STORY WRITTEN BY MIKE JENSEN, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER - Oct. 31, 2022
It’s just for fun, La Salle guard Jaye Haynes made clear. Find some old basketball highlights from the 1990s or even the late ‘80s, and compare the videos of her father to some of her own, just to see similarities and differences.
“Every now and then,” Haynes said. “I like to see what I took from his game.”
Dad was kind of a big deal in his day. Jonathan Haynes could match his basketball pedigree with any high school guard in the region back in his Germantown Friends days. Haynes moved on to Temple, then quickly transferred to Villanova, settling in as starting point guard.
Locally, he’s still a recognizable face.
“It happens at every Wawa we go to,” Jaye said. “If he’s wearing Villanova gear — did you play at Villanova?”
These days, maybe he’s just as likely to be wearing La Salle gear.
“He’s really big on, ‘Yeah, I played at Villanova, but this is where my son is at, this is where my daughter is at,’ ” Jaye said.
Where Jaye is at, she suggests, is the right spot. La Salle’s program has been on the rise lately, picked second this season in the preseason Atlantic 10 poll, after jumping up to fifth last season. Haynes went from extra rotation piece as a freshman to starting all of last season’s games, averaging 8.1 points a game.
The 5-foot-8 junior is kind of a connector type, on and off the court.
“I saw right away that she could play both ends of the floor,” said La Salle coach Mountain MacGillivray. “We had a lot of kids — a kid who could play [defense] and a kid who could play offense. We didn’t have a lot of kids at the time who could do both.”
You want to rise in the A-10, you need both. When MacGillivray took over in 2018, the Explorers finished 6-25, then 13-17, then 12-14 in Haynes’ freshman year. So 16-12 last season continued the climb.
“Just growing with the team has been one of the best things for me,” Haynes said, saying how everybody has gotten used to personal styles of play, how they can blend together. “Me trusting them more, them trusting me more, has helped so much. We’ve all grown together.”
Haynes had been a star at Germantown Academy and was on MacGillivray’s radar both because he always kept an eye on GA’s program and he used to be a coach for the Rebels travel-team program that had Haynes all the way up the ladder.
“We didn’t jump the gun with the offer,” La Salle’s coach said. “We were really patient. We told her we were really interested.”
Interest turned into … we want her.
“I remember bringing her in, we sat in the office,” MacGillivray said. “I offered the scholarship. I understood that Villanova had the right of first refusal. She’s the daughter of a Villanova legend. She grew up thinking about that. I didn’t even make her say it. I told her, ‘Listen, I understand … If you get the opportunity and play there, I’m going to be really happy for you. But if not, I want it to be us.’”
It was them. Haynes called in January. Villanova wasn’t a yes or a no at that point. La Salle just made sense.
“I just think La Salle was kind of like a new opening for me,” Haynes said. “A lot of my family ties are with ‘Nova. Being able to be part of something new … I knew where the school was, I had been to the games. But there was something special about what Mountain was telling me, what he had planned. I saw myself in that vision, and contributing a lot.”
There’s another part of being a connector within the program.
“She provides kind of a home-base anchor,” MacGillivray said. “She’s from here. She’s a Philly girl. This is her area.”
Jaye will tell you she’s a suburban girl, from North Wales. Dad may have grown up close to La Salle’s campus, but she was learning go-to from scratch as a freshman. Still, the coach has a point.
“When you have a team of kids from Australia and Portugal and all over the U.S.,” the coach said, “it’s really important to have someone who ties the local area and the school together. ... Having people over to the house, just being comfortable and doing things here.”
Haynes and Archbishop Carroll grad Molly Masciantonio are the two locals.
Do teammates get to her house?
“A lot of times, to get a home-cooked meal, or hang out and watch movies,” Haynes said.
Dad, a long-time European pro, used to take his daughter to South Philly in the summer of 2017,to workouts at Chew Playground at 19th and Washington run by Kevin Slaughter.
“She has all the skills in the world,” Jonathan Haynes said one hot morning watching his daughter on the court as trucks rolled by on Washington Avenue. “I want her to start getting the instincts. She can finish, shoot, pull up, go left, go right. Now, she needs that instinct. Girls don’t play pickup games. Everything is drills, and everyone is under the whistle. This is good because you’re playing against bigger girls, smaller girls, tougher girls.”
Five years later, Jaye said, her father knows she has coaches in her ear giving critiques all the time. He’s lived that part of the game, too.
“Things definitely have evolved,” Jaye said. “He’s definitely like my No. 1 fan. He’s still there to critique and say, ‘OK, you can do this better.’ But it’s definitely more uplifting. ‘This is the stuff that you did really well.’ He’s always been like that, but now it’s just emphasized, that I always get reassurance.”
Now, she said, she goes to him and asks what she can do better. They didn’t play the game exactly the same, or even play the same position. Jaye Haynes, a slasher to the hoop through the years, is more of a two-guard while her father played the point.
“I think me and my dad’s on-ball defense is very similar,” Jaye said. “I think we’re both very quick for the most part. I think that’s where I get my speed.”
La Salle’s coach doesn’t worry about where this player got her generational traits. He just knows why the Explorers need her.
“She’s got a really easy personality, that people like to be around her,” MacGillivray said. “She enjoys life, but she’s super competitive. She puts herself in a good spot. All that has an amazing effect on the team.”