Ohio Valley Hoops Classic Alumni Jaxon Hayes and Darius Bazley both were rewarded for their hard work and dedication to the game of basketball Wednesday night when Hayes was selected eighth overall in the first round of the NBA Draft by the New Orleans Pelicans and Bazley was selected 23rd overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Hayes made two appearances in the OVHC when he played for the Moeller Crusaders at Southern State Community College in Hillsboro in 2016 against the Pickerington North Panthers that saw Moeller win 63-46 and again at SSCC in 2017 when the Crusaders took on Eastmoor Academy and came away with a 61-44 victory.
Hayes attended the University of Texas in 2018-19 and played in 32 games for the Longhorns, averaged 23 minutes, 10 points, five rebounds and 2.2 blocks per contest.
Hayes will join a youth movement in the big easy by pairing with No. 1 overall draft pick Zion Williamson and the 17th selection in the first round Nickeil Alexander-Walker.
Bazley appeared in the 2017 OVHC with the Princeton Vikings and finished with a triple double at SSCC as he led his team to a dominating 87-47 win.
Originally signed to play Division I basketball at Syracuse University, Bazley took an unconventional route to the NBA when he declared on March 30, 2018 that he would not attend Syracuse and instead planned to join the NBA G-League directly after high school.
Bazley again changed course on Aug. 27, 2018 when he scrapped plans to play in the G-League in favor of training on his own for the 2018-19 season in preparation for the 2019 NBA Draft.
Bazley also took a three-month internship with New Balance that began on Oct. 25, 2018 and ended in January 2019.
Bazley was one of the first players to declare himself eligible for the 2019 NBA Draft and was selected as one of 77 players selected to participate in the NBA Draft Combine May 16 and 17 in Chicago.
Ryan Applegate is the former Sports Editor for The Times-Gazette.