Suwannee's Hayes commits to Donovan for 2015


Published: Monday, June 17, 2013 at 9:38 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, June 17, 2013 at 9:38 p.m.

Florida's first basketball commitment for the Class of 2015 won't be traveling far from home.

Kevarrius Hayes, a 6-foot-8 forward from nearby Suwannee High in Live Oak, made his verbal pledge to the Gators on Monday.

Hayes averaged 11.3 points, 5 blocked shots and an eye-popping 15 rebounds per game as a sophomore at Suwannee. His travel-league coach, Nike Team Florida's Tom Topping, compared Hayes to current Gators forward Will Yeguete.

“He's definitely a high-major athlete,” Topping said. “To average 15 rebounds a game in high school, there aren't too many players capable of doing that.”

Hayes took an unofficial visit to the Florida campus last week. Live Oak is about 45 minutes from Gainesville.

“I think he sees himself as a student at UF first,” Topping said. “I know from where he lives, it's a close proximity to Gainesville. I'm sure when he looks at the Florida program, he sees great tradition, a great coaching staff.”

Off the court, Hayes has maintained a 3.0 grade point average while serving as president of the sophomore class. His goal is to go to medical school and become a surgeon.

Earlier this month, Hayes attended the Nike Elite 100 camp in St. Louis with Suwannee High coach Jeremy Ulmer.

“Kevarrius has everything it takes to be a major D-I player,” Ulmer said. “He has athletic and academic ability, a positive attitude and a great work ethic. He is everything a coach could ask for in a player.”

Topping has coached several former and current Florida standouts for Nike Team Florida, including Walter Hodge, Chandler Parsons, Nick Calathes, Scottie Wilbekin and Yeguete. He said that Hayes still has room to improve in his game.

“He can't look at this as a finish line,” Topping said. “He needs to look at it as just the beginning. He's a great athlete and great defensive player but he needs to get better offensively, handling the ball, scoring around the basket and his perimeter game. But he's got so many positive intangibles. He enjoys playing the game and plays it with a smile on his face. He likes competition.”

Hayes is Florida's second verbal commitment in the span of two months. Last month, the Gators received a verbal pledge from Class of 2014 standout Chris Chiozza, a 5-10 point guard from Memphis, Tenn.

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