“Schools in every major conference all want her in the worst way,” King Coach William Winfield said of Hayes, the Detroit Public School League Proud Strong League Week.
“Antania has exceptional talents. Great speed, she rebounds, plays defense and, on offense, she handles the ball with both hands and can score and assist. She can do it all right now.”
At 6-0 with a slender build and deft moves, Hayes has a matchup advantage over most other guards in the PSL. But it’s her all-around talents that set her apart.
In a recent nonleague victory against Southfield Lathrup, the Lady Crusaders’ co-captain had a triple double with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. For the season, she’s leading the team in rebounding (seven a game) and assists (six a game) and is second in scoring with 14 points a game.
“She was playing forward, but I had to put her at the point because I didn’t have anyone else,’’ Winfield said. “She had a good summer playing and came back this year ready to be a leader.”
In her third year on the varsity and second as a starter, Hayes had made a smooth transition from the wing to the point.
“My role is start things off and my teammates follow along with me,’’ she said. “I’ve improved a lot since I’ve been on the varsity. When I came out in the ninth grade, (Coach Winfield) started me a couple of games and had faith in me and started me in the 10th grade. I was a good rebounder. Now I’m just doing my thing at point guard.
“I like taking it to the basket and rebounding. I’ve been playing since the third grade and I like everything about it. I don’t like it. I love it.”
As for her college suitors, Hayes says “I’m wide open,” while naming DePaul and South Florida among the programs that have caught her attention. Her 3.0 grade point average represents improvement she’s proud to have made in the classroom. “I came a long way from ninth grade,’’ she said. “I’m a student-athlete now.”
Hayes was eagerly anticipating Friday’s showdown at Pershing High where her Lady Crusaders will play the Doughgirls in a battle of league unbeatens for first place in the East Division.
“I’ve got faith in my team. I feel we’re going to beat them,” she said. “I think we can win the city and the state. I know we can. We’re on our way to it. This is the best team I’ve played on. We’re actually working as a team. That’s what makes us good.”
The Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learner of the Week Award is representative of the league’s top boys’ and girls’ athletic performers and is sponsored by local Detroit area McDonald’s owner-operators