As a coaches kid, you generally mature up the basketball skills latter a little more quickly. PJ Hayes, a four year Varsity player at Waconia, is the son of the Varsity coach at Waconia. Ever since he debutted, he’s been a scorer. As a Freshman he averaged 7.9 points per game, and doubled that as a Sophomore to 15 per outing.
By Junior year, Hayes became the leader on the floor putting up 23.8 points per game while Waconia went 15-11. Hayes is scoring slightly less as a Senior, 22.8, but Waconia is 15-4 and the 2020 guard is enjoying his final year.
We chatted about growing within Waconia playing for his Dad, the current season, and what’s next.
Q: How’s the season going so far?
A: Great, we’re 14-4 with some great wins against tough teams. We’re undefeated in conference play and we’re on a 5 game win streak.
Q: How have you played so far?
A: Pretty good so far. I’m scoring around 24 points, grabbing 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. Right now I’m 2 points away from breaking the school record in total points.
I picked up a much bigger leadership role for this team. Leading by example and helping my teammates play together and play smart. We’re doing a great job of that and I believe we can keep rolling.
Q: How’s it coming since Freshman Year on Varsity as a contributor to being the Senior leader?
A: It’s definitely a lot tougher because the team and coaches count on you more but I love the challenge it brings. It’s why I love the game so much. Overcoming challenges is what makes basketball so fun for me and I believe it really helps me become a better player.
It’s also nice to see how much I’ve grown in my ability to play and leadership over the years and seeing all my hard work pay off in becoming a captain and a major leader on our team
Q: What’s it like playing for your Dad?
A: There are definitely some positives and negatives. Some positives are the gym is always open and he doesn’t have to say anything to me. I know what he’s talking about but he has a lot more expectations for me and he is harder on me than anybody else.
It’s also hard that I’ve played since I was a Freshman since people said the only reason I played is because my Dad is the coach but i couldn’t let that get to me. I had to prove that I belonged. Now I believe I’ve proved myself a lot and can freely play without worrying about stuff like that.
Q: How’s recruiting going for you?
A: Pretty good so far, I got two D2 offers from Minot State and Truman State. I also have a few mid major D1 schools contacting my coach and asking for tapes and stuff. It’s going pretty good.