Point guard Anastasia Hayes, the 2018 SEC Sixth Woman of the Year who was dismissed from Tennessee in August for a "violation of team rules," has committed to transfer to Middle Tennessee State.
Hayes, the 2016-17 Tennessee Gatorade player of the year and a 2017 McDonald's All-American at Riverdale (Murfreesboro, Tennessee), said she's looking forward to returning to her hometown.
"This is where I'm from, so I have a whole bunch of support," Hayes said Monday in a phone interview. "I'm really looking forward to helping grow MTSU, go to the Final Four, and win championships."
Hayes' sister Aislynn Hayes, a senior at Murfreesboro's Riverdale, has also committed to play for MTSU and is expected to sign next month during the early signing period. Hayes will sign in January and is unsure when she'll be eligible.
"That was a really important part of the decision," Hayes said of her family. "My sisters are like my best friends. I'm excited to get to be with [Aislynn] during her first year of college and be there for her."
MTSU assistant and former Ole Miss head coach Matt Insell recruited Hayes to play for the Lady Rebels when she was in high school. One of his main competitors was his father, MTSU head coach Rick Insell. Both of them offered her scholarships, and both of them initially missed out on the opportunity to have Hayes on their teams.
"Each one of the coaches is like family to me," Hayes said. "They recruited me when I was younger. The first two offers I had were from Ole Miss and MTSU. I just feel like God makes everything happen for a reason and he brought us back to this. Now both of them get the opportunity to coach me."
Hayes averaged 9.3 points and 3.5 assists in her lone season with the Lady Vols. MTSU finished the 2017-2018 season with a record of 18-13 and qualified for the Women's NIT.