Jalen Hayes is back

Jalen Hayes, power forward for the Golden Grizzlies and three-time All-Horizon League forward, has served his four game suspension from the NCAA and played in his first season game Friday against the University of Kansas Jayhawks.

Hayes is an human resource development major. That department requires all of its students to pass HR classes with a 2.8. Hayes received a 2.5 in one of his summer HR classes, causing an NCAA suspension to follow. Shy by just .3, the NCAA caught wind of the grade and suspended him for 17 games.

“It didn’t process with me at first,” Hayes said. “It started out with the suspension being almost the whole season, so we appealed it, and Kampe told me there was a good chance that the appeal would work, and I wouldn’t have to miss many games.”

After sending in the first appeal, the NCAA dropped the 17-game suspension to only seven games. Feeling hopeful, Hayes appealed again, and it dwindled down to four games. He tried appealing once more, but did not have much luck, leaving him stuck with the 4-game suspension, but he explained his gratitude for it not being the entire season.

“I talked to my teammates and they were really supportive, and my family was too,” Hayes said. “They told me four games would go by fast and not to worry about it, plus I was still able to practice, so I just took it one day at a time.”

Given Hayes’ circumstance, he was still able to find a silver lining in his gray cloud. He explained how it was somewhat rewarding sitting on the bench because he was able to see his team from a different perspective, helping him realize what they need to work on.

“It’s weird because I don’t get to see that when I’m out there,” Hayes said. “I had the perspective of seeing all five guys and how we box out, what we need to work on and little things like that. I can see a coach’s viewpoint now when they’re yelling at us it looks a lot worse from the sideline than on the court.”

With a score of 102-59, Kansas, who is ranked #3 in the nation, took the win over Oakland. But, Hayes explained he is just happy to be playing again after his suspension.

“It’s more like butterflies rather than nerves thinking about being back out there,” Hayes said. “I’ll probably be a little nervous and have some jitters, but it’ll be fun.”

Hayes finished his first game back with 14 points.

Now that Hayes is back in action, he has high hopes for the team this season. He anticipates winning the Horizon League Championship, and hopes to make a decent dent in the NCAA tournament.

Hayes will play in his first home game of the season on Thursday Nov 30, and hopes his fellow Golden Grizzlies will come out to show their support.