King of the Court


Nathaneal Gaub

Behind every great athlete lie the intangible, immeasurable characteristics that make them stand out—inexorable passion, relentless determination, and, above all, a profound love for the game. Every once in a while, an athlete with these traits, as well as exceptional skill in their sport, emerges and leaves their mark in their community. For the entire Brookfield East community, this athlete goes by the name of Hayden Doyle.

Doyle (12) entered the 2020-2021 basketball season roughly 400 points shy of Brookfield East’s all-time leading scorer. He was chasing Class of ‘86 graduate Eric Haertle, who had notched 1274 points in his career, and whose record had stood untouched for 34 years. Doyle had a sense of “around where [he] was entering the season, and believed he “had a chance” at breaking the record.

Faced with the challenges that presented themselves this season – limited fan attendance, mask requirements for players, etc – Doyle emphasizes the importance of his mental preparation in contributing to his success. Doyle says he plays his best when he’s “not thinking as much and just out there playing.” His calm and collected demeanor allowed him to be unphased by the Covid-tainted season. One technique that he’s developed to stay centered comes from Brookfield East teacher Mr. Zeidler. “I had physics with Mr. Zeidler and he told me about breathing and just trying to relax and just be in the moment,” explained Doyle, “that’s what I’ve been trying to do ever since.”

Clearly this mindset, or lack thereof, has proved effective. On December 18th, 2020, Doyle reached the 1,000 career points milestone. Just over a month later, he would surpass Eric Haertle as Brookfield East’s all-time leading scorer. He would eventually become the winningest player in Brookfield East history, with 84 career wins. Oh, and he also finished top 5 in every major offensive category in the Greater Metro Conference this season. You could say he had a pretty decent year.

Doyle credits Head Coach Joe Rux for believing in him early on and seeing the rising star’s potential. “He believed in me to play Varsity as a Freshman,” recalled Doyle, “we’ve built our relationship over the past four or five years, and he’s had a tremendous impact on where I’ve grown as a basketball player.”

While he acknowledges Coach Rux’s contributions to his career, Doyle’s biggest motivation comes from within himself. “There’s a lot of extrinsic motivators, but at the end of the day, you have to be intrinsically motivated if you’re really gonna be there every day and working hard every day,” Doyle explains, “I just like improving 1% a day and taking it day by day.”

Doyle’s constant drive to improve has landed him a commitment to play basketball at Washington University in St. Louis next year. The recruiting process was no exception to the long list of activities disrupted by the coronavirus, as Doyle informs that “college coaches weren’t able to actually go out and watch anybody live because of Covid.” Ultimately, Doyle is ready for the road ahead. “I’m really thankful because I think the school I’m going to is a really good fit for me. I’m just excited to get there and figure it all out.”

Where will Doyle’s journey lead him? Only time will tell. The kid from Brookfield has set his sights high with the ultimate goal of “[becoming] a professional.” His dedication to our community for the past four years serves as inspiration for all of us; his success proves that we’re all capable of greatness. After all, as Doyle says, “you gotta reach for the stars, right?”

*Doyle also holds the Brookfield East record for most career wins (84), most points scored in a single season (635), and 4th in career assists (264).