Jarvis Hayes Q&A: Shooting for the Second Season
May 15, 2009
By Ben Couch -- NJNETS.COM
East Rutherford, N.J.—The 2003 NBA Draft is a heralded one, and with good reason: the top five picks produced four superstars (LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh). The Wizards had the 10th pick in that draft, and selected Georgia product Jarvis Hayes. After a promising rookie campaign, Hayes was waylaid by injuries during his second and third seasons, missing 79 of 164 games.
But he recovered to perform solidly (7.2 PPG in 20.6 minutes) in 81 games during the 2007-08 season, and after a one-season pit stop in Detroit, Hayes joined the Nets as a free agent before the start of '08-09. He played a stellar season backing up the 2 and 3, even dabbling at the 4 in smaller lineups -- while playing with torn ligaments in his left (non-shooting) thumb for the final two months. Hayes finished the year averaging 8.7 points and 3.6 rebounds in 24.8 minutes, while shooting a career-high .385 from three and .445 overall. However, Hayes isn't happy that he missed the playoffs for the first time in his career.
With the season complete, Hayes took time to chat with NJNets.com, discussing what it's like to shed the 'shooter' tag, how he keeps loose (pilates) and why he's hoping the Nets pick up the option on his contract.
NJNets.com: Looking back on the year, what kind of goals had you set for yourself and the team?
Jarvis Hayes: As a team you always want to go to the playoffs and have the best, most successful season possible. But that didn’t happen. You can look at this season in a couple of different ways: You can look at it as a complete wash and it was all for nothing -- but you can’t look at it like that. We played a lot better than a lot of people expected us to. We still thought we could have played a lot better in certain areas and, therefore, made the playoffs. It is what it is and I don’t think it was a complete wash, we have a lot of pieces here and a lot of people on this team that could really develop and we could be a completely different team next year. I think chemistry is the most important. We got a year under our belts playing together. And in the summer, if everyone comes in earlier like they did last year, getting more acquainted with each other and more acclimated in the system, I think we’ll be fine.
NJNets.com: With so many new faces, how long did it take for everyone to feel comfortable with each other?
Jarvis: I think we’re still getting there. It doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a process. We’re on that process right now. I wouldn’t say we’re a team that’s come together, because our record doesn’t reflect that a team that’s come together. But nevertheless, we’re taking baby steps, we’re taking strides in the right direction, we’re getting better. Everybody’s starting to understand each other’s role, starting to appreciate each other’s role, and we’re showing we can be a better team next year.
NJNets.com: Did you feel like there was a point during the season when the team showed what it might be capable of?
Jarvis: Early on, I think we surprised some people. I don’t think the league necessarily had a lot of scouting materials as far as our open offense at the beginning of the season, so I think we took some teams by surprise, creating gaps for Devin, etc. etc.. But as you get scouted, you have to rely more on the team game. So we’ve got some work to do.
NJNets.com: You struggled through knee problems for a few years, but have now played at least 74 games three years running. How confident are you in the health of your knee?
Jarvis: My last year in Washington I played 81 games and in Detroit I played 82. It’s been going on three, last year I played pretty confident in Detroit. As far as being completely confident in the knee and going along with the health, this year was up there with last year in Detroit without having anything catastrophic happen. It feels good to shake that injury prone label that I kind of got over the past few years. I would think I probably should have shed that label by now, hopefully.
NJNets.com: Did your individual success this year sneak up on you?
Jarvis: No, it’s not surprising at all. Over the past few years opportunities have been different. My knee didn’t hold up previous years like it did the last two years. And last year I didn’t play as much -- Detroit is a talented team and they had their core group of guys. I did what I could do with any time that I was given. Here, I was given a little bit more of a role and more minutes. I still thought I could have shot a little bit better than I had, but it is what is and I continue to get better.
NJNets.com: It’s got to feel good to show you're more versatile than simply being ‘a shooter.’
Jarvis: That reputation is something I had coming into the league. When everything happened with the knee it slowed things down for me in a good way, but it was good to get out in transition, get some easy buckets, slashing, and getting back to some of the things that I did when I got into the league.
NJNets.com: How long did it take this group to come together as a unit?
Jarvis: It took longer than we expected. With so many new pieces, Eddy (Najera) being hurt, Devin (Harris) missing some time, Yi (Jianlian) missing some time, it was kind of hard to find that right chemistry that any team needs to be competitive or good and make it to the playoffs. Still, that isn’t an excuse. That being said, we have some pieces here. You never know what the future holds and who’s here and who’s not, but for the most part I think we have a pretty good nucleus of guys.
NJNets.com: What are the big offseason plans?
Jarvis: I’ll be in Atlanta with my newborn, helping my wife out a little bit. By the end of the year, I hadn’t seen my son in two weeks. I'm looking forward to that; I probably won’t do anything the rest of April. I’ll probably take a class in pilates in the middle of May, and then start training the first of June. I have a strength guy in Charlotte that I will do most of my strength work with. I started last summer and I’ll continue this summer. Then I’ll come back up here in August to leave enough time before camp.
NJNets.com: When did you get started doing pilates?
Jarvis: I did it a couple of summers ago and it really had me feeling good for my off time. I stayed elongated and loose, so when I did start to work out I wasn’t as tight. Like normally my back will start hurting when I start to work out and those things didn’t happen a couple of summers ago. I didn’t do it last summer and wanted to, but I just never get around to it. This time I’m definitely going to take it up again, anything to keep me busy until I start working out again.
NJNets.com: What are you going to focus on in particular?
Jarvis: Strength and core work, that’s his expertise. He is going to beat me up this year.
NJNets.com: Do you have any vacation plans?
Jarvis: Me and my wife were thinking about going somewhere, I forget the name of the place, for our one-year anniversary, July the 26th. But I am going to take a couple of vacations: one with my wife, and one with my family and her family together. We normally take two vacations a summer.
NJNets.com: The team holds an option on your contract. Are you hoping to be back?
Jarvis: Yes I am. It’s almost like unfinished business here. The playoffs are an amazing experience to be a part of and to experience. That’s something I don’t want to miss ever again in my career. If I didn’t come back here next year, I feel like … well, I think I’ll be back. I hope so.
NJNets.com: I hear you'll be back in Jersey this summer.
Jarvis: Yes I’ll be back; I’ll be coming back before training camp. Hopefully I can set some one-on-one time with Kiki (Vandeweghe), so he can work me out this summer. I’ll be back and forth.
NJNets.com: How do you think you'll benefit most from working with Kiki?
Jarvis: Just gaining his knowledge, just being around him. He was a great player and a great basketball mind. Anything you can soak up him from him -- and (Rod Thorn) and Lawrence (Frank), for that matter -- is something I would want to do.
NJNets.com: What enabled the young players to develop as well as they did?
Jarvis: All of them -- especially the rookies -- were like sponges. They listened great, and they took criticism well; anytime you can do that as a young guy, it’s a good thing, regardless of the circumstance. Every older person in this league has something to offer, and if they take the time to listen, they’ll be alright in the long run.