The Florida Gators struck early in the 2015 class on Monday, securing a verbal commitment from in-state big man Kevarrius Hayes of Suwannee (FL). Hayes is a member of Nike Team Florida which has sent numerous players to Gainesville over the years, and has reportedly been solid on the spring AAU circuit.
Congrats to Nike Team Florida Forward Kevarrius Hayes (2015) on his commitment to play at University of Florida!
— Nike Team Florida (@NikeTeamFlorida) June 17, 2013
Hayes is the first Florida pledge in the 2015 class. The Gators already hold a pledge in the 2014 class from White Station (TN) lead guard Chris Chiozza.
Tom Topping, Hayes’ AAU coach, compared him to current Florida forward Will Yeguete in an interview with GatorSports.com in terms of athleticism and rebounding. Topping said:
“He’s definitely a high-major athlete. To average 15 rebounds a game in high school, there aren’t too many players capable of doing that.”
It’s unclear exactly where Hayes stands nationally. He is ranked No. 58 nationally by ESPNU, but not by any other source. He is by all accounts a tremendous athlete and rebounder, but with definite room to improve on the offensive end and skillswise.
Florida high school basketball scout Rick Staudt broke down Hayes’ game in early June, writing:
The Live Oak Suwannee product is using his length and athleticism to great use on both sides of the ball. Offensively he’s played strong inside and his post moves have improved to the point he’s pretty reliable if single covered on the block. Hayes has also showed he can hit shots facing the basket from 10-12 feet. Defensively he is quick off of his feet for boards and blocks and looks to shut down the lane to the opposition.
It isn’t as if coach Billy Donovan and his staff have missed on too many players over the year, and it’s likely they have a role and a plan for Hayes’ development.