Once again, the Forty Acres is home to the top freshman in the conference, as Texas Longhorns center Jaxson Hayes has been named as the Big 12 Freshman of the Year, per a release from the school.
A former four-star prospect, Hayes arrived in Austin ranked outside of the top-100 in his class, per the 247Sports Composite, yet his development and impact has proven to be far more immediate than many, including Shaka Smart, may have expected. Throughout his freshman regular-season campaign, Hayes finished second on the team in scoring and rebounding with 10.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game, and led the Longhorns with 2.3 blocks per contest.
Furthermore, Hayes was remarkably efficient offensively, as his 73.2 percent field goal clip ranked second nationally, trailing only UCF’s Tacko Fall (75.1%).
As a result of such efforts, it’s becoming increasingly expected that Hayes’ first season on the Forty Acres will be his last, as the Longhorns’ 6’11 big man is widely projected as a top-10 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
With Hayes becoming the league’s latest Freshman of the Year, he joins a lengthy list of former Longhorns to earn the accolade, as T.J. Ford (2001-12), Daniel Gibson (2004-05), Kevin Durant (2006-07), Tristian Thompson (2010-11), and Myles Turner (2014-15) were each previously recognized as the top freshman in the Big 12.
According to the release, Hayes was also named to the All-Big 12 Second Team, the Big 12 All-Defensive Team, the Big 12 All-Newcomer Team, and the Big 12 All-Freshman Team.
This story will be updated.