GREENSBORO — Cam Hayes had a lot of major-college options to continue his basketball career. But the Greensboro Day senior knew he wanted to play in the ACC and play close to home.
An official visit to N.C. State on Sept. 6 pushed him toward coach Kevin Keatts’ Wolfpack, and he committed Monday.
“It was the family atmosphere there,” Hayes said. “Coach Keatts and the staff, from the day they started recruiting me they made me a priority. Looking at the team they have this year, they’re going to be really good, but they have a senior point guard. The ability to come in as a freshman and make a huge impact for N.C. State was the best fit for me.”
Hayes’ other finalists were Florida State, Louisville, Maryland, Tennessee and Texas Tech, and he also had offers from Wake Forest, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
N.C. State “checked all the boxes as the place for me to go,” said Hayes, a 6-foot-1, 160-pound point guard who is the No. 46-ranked player in the country in his class, according to 247Sports.
Hayes reclassified to the Class of 2021 when he transferred from Smith to Greensboro Day going into his sophomore year, but he decided to move back into the Class of 2020 — much like fellow Bengals senior guard Carson McCorkle did after committing to Virginia — this summer.
“We sat down at the end of my summer, and the coaches that were recruiting me the hardest didn’t feel like I needed another year of high school,” Hayes said.
What kind of player and person is the Wolfpack getting?
“They’re going to get a kid who loves to win, who loves to play basketball,” said Greensboro Day coach Freddy Johson. “He has a joy for the game. He’s becoming a much better leader and an example off the court. The things we can help him with this year are we can get him stronger and get him to be more vocal.”
Hayes, who plans to major in finance, said Keatts “likes my whole demeanor as a person on and off the court. Defensively, I’m a great on-ball defender. I just have to work on my off-the-ball defense. He wants me to be more vocal and going into every game and dominating and showing everyone why I’m a top-100 player in the country.”
Hayes is confident about his abilities after a summer in which he participated in Chris Paul’s CP3 guard camp and the NBA Players Association Top 100 camp.
“Offensively, I know what to do,” he said. “I can score or I can facilitate and get my teammates involved. I know when to score and when to get everybody involved. … It was a great experience going to the top-100 camp and the CP3 guards camp. Playing against high-major talent day in and day out is going to make the season even easier for me.”
Hayes said he hopes the season ends with a fourth consecutive NCISAA championship for the Bengals, as well as a HAECO Invitational championship in December after Northwest Guilford beat his team in last year’s final.
“Everybody knows what they do best and what they have to do to make the team better,” he said.