Jermaine Hayley – Patience in the Process
Former Burnaby South star Jermaine Haley was one of the most highly sought after recruits to come out of British Columbia last year. After being courted by numerous Division 1 schools, the 6-foot-6 forward decided on New Mexico State where he is redshirting in his first year with the program. Vancouver Basketball caught up with Haley to talk about how things are going so far for him down South.
VB: You’re redshirting in your first season at New Mexico State. How is that working out for you so far?
JH: Going to school and leaving was hard. I was kinda nervous, but our program has a lot of guys from different areas. Guys from France, Africa, from Canada, so as soon as I got there they welcomed me with open arms. We’re all in the same situation, we’re coming somewhere we had never been before. Meeting new people, and I think actually watching NCAA games in person and (the Aggies) having such a good non-conference schedule, seeing a lot of great players, I think sitting out I’m getting a lot stronger, and getting a lot better. I wish I was playing, but overall I think it has been pretty good. I’m getting a lot better even though I’m not playing. I am able to see how we run things in practice. I think its been good for me and I can’t wait to get on the court next year.
VB: Do you feel that sitting out for a season and having patience in the process will help fuel that drive, that hunger for when you finally get on the court?
JH: I think the whole point of this year is to get me a lot better. Any school I would have went to, I would have done this redshirt year. We got a lot of good guys on the team that are doing the same thing as me, so I just got to be prepared. I got to use this year to my advantage to get stronger so that I’m 100 per cent ready for next year when that first practice starts. Our teams really young, so everybody is going to be returning next year. Everybody is going to be playing with each other. There is one other kid redshirting. We workout together, so we both have an understanding what coach expects from us this year and next year.
VB: There are several other Canadians on the team. Do you feel more comfortable with guys from your own country already on the team?
JH: They’re all from the east coast, from Toronto, but I think we all kinda have sort of a connection. Everybody at school loves the Canadian guys, especially Tanveer (Bhullar), who’s brother Sim was there before him. We share a connection and I think us playing together helps the team. It gives us a bunch of publicity. Everybody loves us Canadians. Nobody in New Mexico really knows about Canadians, but I think now that we’re there, they have a better understanding of us.
VB: New Mexico State just played Wyoming. You got Baylor and Wichita State coming up. Has it been overwhelming or are you just sorta taking it all in?
JH: Our team plays a really hard schedule. Our conference isn’t the strongest conference, but we’ve made the tournament the last four years. I’m hoping we do it again this year. Non-conference wise we haven’t done that great this year, but I know we can do a lot better, but like I said, we got a really young team. I think this year is a learning year for the guys we got coming in next year. But I think watching the big-time schools is an eye opener, but I know we can compete against them any night.
VB: CIS versus NCAA. If you had have gone the CIS route you would be playing right now, however, you went the route you did and are doing what you’re doing right now. That route isn’t for everyone, is it?
JH: You really need to think about it a lot. As far as what you want to do with basketball in the future. I feel like I have a chance at the NBA, or to play overseas. The reason I picked NCAA basketball is because I feel that’s the sort of game I have, and that I can excel in the NCAA. Not that I’m saying I wouldn’t do well in the CIS, but I just think that the NCAA was the best choice for me and that it will help me more in the future.
VB: Do you recommend it to someone else who’s in your shoes?
JH: For sure. If you have a good supporting cast around you, you have to listen to them, but listen to yourself at the same time, because everything is up to you. You have to make sure you’re 100 per cent sure with your decision.
VB: Sounds like you have the right attitude. Good luck with everything moving forward.