Hayes Grooms joined the University of Michigan men's basketball team this past October as a walk-on after transferring from Lamar University. Unfortunately, Grooms will be forced to sit out the 2004-05 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
At Lamar University, Grooms played for the Cardinals the past three seasons and established himself as a solid guard, providing toughness and veteran leadership, until an ankle injury sidelined Grooms for all but six games during the 2003-04 season.
The Detroit, Michigan native played his high school ball at Birmingham Brother Rice for Coach Don Macaloon. As a senior, Grooms averaged 15.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game, earning the 2001 Brother Rice and Catholic League MVP's. His 2001 season efforts were also rewarded with an all-state honorable mention and a McDonald's All-American nomination.
Grooms took time to sit down and talk about his decision to transfer to U-M, missing the east Texas weather, and his friendship with Wolverine star receiver Braylon Edwards.
On returning to the state of Michigan
"It's been great. I've been away for three years and this was the first time I've been able to go home for Christmas and spend time with my family (in three years). Michigan is home sweet home. I have my friends and family here, so it's been great."
On the weather compared to Beaumont, Texas
"I'm definitely missing wearing shorts right now. I had to walk to class wearing gloves, hat, and a sweatshirt underneath my jacket, so it is definitely worse than walking to class in shorts and t-shirt. I am definitely not looking forward to these weather conditions."
On classes at Lamar University compared to the University of Michigan
"Here at Michigan, it is a lot more demanding. Michigan is certainly one of the top schools in the nation and they expect a lot more out of you as far your work and being prepared for class. Lamar is a good school, but here at Michigan you have work to do everyday and always be prepared for class."
On Lamar University
"It's a smaller school, more of a commuter school, that creates a small environment, which is good from the stand point of getting individual attention from the professors. The campus atmosphere just doesn't compare to what we have here in Ann Arbor."
On favorite basketball moment
"My sophomore year (high school) we played Detroit St. Martin dePorres and they were the number one team in the city of Detroit. All of my friends went to dePorres and that's where I was initially supposed to go to high school. We played them in the Catholic League playoffs and a lot of people said we were the under dogs and didn't have a chance to win, but I played well and we ended up winning, so I would have to say that is my favorite basketball moment."
On the risk of transferring as a senior
"It was a definite risk. I had to go through the whole application process and I had already made up my mind that I was transferring before I got any notification of acceptance, so it was a very scary time wondering if I was going to get accepted here, or another school. I knew this was the school I wanted to go to, so I had to make sure that I talked to as many people as possible; make sure everything was there that I needed in my application and make sure my essays were on point and exactly what admissions was looking for."
On fitting in with a new team as a senior
"It's going well. As soon as I got on the team, they welcomed me with open arms. I knew a couple guys from high school and was able to rekindle those relationships, and I built news ones with the guys I didn't know. Dion (Harris) and I are very close for the simple fact that we're both from Detroit and knew each other before I got here. Daniel (Horton) and I had an instant connection, with him being from Texas and me playing there for the last three years."
On being the new guy
"I'm one of the older guys, so I've been around the block a little bit, I'm familiar with what goes on, what's necessary, and what's demanded in a college practice. I think that gives me an upper hand in that aspect, but this is my first year here with a different culture, different system, different plays and I have had to learn quickly. There was a period where I would get thrown in there, and I didn't know what was being asked of me. I just tried to make the best of it and having played else where and having that experience; it helped me a little faster than a true freshman."
On the differences the Southland Conference and Big Ten
"These guys bring it everyday. Lamar is a Division-IA school, so you know the players and competition is still good, but Michigan is much deeper off the bench. Big Ten basketball is also much more physical than basketball in the Southland conference as Southland teams are more guard oriented."
On his relationship with Braylon Edwards
"That's my guy. He's my best friend and we've been best friends for quite some time now. We were away from each other for almost four years, so we were always on the phone talking with each other. It's great to have the opportunity for us to live together and be around each other everyday. I can be there for him during the football season and he can be there for me during the basketball season. It's just great to be here with him and rekindle what we had before I left for Texas."
On his game
"I think I'm a floor general, because I'm a smart player. I have a good basketball IQ. I think that helps me figure out where to pass, where to be at, and anticipate things. Good shooter, solid defender, I can create and I think that's what I can bring as a point guard: the ability to create, hit the open shot, and put pressure on the opposing team's defense."
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Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423