Killian Hayes on being the top Euro pick: It’s a cool title, but I wasn’t aiming for it

2020-11-19T11:15:43+00:00 2020-11-19T11:15:43+00:00.

Antigoni Zachari

19/Nov/20 11:15

Hayes was the first Euro pick of the 2020 NBA draft by the Pistons, though this is merely a “cool title” for him

By Eurohoops team /

Killian Hayes is ready to embark on his NBA journey as the 7th overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons. The French guard talked to the press after the big announcement and addressed various aspects, from his early pro years with Ulm to the criticism he’s received prior to the draft, and more.

“It’s definitely hard coming in at 15, 16 years old, playing against grown men, but I learned a lot from [my European experience]. Even this season when I started the season slow, but Jaka [Lakovic] really trusted me, and we put in a lot of work to be on the court or watching tape. It really paid off. During the season we got better and better and better. Now I understand how to play the game of basketball and how to make the right plays”, said Hayes, who joined Ulm last season with a three-year deal.

Hayes will pair up with Sekou Doumbouya in the Pistons and the French youngster explained how he and Doumbouya reacted to the news of the Pistons’ selection for the 7th pick: “As soon as I got drafted, Sekou sent me the eyes emoji, that’s looking away. I told him in French “j’arrive”, which means “I’m coming”. I see Detroit is making a lot of trades. I hope he stays in Detroit and everything goes well”.

While Deni Avdija was predicted to be the top European pick in the draft, Hayes exceeded his Israeli counterpart that was ultimately selected with the 9th pick. “It’s a cool title to hold, but it’s not something I was aiming for. I’m just trying to be in a great situation where I’m able to play and show what I can do”, he explained.

Hayes explained he was pretty confident in the communication he’d built with the Pistons prior to the draft, even though his selection was still a big “relief”, as he told the press.

“I was pretty confident. Like everybody knows, nothing is guaranteed. There was no like 100% sure I was going to go to Detroit, but I had a good feeling about it from the meeting that we had, the talk that we had. Detroit was the team I wanted to go to […] That was just really — it’s a big relief because in my head I kind of knew it was Detroit, but nothing was guaranteed. When I heard my name with Detroit, I was really happy. You could see the reaction of my mom and dad just jumping around. A lot of excitement. I felt super proud of myself.”

Prior to his arrival to the NBA, Hayes has been working a lot and his reply to any criticism comes in a classic French fashion. “That [criticism on playing too much with his left hand] was eight months ago. I’ve been working a lot since then. Right now my right hand is not an issue. I wouldn’t say it’s as good as my left, but I can go right at will now. So I can pass with my right with accuracy, and it’s not a problem anymore”, he states.

Photo: EuroCup