"When I was in High School I really felt wanted around here in this area," he said. "They make you know that they care about you.
"The hospitality down here is just different, it is hard to explain. They really make you feel wanted. I have a lot of people that I know down here and it is home for me. I felt like this would be the best situation for me."
Hayes said he immediately hit it off with Coach Tyndall, and that immediately made a huge impact on his decision.
"When I first met Coach Tyndall I didn't have Southern Miss in mind as a possibility for me," he said. "As we talked more and more he became a person that reminded me of my former coach, Jay Ladner.
"I just got real close to him and that helped in bringing me down here."
The coaches have talked with him about his role on the team next season. Hayes will play the 2 and 3 guard, and the 6'7 combo guard says that is just fine with him.
"Honestly, I'll just do whatever it takes to get on that court and help us win games," he added.
He'll bring the type of athleticism and high energy that Coach Tyndall is looking for in the new system.
"I'll bring an up-tempo style and just basically an attitude that will help the team come together," he said. "I think one of my strengths is defense and I'm excited about the opportunity to get out there."
Hayes knows about the NCAA tournament run last season, and he said that helped put the Eagles at the top for him.
"I know Coach Tyndall wins wherever he goes, and if they had that type of season last year, who knows what we can do this year," he said. "I can't wait to see what our team put together is going to be able to do."
Hayes said that he'll major in Coaching and Administration and would love to be a basketball coach one day when his playing career comes to an end.