For the second time in as many seasons, junior point guard Juvaris Hayes of the Merrimack College men’s basketball program was named a Preseason All-American by multiple outlets – in the annual Street & Smith’s Basketball Yearbook and in the Division II Bulletin.
Hayes led the nation in steals per game (3.88), total assists (255) and total steals (124), establishing himself as one of the top point guard nationwide. He finished the season by eclipsing the 1,000-point plateau, becoming the 44th player in program history to do so and first to do it before the start of their junior season since Darin “Dee” Mency ’11 in 2009.
Last season, Hayes paced the Warriors in field goals (212), free throws (132), points (570), points per game (17.8), rebounds (187) and rebounds per game (5.8). The Paterson, N.J. native scored in double figures in a team-best 29 games, recorded at least 10 assists in eight games, and had the most assists (17) in a single game nationwide last season. He also posted his second career triple-double, and established new career bests in points (35) and assists.
In terms of career statistics, Hayes is on pace to break into the top 25 in NCAA Division II history in both career assists and career steals. The point guard boasts 542 career helpers and 211 career thefts. His 124 steals last season set a new Northeast-10 Conference record, while ranking as the sixth most ever in a single year in Division II history.
Hayes is part of a men’s basketball program that was named among the Division II Bulletin’s “Team’s to Watch”, ranking just outside the outlet’s preseason top-25 rankings. The Warriors return over 80 percent of their scoring last season, and eight rotational players from the group that reached the regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament for the second time in as many years.