Tragedy struck the Iona College basketball program Thursday night when Michael Haynes, part of head coach Tim Cluess’ incoming recruiting class, was shot and killed near his home in Chicago. He was 22.
The 6-7 Haynes, who averaged 6.9 points and 4.5 rebounds last season at Indian Hills CC in Ottumwa, Iowa, was shot in front of his house and later died at a nearby hospital. The assailant was still at large.
Haynes, who originally committed to the University of Texas-El Paso but never played for the Miners, was ranked the No. 11 recruit in the state of Illinois by ChicagoHoops.com following his junior season at Washington High School, during which he averaged 17 points and 22 rebounds.
“We’re shocked and deeply saddened by this news,” Indian Hills coach Barret Peery told the Ottumwa Courier. “He was such a great kid and a great member of our team. Michael
was a great friend to all his teammates and a great kid overall. He’ll truly be missed.”
Haynes was part of a nine-member recruiting class assembled by Cluess and his staff and was expected to be a contributor in the frontcourt. He was one of just two of the nine recruits not to already be on campus taking summer courses. The other is DeSean Anderson of Inglewood, Calif.
Police said Haynes was shot in the wrist, chest and lower back while trying to break up a fight over a stolen necklace near his home. His cousin, Kandice Blouin, 25. said several men were shoving each other when Haynes pushed the shooter, who pulled out a gun and shot him.
“It’s just so hard,” Cluess said. “I don’t know how to describe it. Once you got to know Michael you just couldn’t wait to coach him. He came from a very rough area in Chicago and he just wanted to make a better life for himself. He was just looking for a chance to change his life.”