Former East Hamilton hoops star Madison Hayes excited to join N.C. State

Patrick MacCoon, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tenn.
·2 min read

Apr. 9—Madison Hayes has big plans for the next step in her basketball journey.

Hayes, the former East Hamilton High School star who made the Southeastern Conference All-Freshman team this past season at Mississippi State, has transferred to North Carolina State. The Wolfpack have won back-to-back Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championships, and this year they were a No. 1 seed for the NCAA tourney for the first time in program history.

N.C. State announced the addition of the 6-foot-1 guard to its roster on Thursday. Hayes, who at East Hamilton was twice named Tennessee's Class AAA Miss Basketball and was a 2020 McDonald's All American, will now be coached by Wes Moore, who led the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's program from 1998 to 2013.

"Coach Moore and his staff have a really good relationship that goes back to even when I was in high school and they recruited me," Hayes said. "This is a blessing to become a part of a really great team. I feel like we are going to win a national championship here. They are bringing back a lot of great players. I wanted to be a part of a championship-caliber team where everyone will make each other better."

N.C. State finished 22-3 this past season, reaching the Sweet 16 before losing 73-70 to fourth-seeded Indiana.

Hayes will be immediately eligible for the program in Raleigh, and she has four seasons of NCAA eligibility remaining due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She appeared in 19 games at Mississippi State, starting the final nine, and averaged nearly five points and rebounds as the Bulldogs went 10-9.

Mississippi State, the NCAA runner-up in 2017 and 2018, underwent a coaching change after Hayes signed, but she elected to stay with the Bulldogs to start her collegiate career.

She was one of the nation's top recruits in the class of 2020 and finished her high school days — she started for East Hamilton as an eighth grader — with 3,055 points, 1,583 rebounds, 459 assists, 457 steals and 241 blocks. She averaged 25.5 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.4 steals and 2.2 blocks per game over her final two prep seasons.

Now she's seeking to become more aggressive and wants to provide a spark on both ends of the court for the Wolfpack.

"I am really working hard on my offensive game," Hayes said. "Not even just for college but for the WNBA, because that's where I want to go. I feel like Coach Moore and the staff can really help me reach my dream. However, it's not just them. I need to put in the work on my own and make sure I am the best player I can possibly be."

Contact Patrick MacCoon at pmaccoon@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon.