Killian Hayes speaks about his journey from France to the NBA Draft

Yahoo Sports NBA Draft Analyst Krysten Peek spoke with Top-10 NBA Draft prospect Killian Hayes to learn about his journey to the NBA Draft, what he’s improved on the most, and why he teamed up with Mountain Dew’s Green Carpet to show off his draft day fit.

Video Transcript

KRYSTEN PEEK: I'm Krysten Peek, NBA draft Analyst for Yahoo Sports, joined by Killian Hayes, thanks to Mountain Dew, as part of the NBA Draft Virtual Green Carpet. Killian, draft week is finally here. How are you feeling going into this week?

KILLIAN HAYES: I'm very excited. It's finally happening. And i think on draft day, I'm going to be a little nervous.

KRYSTEN PEEK: Well, I know you've been here since March. You're originally from France. But you've been here since March, working out in Florida. Where have you seen the biggest growth in your game during this extended time?

KILLIAN HAYES: Definitely, my body. I came in at 195, 198. Right now, I'm sitting at 215, and just feel more explosive, quicker. And also in my right hand, people had a lot of doubts on my right hand. Now I can throw a bullet pass to my right with ease, great accuracy, and feel comfortable using my right floaters and going right in general.

KRYSTEN PEEK: I know you've met with several teams and worked out for a few. What's been some of the feedback you've got from team during this draft process?

KILLIAN HAYES: I mean, everybody was surprised at how my body's changed. And really, all the doubts that people had about my right hand just went away. And also, I was able to increase my range deeper from the three point line. Everything was going for me. Everything went great.

KRYSTEN PEEK: So I know you were born here in the United States. But you grew up in France, due to your dad playing professionally over there. You probably spent a lot of time in the gym with him, at practices and games. How is he inspired you over the years?

KILLIAN HAYES: I mean, he inspired me a lot. He's the reason why I turned pro. I know, he never forced me to play basketball. But I just fell in love with it, just by watching him play. So him being right there for the NBA draft is definitely going to be a blessing. So I'm really excited for him to be there.

KRYSTEN PEEK: Was there ever a conversation about coming back over to the States to play college basketball?

KILLIAN HAYES: There was. Because obviously, if you go on social media, everybody talk about college basketball. And you can see the arena and the fans, and the excitement there is on the court. So it was definitely I thought we had. But the end of the season, playing professional at a young age and learning more was the obvious choice for me.

KRYSTEN PEEK: All right. And I know you had a LeBron James jersey growing up. How crazy is it knowing that you're going to be playing against him this upcoming season?

KILLIAN HAYES: I mean, LeBron, he's a legend on and off the court. He did some worse things for the game of basketball. And being able to compete against him is going to be definitely a dope moment.

KRYSTEN PEEK: OK, and when you look at Luka Doncic, and what he's done these past two years in the NBA, what sort of confidence does it give you, knowing how well the euro game translates to the NBA, and you being a euro player?

KILLIAN HAYES: Yeah, he definitely paved the way for young European players just to-- because I know like a lot of the teams had doubts about European players coming in ready to play right away in the NBA. He just scratched that doubt there has been. He's a tremendous player, plays the game very well. And he just inspired a lot of European players.

KRYSTEN PEEK: All right. Tell me how you're teaming up with Mountain Dew on draft night. I know you said that shoes make the whole outfit. Can you give us, can you give us a little taste of what you'll be wearing?

KILLIAN HAYES: I mean, y'all will see on the Mountain Dew Virtual Carpet, Green Carpet, because, yeah, I want to keep it quiet right now. So it's going to be a whole surprise. It's not a suit with a tie or anything like that. It's just, I'm going to keep it like-- just going to be a suit that represents who I am as a person.

KRYSTEN PEEK: But fly shoes, then? You're going to have some nice kicks on?

KILLIAN HAYES: Got to have some nice shoes, because I'm basing everything on the shoes.

KRYSTEN PEEK: All right. Come draft night, I mean, it's finally here. It's been like the longest delay for you guys. What will your emotions be like when you finally hear your name called and know which team you'll be playing for?

KILLIAN HAYES: I think that's a relief, just being-- just knowing where, exactly where you're going to go. And a lot of excitement. I know me and my dad are really emotional people. But I know my dad, my mom is probably going to be in tears and really happy. So he's going to be a really cool night with all of my family.

KRYSTEN PEEK: All right. Appreciate the time, Killian, and best of luck to you in your first year in the league. For our continuing coverage on the NBA draft, keep it right here on Yahoo Sports.