CONWAY — White Hall 4-star junior Jai’Chaunn Hayes, an Arkansas target, embraces being a coach’s son and the wisdom that comes with it.
His father is the head coach of the Bulldogs' basketball program.
“With the experience and knowledge and intel he has it just helps me on the court and off the court,” Hayes said. “Raising me all these years, I’ve been able to learn so much basketball knowledge that he can pour into me. It’s great having a dad as a coach because there’s always a learning point.”
Hayes, 6-7, 200 pounds, averaged 27 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 1 blocked shot per game as a sophomore for the Bulldogs, and he was named to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Underclassmen team.
He’s rated a 4-star prospect by On3.com, the No. 4 combo guard and No. 51 overall recruit in the nation in the 2025 class.
He has offers from Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Missouri, Ole Miss, and Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and is drawing strong interest from Memphis. Hayes received his offer from the Razorbacks on May 19 when Eric Musselman informed him.
“It was crazy because I was actually asleep,” said Hayes, who plays for St. Louis-based Bradley Beal Elite in spring and summer basketball. “My dad woke me up and it was just like, ‘Wow.’ To hear those words, it was crazy. My eyes opened.
“I was just so thankful he was able to bless me with that. I’m going to have that moment forever in my life.”
Hayes knows he’s somewhat of a marked man now.
“I know there’s a big target on my back,” he said. “It’s great to know all the work has paid off and, that said, there’s more work to be done, especially because I know people are coming after me, and with the Arkansas offer, a lot of people, they’re jealous of that or whatever it maybe. I’m just glad it all worked out.”
While former Arkansas assistant coach Gus Argenal talked before he left to become the head coach of Cal State San Bernardino, Hayes said he and recruiting coordinator Ronnie Brewer are steadily talking, and he is occasionally in touch with Musselman.
“I’ve been mostly in contact with Coach Brewer. It used to be Coach Argenal until he left,” Hayes said. “I talk to Muss a little bit – about three times – but he’s the one that offered me. We try and keep a good connection with them. Great group of guys.”