Position: PF
Height/Weight: 6'8" / 240 lbs
School/Club: Wisconsin
Status: Senior
Birthday: December 16, 1994

About Nigel Hayes

Nigel Hayes is a poster boy for what the NCAA likes to call a “student athlete.” Some student athletes are better players than students, others just the opposite. But Hayes represents the best of both worlds. A two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, Hayes earned a degree in business finance and investment banking, but he also left his mark on the court, ranking high in Wisconsin history in several statistical categories. Just as important, Hayes has tried to use his influence to try and make a positive impact, speaking out against injustice wherever he sees it and contributing time and effort into such causes as the Boys & Girls Club. Well-rounded student-athletes like Nigel Hayes don’t come around that often.


  • Intelligence
  • Court vision
  • 7-foot-3 wingspan
  • Good passer/facilitator
  • Can make 3s
  • Competes
  • Scores with his back to the basket


  • Tweener size
  • Needs to improve free-throw percentage
  • Can he guard small forwards?

NBA projection: Hayes is in the second-round to undrafted category, so he’ll be out to convince teams that his combination of versatility and intelligence projects to the next level.

2016-17 Season
Hayes was voted third-team All-Big Ten and earned a spot on the league’s all-tournament team after a senior season in which he helped lead the Badgers to a trip to the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16 that included an upset of defending national champion Villanova in the round of 32. That earned him a spot on the NCAA tournament All-East Region team. Hayes finished off an impressive streak of never having missed a game in his four-year career. He played in 150 and started 112 of them.

Key statistics: 14.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1.4 tpg, 32.4 mpg, .457 FG, .314 3PT, .587 FT

Cool statistic: Hayes is one of two players in Big Ten history to pile up more than 1,800 points, 700 rebounds and 300 assists in his career, joining former Michigan State star Steve Smith.

Reminds me of: Paul Millsap

What Insiders Say
Wisconsin coach Greg Gard

"Being such a multi-dimensional player—meaning he can play well along the perimeter, he's got size against people inside, he's got strength and quickness—the one thing that probably gets overlooked a lot and doesn't get talked about enough is his ability to pass and his vision”

What Outsiders Say
Villanova coach Jay Wright

“He's a nightmare matchup … He's developed as a passer, decision maker, and shooter. When he first came in, he's kind of a rugged, aggressive guy, energy guy. Now, he's just a complete basketball player. He can shoot it from 3, he can drive it, he passes it, he posts up. He's a great defender on the perimeter and the post.”


Chris Dortch is the editor of the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. You can email him here, follow him on Twitter and listen to the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Hour.

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