Haynes leads UTA into Southland tourney
If the Mavericks are to go on a tournament run, Haynes must be a big part of it. Haynes was named the Southland Conference Player of the Year on Tuesday with an average of 22.8 points per game. That’s good enough for third in the nation in scoring. The senior from Irving is just the second UTA player to be named player of the year (Albert Culton, 1982).
Haynes’ goal is to make the NBA. He knows his chances of being drafted are slim, but he hopes to end up in a tryout camp with a team and to show that he can compete at the highest level. He was invited to the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in April, which hosts 64 seniors hoping to impress NBA scouts before the draft.
“I know the question about me is whether I can do it against top competition,” Haynes said. “If I can prove myself, then maybe I’ll get a chance with a team.”
Haynes, a transfer from Boston College, has attracted some attention because of his scoring consistency. He has totaled 20 or more points 19 times this season and has a school-record seven 30-point games. Haynes is a pretty objective critic of his own game, saying that his strengths are his speed, jumping ability, and athleticism, which he says helps him create space to shoot. He cites court vision and off-the-ball defense as areas of improvement.
“I’m really focused on getting better about that and using court vision to get all my teammates involved,” Haynes said.
Haynes said he chose UTA because he had a previous relationship with head coach Scott Cross, who tried to recruit Haynes out of high school.
“I’m glad I came here,” Haynes said. “I’ve improved and become a better player. I like our chances in the tournament. We lost our last few games coming in, but we had a pretty good winning streak before that.”
The Mavericks lost their last three games, but won eight of their previous nine prior to the losing streak. If they win today, they’ll face the winner of the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi-UTSA game on Thursday.
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