Sophomore point guard Juvaris Hayes (Paterson, N.J.) of the Merrimack College men’s basketball program was named to the Bevo Francis Award Watchlist, an award given annually to the best small college basketball nationwide from Division II, Division III, the NAIA, USCAA and NCCAA.
Hayes is one of 47 Division II student-athletes to make the Watchlist, which currently comprises of 100 players. The list will be cut down to 50 players on February 15 and 25 on March 15 before the finalists are unveiled on March 31. The Bevo Francis Award Winner will be announced on April 2.
After entering the season as a Preseason All-American, Hayes has proved the early season accolades accurate. Hayes leads the country with 68 steals, while he is second nationwide in steals per game (4.0), total assists (139) and assists per game (8.2). Merrimack’s floor general leads the Warriors with 18.9 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. His 121 field goals are nearly twice as more as the next closest Warrior, shooting 49.2 percent from the field.
The award was created in 2015 and is named after Clarence “Bevo” Francis. Francis played two seasons at what is now the University of Rio Grande. Francis averaged 50.1 points per game, highlighted by a 116-point performance against Ashland College in Kentucky, leading his team to a 39-0 record.
Justin Pitts of Northwest Missouri State – the defending national champions – won the award in 2017. Hayes is one of two Northeast-10 Conference players on the list, joining Southern New Hampshire’s Chris Walters.