Junior point guard Juvaris Hayes of the Merrimack College men’s basketball program received a pair of notable recognitions on Friday. For the second straight season, the point guard was named to the Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association (D2CCA) All-East Region First Team and is now eligible for D2CCA All-American consideration. Additionally, Hayes advanced to the final 25 of the Bevo Francis Award Watch List, an honor given to the top small college basketball player nationwide.
Hayes adds these two accolades to an award-filled mantle; the third-year Warrior was named the Northeast-10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year, to the NE10’s All-Conference First Team, a preseason All-American selection in addition to a pair of NE10 Player of the Week awards and a United States Basketball Writers Association National Player of the Week nod. Hayes was also one of two Warriors to be named to the NE10 Championship All-Tournament Team.
The Bevo Francis Award is given to the top small college basketball nationwide encompassing NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, NAIA Division I, NAIA Division II, USCAA and NCCAA. Hayes is one of two players from NE10 to crack the top 25, joining Saint Anselm’s Tim Guers. The Bevo Francis Award Committee chose this elite group from over 1,100 colleges and universities and took into consideration individual statistics, previous awards, milestones and team success. The list will next be narrowed down to the finalists that will be announced in a highlight video on April 6.
On the defensive end of the floor, Hayes leads the country with 124 steals and 4.0 thefts per game after pacing the country one year ago in both areas. He will enter the NCAA Tournament needed one more steal to break his own NE10 single-season record. No other NE10 player finished with more than 50 steals. Hayes’ 335 career thefts rank 10th all-time in Division II history.
Offensively, the floor general has enjoyed his best season to date. Hayes has scored a career-best 599 points for a team-leading 19.3 points per game that ranks sixth in the NE10. Hayes’ 233 field goals made are a career high and lead the conference. As a distributor, Hayes moved into the NE10 lead with 207 assists and ranks sixth in the country in assists per game (6.7). He’s also Merrimack’s leader in rebounding, totaling 210 total caroms for an average of 6.8 per contest.
The All-American enters the NCAA Tournament on Saturday on the doorstep of history. Hayes needs on point to reach 600 for the season, which would give the Paterson, N.J. native the first 600-point, 200-rebound, 200-assist and 100-steal season in NCAA history (across all divisions).
Hayes and the rest of the Warriors begin their third straight NCAA East Regional tomorrow afternoon when second-seeded Merrimack faces seventh-seeded Dominican (N.Y.) College in the regional quarterfinals at 2:30 p.m. from Stoutenburgh Gymnasium in Manchester, N.H.