Kevarrius Hayes earned a scholarship offer from Florida based first and foremost on his defensive ability.
But the 6-foot-8 forward from nearby Live Oak said he’s trying to work to round out his game.
“I actually like defense more than offense,” Hayes said. “But I’m trying to improve my offense more.”
Hayes, a 2015 UF commitment, displayed a well-rounded game at a recent high school game in Gainesville. He finished with 9 points, 10 rebounds and 2 steals through foul trouble Thursday night in Suwannee High’s 51-48 loss at Buchholz. Hayes missed a potential game-tying putback layup in the closing minute, but scored through double teams on a variety of post moves, putbacks and drives in transition. He even attempted a few mid-range jumpers, though was unable to convert any shots from beyond 10 feet.
“I’m working on my mid-range shot a little more because I always get a lot of passes out there,” Hayes said. “And down in the post, (I’m) working on my hook shot.”
Hayes has already been compared to current Florida forward Will Yeguete for his ability to defend in the post. But Hayes said his favorite Florida player is senior Patric Young.
“He’s always strong inside,” Hayes said. “Casey Prather has such a variety of moves he can use. He can break a player down if he wants too.”
Suwannee High coach Jeremy Ulmer said Hayes is putting together a stellar junior season.
“We’ve been super happy with the way he’s playing,” Ulmer said. “Every year he advances, so, he’s not just happy with where he’s at. Over the summer, he works all summer to get better. This year he’s playing tremendously.”
Hayes showed his full potential in a game against Fort White in the Hitchcock Tournament over the Christmas Holiday break, finishing with 35 points, 19 rebounds and 10 blocked shots.
“I love the way he blocks shots,” Ulmer said. “He blocks shots off the ball very well. He goes after every rebound. You can’t teach that. That’s something that you have to have in your heart and he’s got it. This year we’re demanding a lot more of him on offense, so he’s had to do it. He’s posting up more.”
Living about 45 minutes from UF, Hayes said he’s able to visit campus frequently. He stays in contact with UF’s coaching staff often and said he intends to honor his commitment and sign with the Gators next November.
“They always show me love,” Hayes said of UF’s coaches. “Whenever I come down and visit Gainesville, I might stop by and see them know and then.”
Asked if he’s getting any feedback from the UF coaching staff, Hayes responded: “They haven’t really talked to me much about what I’ll be doing there. They just say I’ll be a great fit for the way I run up and down the floor.”