Posted On: 05/10/18 5:00 AM
Nobody benefits from grassroots basketball like small city prospects. Nova’s 6’8” forward/center Hayden Stone (2020) is one of this year’s best examples of that phenomenon.
Stone, a talented post player from Carey, broke down the benefits he’s already seeing in his first year of playing high level AAU.
“It’s a completely different level, it’s not even the same. It helps you so much it’s crazy,” Stone said.
“AAU is helping me with my size. In the [Northern 10], in my league, there’s not a lot of guys my size. But here when I’m at AAU tournaments and playing teams, I play against my size. And I think it benefits me tremendously,” Stone said.
On top of the player development aspects, Stone has also quickly gathered college interest this past month.
“Walsh University, I actually just got off the phone with them. He’s been calling me, contacting me,” Stone said. “Akron has been texting me and coach [Devin Alleyne], asking about where I’m playing and how I’m doing. Dayton actually sent me a letter in the mail.”
Along with Ashland, all of these programs have just recently started their recruitment process with Stone. Walsh has already started planting seeds about an on-campus visit.
With the process freshly underway, Stone doesn’t know precisely what he’s looking for in a college yet. But, like anyone, he has D-I aspirations. It’s not a pipe dream either. Stone is remarkable on the defensive side of the floor, has a strong build, and a developing skill-set.
“I really think I contribute the most on defense, just being a threat down in the paint,” Stone said. “Setting screens is what I have a tendency to do a lot. Even if it’s not a play call, I come up and set a screen … Offensively, scoring mid-range and down in the post with my size it really helps out a lot.”
Stone is mostly operating in the paint these days, although he’s capable of stepping out towards the perimeter on defense. He’d like to maintain that post presence while also building outside skills.
“My AAU coach and high school coach, we’ve been working on ball-handling and 3-point shooting a lot,” Stone said.
Specifically, he’d like to put more arch on his shot and stop fading away.
Stone is yet to take his ACT and has a 3.2 GPA at the moment. His next tournament with Nova (Alleyne) is in Columbus at the Nike Super Sixteen Showcase on May 18-20.