- The Washington Times - Friday, June 27, 2003

The Washington Wizards believe they solved one of their many gaping needs last night when they selected small forward Jarvis Hayes from Georgia with the 10th pick overall in the 2003 NBA Draft.

“He is what we consider one of the two — if not the best — shooter in this draft,” said outgoing general manager Wes Unseld. “We think he can play both the two and the three spot. I think you’re going to see a lot of him at the three, and I think he’s going to help us.”

Hayes is eligible for a three-year guaranteed contract worth approximately $5.7million. The team holds the option for the fourth year.

For the second year in a row, the Wizards turned to Maryland for a pick, taking point guard Steve Blake with the 38th selection overall.

“Obviously, we’re thrilled,” Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. “In Jarvis Hayes, we’ve got someone who can split the defense, [and] he’s an athlete who can defend. Steve Blake is a very, very exciting point guard with some good size and that’s what we wanted, someone who can push the ball and really be up-tempo. So it’s almost a perfect situation for us tonight.”

A 6-foot-7 junior forward with a reputation for being able to get his shot, Hayes was a two-time consensus first-team All-Southeast Conference selection — joining Dominique Wilkins as the only Georgia players to receive this honor. Hayes averaged 18.3 points last season and was 54-for-127 (.425) from behind the 3-point line.

Hayes was an honorable mention All-American after his sophomore and junior seasons, which he played alongside his twin brother, Jonas.

Although the Wizards had appeared interested in Kansas point guard Kirk Hinrich, who went to Chicago at No.7, sources say Jordan was not sold on him and was just as happy as Unseld to pick Hayes.

According to one source, Blake worked out with Hinrich and outplayed him.

Jerry Stackhouse, who yesterday signed a two-year contract extension that will keep him in Washington until 2007, will move from small forward back to his natural shooting guard position, clearing the way for Hayes potentially to start.

Although he lasted until the second round, Blake wound up in a perfect situation. The Wizards have nine players under contract, and the only point guards are Larry Hughes and Blake’s teammate at Maryland, Juan Dixon.

“It’s great — [to be with] a team that actually needs me and wants me is my dream come true,” the 6-foot-3 Blake said. “If I play well and I earn the time, I’ll play. It’s a great situation for me.”

Players selected in the second round do not receive guaranteed contracts.

Earlier, owner Abe Pollin said he was satisfied with the selection of Hayes.

“When I find that Wes and Eddie Jordan are extremely, extremely happy that [Hayes] was there, that makes me happy,” Pollin said. “That’s the player they both wanted, and we’re just very pleased that he was still there at number 10. This player is very athletic. We checked his background, and we’re extremely happy to have him.”

Hayes might be a little short to be a regular small forward, but the Wizards feel his outside shot will more than make up for that.

“He is going to be able to stretch out the defenses with his shooting ability,” Unseld said.

The Wizards also were said to be considering Georgetown product Mike Sweetney. However, the 6-foot-8 former Hoya was snatched by the Knicks one pick earlier at No.9.

The other player the Wizards were said to be interested in was Louisville shooting guard Reece Gaines. He was available when the Wizards picked and ultimately wound up going to Orlando at No.15.

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