’s a very rare mentality among the French. It can be explained because the dad is American and there is this confidence, this aura. What seemed to me to be a negative point in young people is a very great strength now. that he is an adult, ”he added.
Like Parker, Hayes has a father who was a basketball player, notably through Cholet. It is also in Maine-et-Loire that he began his training, like, before him, Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz). And its trajectory has been meteoric. In just over two years, he went from cadet (15-16 years) to Espoirs then professional, before going to harden up in the German elite, last year, within the Ratiopharm Ulm.
“It’s really hard to get to 15, 16, playing against adults, but I learned a lot from that. Then even (in Germany) when I started the season slowly, I was really trusted and it just got better and better. Now I understand how to play basketball and do the right deeds, “Killian Hayes said Wednesday night.
“He is complete, very tall, very athletic”
His trainer at Ratiopharm, Jaka Lakovic was also full of praise for him. “When I got home, I told myself that I was putting a lot of pressure and a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of a kid who doesn’t even know how to make an omelet … And he handled it extremely well. worked a lot, he became a better player and he matured off the pitch. “
“Killian is a phenomenon. He doesn’t have many faults. He is capable of being a clutch (to make his team win in the end of close matches, editor’s note). He is complete, very tall, very athletic. is a player such as we only see every ten or twenty years, “argued Ouest-France, Sylvain Delorme who trained him with the Espoirs and the pros, in Cholet.
A generational talent to whom we can wish nothing better than a fate like Tony Parker, the best Frenchman in the history of the NBA, who won four champion’s rings with San Antonio.
The future will tell. In the meantime the person has already warned: “I am excited at the idea of measuring myself against everyone, especially the best backs Stephen Curry, James Harden, Damian Lillard”.
Each year, during the NBA draft, the leaders of the 30 teams take turns selecting a player from university, high school or abroad. It was organized for the first time in a virtual way, the best hopes could not be gathered in New York as usual because of the Covid-19.