New Orleans Pelicans players Lonzo Ball (left) and Zion Williamson (center) and Jaxson Hayes (right) look on from the sidelines before the game between the New Orleans Saints and the Houston Texans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

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Pelicans, Saints rookies bring bond from Texas

Amos Morale III
October 03, 2019 - 1:38 pm

The New Orleans Saints and Pelicans share a campus just like most college athletic programs. 

So when Pelicans rookie Jaxson Hayes and Saints rookie Lil’Jordan Humphrey saw each other in the cafeteria at the Ochsner Sports Performance Facility, the place where both franchises practiced, it was just like their days in Austin. 

“I’d always see him in the cafeteria (at Texas),” Hayes said. “My first day down here, I was like ‘Dang! Nothing’s really changed.” 

The two knew each other at the University of Texas where Humphrey was the Longhorn’s leading receiver and Hayes was one of the basketball team’s top players, leading the Big 12 in field goal percentage.

Humphrey arrived first in New Orleans when the Saints signed him as an undrafted free agent following the 2019 NFL Draft.

He said that he got excited when he was watching the NBA draft and saw that Hayes was head to New Orleans. 

“I was like ‘Oh shoot! That’s dope. I’m about to be there too,’” Humphrey said. “So, it was real cool to see that another Longhorn would be in the same city as me.” 

Hayes said the two have gotten closer to each other since both arriving although their schedules haven’t allowed them too much time to hang out.

Both players have been busy. 

Humphrey impressed in the preseason and has made it to the active roster where he’s seen the fifth most snaps of any receiver. Hayes is just entering training camp with the Pelicans after authoring on of the NBA Summer League’s most impressive plays with a viral dunk. 

He too stands to see potential playing time this season. 

“We talked a lot about that maybe Jaxson is a guy that redshirts for the year,” Pelicans executive Vice President David Griffin said. “Then the last six weeks he’s doing things that make us say ‘Not so fast.’”

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