Oriole guard Hayes nets 1,000 career points
St. Louis Park senior point guard Kashif Hayes has made many three-point shots during his three varsity basketball seasons. But there is one particular shot that Hayes will remember with pride once his playing days are over.
Hayes surpassed the career-scoring milestone of 1,000 points by making a three-point shot during St. Louis Park’s 65-49 North Suburban Conference victory over host Totino-Grace Jan. 29. The 5-foot-10 Oriole standout finished with 19 points.
During the first stop in action after his three-point shot, Hayes was presented with a game ball to commemorate his scoring achievement. But that’s when a truly special moment took place.
Hayes presented that ball to St. Louis Park seventh-grade traveling player Wyatt Christenson, whose older sister Carly recently passed away from complications of influenza. Carly was a ninth-grade girls basketball player at Park.
“It meant a lot to me to be able to give Wyatt the game ball after I reached 1,000 points,” said Hayes. “I didn’t know Carly well but heard she was a very nice person.
“Scoring 1,000 points is a big achievement, but I will be happier if we can win a conference and state championship.”
St. Louis Park head boys basketball coach Dave Breitenbucher wasn’t surprised by Hayes’ compassionate act to honor Carly Christenson’s memory.
“Kashif is an unselfish person on and off the court,” said the Oriole coach. “Scoring 1,000 points is an even bigger achievement considering that Kashif is more concerned about getting his teammates involved in our offense rather than shooting.”
Hayes is a major reason why St. Louis Park leads the North Suburban Conference standings with an 8-0 record and has compiled a 14-3 record.
Hayes is Park’s second-leading scorer with a 16.7 average. D.J. Pollard is the Orioles’ top scorer averaging 17.6 points.
Pollard contributed 15 points to Park’s victory over Totino-Grace. Marshall Cullen finished with seven points. Makhi Moore and Jeffrey Bonds scored six points apiece.
Hayes credits togetherness for being a major part of this team’s success.
“Our players are close off the court and support each other,” said Hayes. “We are a senior team whose players are unselfish.”
Hayes can hurt opposing defenses in several ways. He uses his speed and quickness to race inside for lay-up baskets. Or he can stop and shoot the three-pointer with effectiveness.
“I work hard every practice to improve my shooting,” said Hayes. “I also rely on my quick first step and I guess that comes naturally.”
Hayes used that slashing-running style to good advantage during the football season. He was one of St. Louis Park’s leading rushers and scorers last fall.
Hayes is keeping his college options open. He should get several basketball scholarship offers if he keeps playing at a high level. What college basketball coach wouldn’t be swayed by an athlete like Hayes, who buys into the team-first concept?