Kenny Hayes’ consistent play for the Maine Red Claws this season earned the attention and respect of the 16 head coaches in the NBA Development League. They voted him the league’s most improved player.

A 6-foot-2 point guard back with the Red Claws for a second season, Hayes averaged 17.1 points while playing 33 minutes per game. He played sparingly last season, averaging 7.2 points and 19 minutes.

Hayes was invited to the Cleveland Cavaliers’ training camp last December once the NBA labor issues were resolved. He didn’t get into a preseason game with the Cavs and returned to Maine.

In a Red Claws season marked by player turnover, Hayes became a steadying influence with his consistent play. He frequently was the go-to shooter late in games. Hayes set a Red Claws record in March, scoring 52 points against the Springfield Armor.

“Even when he was not seeing a lot of action last season, he kept learning and battling to earn a spot in the lineup,” said Jon Jennings, the Red Claws’ president and general manager. “The player who arrived in Maine this season was confident and driven. It became apparent from training camp he was going to be a leader.”

Hayes, a second-year pro out of Miami (Ohio) University, shared the Red Claws’ player of the year award with Morris Almond, a 6-foot-6 guard who signed Monday with the Washington Wizards. Almond led the Red Claws in scoring at 23.4 points per game.