Scouting The Mid-Majors
Mike Pudlow |July 2, 2012
University of Maryland Eastern Shore may not be the first place you look in evaluating basketball talent, but the team’s star player Hillary Haley may just be one of the nation’s hidden gems.
The 6-7, 210 shooting guard burst onto the basketball scene his junior season averaging 16.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. Then, the team changed overnight, forcing Haley to adjust his role and learn a completely different offensive system.
“The whole team changed between my junior and senior season,” states Haley, “The system changed and we went to more of a Georgetown style of offense. We were moving up and down the court as opposed to a slower pace in my junior year, where we played a half court offense. It was definitely hard to adjust at first, but I definitely got used to it. My production went down a little because of the newer system and the way we were playing, but everyday I kept putting in time and working out, trying to find where I can be most productive in the new offense. Eventually I found my strengths in the newer system and put it all together.”
Haley does not regret a change in system or use it as an excuse, but rather views the experience as a learning opportunity. His senior season, Haley did notice a small decrease in numbers going from 16.8 to 10.9 points per game and 5.8 to 4.4 rebounds per game. Yet, these numbers may be deceiving as his work ethic on and off the court was unaltered and he even appeared to be even more valuable to his team in his new role (after all we know not everything shows up in the stat sheet). In fact, as a result of the newer offense, Haley was able to demonstrate his great floor vision, increasing his assist totals.
Throughout his college career, Haley has proven his scoring ability, athleticism, rebounding, and passing skills. Haley is even willing to take on any challenge to prove his talent, recently dropping 16 points in a Rucker Park pickup game. As he approaches his pro career, Haley hopes to perform well on the international stage and one day make it to the NBA.
“I’m a hard-working guy first off. I am always spending time in the gym and am always trying to perfect my craft. I can shoot and rebound, and I’m always going to make the hustle plays. I think my versatility definitely will help me at the next level. I can play different positions and have played under different offensive systems. Ultimately, the bottom line is I will do anything to help the team,” explains Haley.
Furthermore, Haley believes his leadership skills will make them inherently successful at the pro level.
“A lot of my friends and family always tell me I am a natural born leader. As I’ve took on more of a veteran role the last few years, I wanted to be someone the players could look up to. I lead by my actions. I’m always the first one in the gym and the last one out. I wanted to show the younger guys how dedicated I was to the game and I wanted them to see the amount of work I was putting in and do the same,” notes Haley.
Haley has been working out with high school friend, former Pitt star, and current Philadelphia 76er Sam Young to prepare for the professional ranks. Haley has also been hitting the weight room. In fact, Haley is the biggest and strongest of his career, gaining 10 pounds of muscle over the summer.
Certainly, Haley has proven he has quality basketball skills and is extremely versatile. Most importantly, Haley has an incredible work ethic and an immense passion for the game… and that’s why he has become a hot commodity in international leagues and why he might just be one of the most underrated players in the country