When Killian Hayes arrived this off-season in southwest Germany, ratiopharm Ulm knew it would have to live with the lows of a youngster trying to learn the ropes of basketball at a high level. But the club was also aware it would witness why the 18-year-old point guard is considered one of the biggest talents on the continent. And the good Killian Hayes outweighed the bad Killian Hayes on Tuesday as Ulm finally grabbed its first 7DAYS EuroCup win this season.
Hayes collected 15 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists and 3 steals in the 103-89 victory over Maccabi Rishon LeZion at home. But the USA-born French prospect also committed 6 turnovers.
Hayes, who joined Ulm after playing last season with French club Cholet, has shown the highest of highs and lowest of lows all season, averaging 11.2 points while shooting a respectable 36.8 percent from long range and an outstanding 91.7% (11 of 12) from the free-throw line to go with 3.0 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 2.4 steals per game. But, just like anything with Hayes this season, there is the other side, as the uber-talent has been harassed into amassing 21 turnovers through five games - ranking him first (or last) with 4.2 turnovers per game and 6.26 per 40 minutes.
Still, there is the enticing side that oozes star potential. And Ulm head coach Jaka Lakovic along with the team’s fans experienced the good and bad in the third quarter. Hayes turned the ball over twice as Rishon opened the second half on an 0-12 run to take a 55-59 lead. But Hayes finally got Ulm on the scoreboard with a big dunk after a drive down the lane. He assisted on the next basket, nailed a three-pointer, scored again, dunked home one of his steals and added another assist in Ulm’s big 20-3 answer.
Even though he was held scoreless in the fourth quarter, there was more strong play by Hayes on display. He first turned it over, but then dished out 4 assists - including feeding Derek Willis on two of his three critical three-pointers for the final push to finish off Rishon.
This was Hayes at his best - and worst. But the youngster was playing just the fifth European game of his career. He has a great teacher in Lakovic, who won the EuroLeague as a point guard with FC Barcelona and can show Hayes the ropes. But Lakovic and the rest of the Ulm management and fans will have to be patient with Hayes, knowing they will shake their heads in disappointment one second and then celebrate wildly the next. This is the life of watching Killian Hayes wow you in good and bad ways - all as he develops into what many believe is certain superstardom.