By Craig Beilfuss

SHELBY—Shelby’s Joseph Hayes signed his national letter of intent Monday to continue his basketball career at Hope College. The signing ceremony took place at Shelby’s gymnasium.

Hayes, a 4-year varsity player for the Tigers, scored 481 points his senior season, good for an average of 22.9 points per game. He also averaged 8.7 rebounds per game.

The sharp-shooting guard, increased his scoring and rebounding averages each year under the direction of veteran Shelby coach Rick Zoulek.

As a freshmen, Hayes averaged 2.2 points and 1 rebound per game. As a sophomore, he averaged 9.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. He became Shelby’s leading scorer during his junior and senior seasons. He averaged 14 points and 6 rebounds per game during his junior campaign.

I was blessed to be able to watch Joseph grow mentally, emotionally, and physically these last 4 years,” Zoulek said. He progressed into a full-time starter his junior year and a leader his senior year.

He was voted the top player in the West Michigan Conference and among BCAM’s best 25 in the state in Division 3.

I’m so excited for Joseph,” Zoulek said. “He has made himself into a very good player. Joseph worked constantly on improving his game these past 2 years. He would be the first to tell you that his teammates really helped him and trusted him. He is a great example of an average athlete working to become a very good participant in a sport.

“If he decides to put in the same effort and time into his game at Hope, he will be a good player and teammate for the Flying Dutch,” Zoulek said.

Hope, a Division III college and a member of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA), is coming off a season where it finished 22-7 overall,12-2 in the conference.

Under eight-year head coach Greg Mitchell, the Flying Dutchmen have won the MIAA title four times and have made appearances in the Division III tournament.

Hayes has a 3.99 GPA at Shelby and has chosen Business as his major while attending Hope

Joe is the son of Tim and Sylvia Hayes.

All photos are courtesy of LSJ photographer Leo Valdez