Bell-Haynes: from Canada, with love

Successful in Canada, Trae Bell-Haynes is now finding success against the best competition he’s faced in his life as he’s transitioned to U.S. Division I basketball. playprof1

Last year as a first-year student, Bell-Haynes was named to the America East All-Rookie Team.

He finished second in the entire league in assists, averaging four per game, according to the America East website.

In 2015, Bell-Haynes has continued his success and was awarded the America East Player of the Week Nov. 23, according to UVM athletics.

This season, the Catamounts are 4-5.

Bell-Haynes has continued his starting role.

He started 29 out of the team’s 34 games last season, and has started eight of the team’s nine games this season while leading the Cats in scoring, according to UVM athletics.

In high school, Bell-Haynes played for Bill Crothers Secondary School in Toronto.

During his senior year of high school, he was the team captain and led the team to a 36-6 record.

He was named MVP of the 2014 Prep Championships Tournament and during that season, Bell-Haynes averaged 18.7  points per game and 7.6 assists per game for Bill Crothers Secondary School, according to UVM athletics.  

Bell-Haynes’s successful career in Canada was impressive, but it has been even more impressive how quickly he has adjusted to the more competitive nature of American basketball, especially at a Division I school.

“[Every player] in America has that realization that they can play Division I and then play pro,” Bell-Haynes said. “In Canada that realization doesn’t come for everybody.”

Through both his words and actions, he has shown an understanding and appreciation for the higher-level of gameplay.

“Everybody you play against, everyone’s stronger,” Bell-Haynes said. “Just in general, guys are faster than they were in high school. Gradually I just started to notice how the game is a bit harder, it’s a bit more difficult.”

Bell-Haynes is dealing with two different transitions: the higher-stakes nature of American basketball and the high level of competition that comes with Division I basketball.

Bell-Haynes said he realizes the increased difficulty comes with playing at a higher level and embraces the challenge.

This season, Bell-Haynes has averaged a team-leading 13 points per game while averaging the most minutes on the entire roster, according to UVM athletics.

Bell-Haynes said two of his goals going into this season were to play smarter and to become more confident in his shooting ability.

Bell-Haynes admitted that last season, he was often not confident in his jump shot. Once he started taking smart and open shots, he was able to score a lot more.

His scoring average this season is up to 13 points per game after averaging just 8.8 per game last year.

A good point guard needs to do whatever they can to help the team win, Bell-Haynes said.

As such, he said he dislikes being categorized as a shooting or passing point guard.

Instead, Bell-Haynes said he wants to play in whatever way is best for his team.

The Catamounts are a more mature team this season, with higher standards and accountability, Bell-Haynes said.

He also said there has been improvement in rebounding between the two seasons.

Bell-Haynes said that he is eager to have a better season than the last.