Article from Sports Illustrated, November 24, 2003: Still tasting a bitter defeat, the workmanlike Wildcats are out to settle the score
Article from Sports Illustrated, November 22, 2004: There’s only one Chuck Hayes, but that may be enough to take the young Wildcats a long way
From Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated, March 07, 2005: No player squeezes more out of his abilities than Kentucky’s 6’6″, 242-pound senior power forward Chuck Hayes. It’s no accident that the Wildcats have gone 103–22 over his four seasons. Through Sunday, Hayes was averaging 10.8 points and 8.5 rebounds and was on the verge of becoming the first player in SEC history to pile up 800 rebounds and 300 assists over his career. His hallmark is toughness: He never takes a play off. On Jan. 25 he broke his nose in an 84–62 win over Tennessee. Four days later, wearing a mask, he stepped onto the court against Arkansas, keeping his streak of consecutive starts (which had reached 102 at week’s end) intact. Hayes hasn’t spent his final season trying to impress NBA scouts by scoring a ton of points. But he has impressed them with his hustle and tenacity.
As a junior attending Modesto Christian High School in California, Hayes was named all-league and all-state. That year he grabbed 31 rebounds in the 2000 Northern California championship game – a California High School record for all divisions. As a senior, Hayes was named “Mr. Basketball” in California and a Parade All-American while leading his team to the state championship game. Hayes was also named an all-state football player as a sophomore.
Hayes arrived at the University of Kentucky in 2001 after choosing UK over Kansas in a close recruiting battle. Hayes was named to the All-SEC Freshman Team in 2002. During the next three years, he contributed to a resurgence in Kentucky basketball along with Keith Bogans, Gerald Fitch, Erik Daniels, and Kelenna Azubuike. In 2003-04, Hayes made the All-SEC Tournament team and in 2004-05, he was selected first team All-SEC by both the AP and the coaches. He also made the All-NCAA Regional team that year. Over Hayes’ sophomore, junior and senior seasons, Kentucky accumulated a record of 87-15 (.853), and earned final AP rankings of 1st, 2nd and 7th respectively. During Hayes’ senior season, the Kentucky athletics department promoted him as an All-American candidate, using the slogan “All He Does Is Win“. Although Hayes was named the 2004 SEC defensive player of the year, he did not earn All-America honors.
Hayes finished his career at Kentucky ranking 7th all time in rebounds, 8th in steals, 9th in blocked shots, and 35th in points. He also tied Alex Groza for the Kentucky record for most consecutive starts with 110.
Chuck Hayes was a member of the 2003 USA men’s Pan American Games team. He started all five games and led the team with 7.6 rebounds per game. The team finished in fourth place with a 2-3 record playing against internationally experienced teams from North and South America.
Despite earning MVP honors at the Portsmouth pre-draft camp, Hayes was not selected in the 2005 NBA Draft but was signed by the Houston Rockets prior to the 2005-06 season. Hayes played in several preseason games before being cut. Hayes was then selected sixth in the 2005 NBA Development League Draft by the Albuquerque Thunderbirds. Hayes led the NBA D-League in rebounding with 12.2 a game in his tenure with the Thunderbirds.
Due to a rash of injuries on the Houston roster, Hayes was signed to a 10-day contract on January 18, 2006. In his second game in a Rockets uniform, Hayes posted a double-double, collecting 12 points and 13 rebounds in a 109-108 win over the Chicago Bulls on January 20. On January 28, the Rockets announced they were signing Hayes for the rest of the season. Hayes earned a total of $231,390 for the season between the 10-day contract and the contract for the remainder of the year. He was later joined by former Kentucky teammate Keith Bogans,
Hayes was quietly productive for the Rockets in his first season. He appeared in all 40 games after joining on the team and averaged 13.4 minutes per game. Hayes was one of the most efficient defensive players in the league, ranking 3rd among rookies in rebounds per 48 minutes (16.1) and 14th in steals per 48 minutes (2.33). He also had an FG% of 52.6%, good for 11th highest in the league among players with at least 100 field goals attempted. On June 13, 2006 the Rockets decided to pick up the option year on his contract (which was worth $664,209),
As a starter in most of the Rockets’ games for the 2006-2007 season, Hayes was a significant contributor. The scope of his role on the team was limited to rebounding, defense, and acting as a decoy or setting screens on offense. The ball was very rarely in his hands on offense. Nevertheless, he has received praise from his coaches and has appeared on the leaderboard for several statistics in the NBA. He finished his second season in the NBA 12th in rebounds per minute and 34th in rebounds per game.
Although not one of the league’s premier players, in 2006 Hayes signed a shoe endorsement deal with Chinese athletic apparel company Li Ning. The deal was valued at $5 million. On July 31st, 2007 Hayes signed an incentive-laden contract with the Houston Rockets valued at $8 million over 4 years. In 2009, Hayes was named co-captain along with Shane Battier for the 2009-2010 Houston Rockets.
Hayes is listed as a forward in the NBA, and was forced to play center during the Rockets’ playoff run in 2008-09 after injuries to starting center Yao Ming and his backup Dikembe Mutombo. Although his skills and style are most suited for interior play, he nearly always has to overcome a significant height disadvantage as he stands only 6’6. Hayes does this with his strength, positioning, and determination. This allows him to rebound and score inside, even in the NBA where he is regularly matched up against players who are taller and/or more athletic.
Hayes has attributed his “nose for the ball” in part to his father’s influence.
On April 21, 2007, Hayes became a father. His girlfriend, Nicole Anderson, gave birth to a baby boy, Dorian Titus Hayes. This day later marked Hayes’ first career playoff start and first playoff victory as well. Hayes has professed an interest for singing, acting, and poker.