Knowing the Newcomers: Hayden Humes

Howard Moore made Humes the seventh signing of his initial recruiting class.
Howard Moore made Humes the seventh signing of his initial recruiting class.

July 7, 2011 You are in an interesting situation, because you have been around college basketball for two years now, and will have at least two years of eligibility left after transferring from Toledo. What's the biggest thing you've learned about the rigors of Division I basketball over the past two seasons?

Hayden Humes: Probably that it's a long season. You have to keep a good attitude and be consistent with your energy day in and day out. Two of your standout games were against UIC last season. What do you remember about those particular games?

Humes: We had pretty good energy in those games, because it was really early in the season. They were close games, and both came down to the final minute. I was impressed with UIC's offense, and they had some tough players. I remember thinking that they were going to be a tough team. Growing up in Valparaiso, Indiana, how familiar are you with the competition in the Horizon League, and what are your impressions of the league?

Humes: We played a lot of the teams in the Horizon League during non-conference play (at Toledo). I'm familiar with the league; I think it's definitely a step up from the competition in the MAC. There's some good teams and some great tradition in the Horizon League. What made you choose UIC when making the decision to transfer from Toledo?

Humes: The coaching staff seemed real straight-forward, and I wanted to be part of getting this program turned around. UIC is also fairly close to home, so family can come and watch me play. It seemed like a perfect situation. You come from a sports family, with your Dad playing Division I football at Western Michigan. Was there a big emphasis on athletics growing up, and what other sports did you play?

Humes: They never really put an extra emphasis on it in my house, but I grew up playing sports. I played every sport growing up, but football and basketball have always been my favorites. How would you describe your game to those that haven't seen you play?

Humes: I just play hard. I'm competitive, and always try to play smart when I'm out on the floor. My main focus is doing the little things to help the team win. You mentioned in an interview that you aspire to be a college basketball coach after your playing career wraps up. What appeals to you about becoming a coach?

Humes: I just love college basketball. I think being a coach would be a great job, because on a daily basis you wouldn't feel like you were going to work. I'm a big team guy; that's my favorite part about sports, being a part of a team. From playing some pick-up games with the rest of the guys over the last couple of weeks, what do you see as one of the strengths of this young team?

Humes: I think we could be really good defensively. We could also play with a lot of energy, and get out and run. Since we're so young, we should have tons of energy. You red-shirted the 2009-10 season at Toledo. What is the toughest thing about sitting out as a transfer, and what is the biggest advantage of being able to sit back and observe the game from a different perspective?

Humes: The toughest thing about sitting out my first year was having to miss the entire season. I was so anxious to play, especially as a freshman. But you do learn a lot from watching the games. It was kind of a blessing in disguise at the time, because it helped me adjust and make an impact last season. What was it like playing with Robbie Hummel (Purdue) and Scott Martin (Notre Dame) at Valparaiso High School? What did you learn from those guys?

Humes: I learned a lot. Watching those guys every day, you learn what it takes to be a good player, and to improve on a daily basis. They both had a great work ethic. You list Larry Bird as your favorite all-time athlete? How did you come to admire him, and do you model your game after him at all?

Humes: I really like Larry Bird because he was an old-school player. He had a great work ethic. I loved the way he used to approach the game as a player. I also recently went to a family reunion in French Lick, so we've got that in common.