The LMU Lions will certainly be in rebuilding mode next season after losing their head coach and four year point guard Anthony Ireland, who was one of the best players in West Coast Conference Basketball history.
Along with the loss of Ireland, three key players from last season’s rotation have transferred in Nick Stover, C.J. Blackwell, and Gabe Levin. Where will LMU replace all of these minutes and points? One player who could be primed to be an impact JuCo transfer is guard Matt Hayes, who had a terrific one season at Santa Rosa Junior College.
Time at Santa Rosa JC
In his freshman season, Hayes averaged 16.2 points per game and shot 43.6% from beyond the arc while knocking down 92 three pointers. He teamed with future Pacific guard Alec Kobre to form one of the best 3-point shooting backcourts in all of Junior College basketball, combining for 6.5 made three point shots per game. Think of those two like you thought of Jared Stohl and Nemanja Mitrovic of the Portland Pilots during the 2010-11 season, who combined for 5.7 made three point shots per game that year.
In his lone season at Santa Rosa, Hayes helped lead the team to the California Community College Athletic Association State Tournament, averaging 20.2 points per game over his last 9 games of the season.
Impact at LMU
Hayes will likely be competing with the recently injured Chase Flint and Ayodeji Egbeyemi, along with incoming freshman Simon Krajcovic, 2014 WCC all-freshman selection Evan Payne, and versatile JUCO transfer David Humphries for playing time at the guard spot for Mike Dunlap’s LMU Lions.
Like Kobre, Hayes has all of the potential to become similar to fellow former Santa Rosa JC player and current Portland Pilot Bobby Sharp. Along with New Mexico State’s Kevin Aronis (who has played in the NCAA tournament the last 2 seasons), Hayes, Kobre, and Sharp were all known at Santa Rosa for being shooters. Hayes has the chance to be a deadly shooter as a sixth man or potentially even start depending on how well Flint and Egbeyemi recover from their injuries from last season. Expect to hear plenty of swishes from Hayes over the next three seasons at LMU.