King High’s Antania Hayes averages 15 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists per game for the Lady Crusaders as the glue that holds everything together.
“We’ve had four or five girls out with injuries, three of them starters, but with Antania on the floor, we’ve been able to keep rolling,’’ Coach William Winfield said of Hayes, the Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learner of the Week.
Hayes, a 6-1 senior point guard, takes pride in being the No. 1 player for the state’s No. 1-ranked team.
Last year, the Lady Crusaders won the PSL championship but had their bid for the state championship end in the quarterfinals. Hayes said “hard work and staying humble’’ are the keys to her success and the team’s ultimate goal of backing up their No. 1 ranking.
“We’re playing very well,’’ she said. “I’m playing better than last year because I’m playing harder and smarter. As a team, we’re motivated, focused and we’ve all got heart. We’re all after the same thing and that’s the state championship.”
Hayes’ playmaking ability is a constant threat but, even more than scoring, her biggest strength is rebounding.
“She not only scores and rebounds, but she also leads the team in assists and every other category,’’ Winfield said. “She’s one of the best rebounders to ever come through here and we’ve had some good ones. But she’s in a class by herself in terms of rebounds and getting up and down the floor. She’s very athletic.”
Hayes, who has a 3.0 grade point average, was one of the nation’s most highly-regarded college recruits before accepting a scholarship to play at DePaul University in Chicago.
“There really never was any question where she was going,” Winfield said,. “She went to a camp at DePaul when she was in the sixth grade and they’ve been watching her ever since. It’s a good fit for her. They’ll take care of her and make sure she does what she’s supposed to do.”
“I feel like DePaul can get me where I want to be, and that’s successful in life,’’ Hayes said. “I know I’ll get the academic support to get my college degree. And I like the team because they’re good and they’ve got heart. I like a team with heart.”
The Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learner of the Week award is representative of the league’s top boys and girls athletes. The award is presented by the DPS Office of Athletics and sponsored for the third year in a row by Detroit-area McDonald’s owner-operators