Killian Hayes in Ulm jersey last season. Michele Nucci / LPS via Zuma Wire / ABACAPRESS.COM
At 19, Killian Hayes became last night the highest drafted French basketball player in the NBA, seventh by the Detroit Pistons.
Don't compare him to Tony Parker. As there will be no successor to Zinédine Zidane in football, there will never be a new TP in French basketball as the former San Antonio Spurs star marked the history of his sport and had qualities unique physical, technical and mental. Yet this morning, many will draw parallels between Killian Hayes and his glorious elder. Like TP, Killian Hayes has been programmed to play at the highest international level and evolves into a playmaker position, although the taller Killian (1.98m) could evolve more as a fullback. Born in Lakeland, Florida, on July 27, 2001, he followed in his sports peregrinations his father, DeRon, an honest professional basketball player who played in Evreux and Cholet. In Cholet, precisely, a well-known nursery for Made in France shoots (remember Antoine Rigaudeau, Rudy Gobert), Killian Hayes will grow up, refine his "drives" before leaving France for the first time for Germany and the club of 'Ulm. French under-18 champion, European under-16 champion - he will be named best player in the competition - vice world champion under-17, he has the sacred fire in him, this confidence in his abilities that a dual Franco-American education may bring him.
The French Connection
Last night, the young champion was drafted by the legendary franchise of the Detroit Pistons in the seventh choice, a record for a Habs. This still owes nothing to chance. His personal coach is a former player who shone in Michigan, Will Bynum, and will be welcomed by another young Frenchman, Sekou Doumbouya, recruited by the same Pistons last year. And the two kids already know and appreciate each other. It is also rumored that the Pistons staff hope that Killian Hayes brings his winning mentality to his compatriot ...
Sekou Doumbouya and Killian Hayes
Of course, it was also his qualities on the floor that appealed to recruiters - Hayes can shine with the ball in hand, with a mastery of the lethal weapon, the "Stepback" (which can be translated as firing while backing) which earns him flattering comparisons to Houston Rockets superstar James Harden. A decent defender, he's just a bit lacking in muscle - but American fitness trainers sometimes turn giraffes into buffaloes.
Disappointment on the other hand for the young Théo Maledon, another great hope of French basketball, finally recruited at the start of the second round (34th choice) by the Oklahoma Thunder. Also 19 years old, brooded by Tony Parker at Asvel, Théo Maledon is a more classic playmaker, more European if one can say, who prefers to distribute the game to perfection than to attack the circle. He is no less talented than Killian Hayes but physical problems have slowed his progress with shoulder injuries. The future will tell which of the two will be stronger. One thing is certain: the French succession is assured.