School’s not out for Nigel Hayes. The Wisconsin forward announced yesterday that he will be foregoing the NBA draft and returning to school for his senior season. The return of Hayes is a big boost for the Badgers, who are now legit contenders to make their third Final Four in four seasons. The Badgers are bringing back 99.5% of their scoring from of a team that made the Sweet 16 in 2015-16.
Wisconsin has its top nine rotation players returning, and with the additions of Brevin Pritzl and Andy Van Vliet, the Badgers will have serious depth as well as star power, now that Hayes is back into the fold.
The Badgers will compete for the 2016-17 B1G championship along with Michigan State, Purdue and Indiana. Most pundits have the Badgers ranked in the top 20 in their way-too-early-top 25 rankings, but the addition of Hayes will likely vault the Badgers into the top 15, or even the top 10.
Greg Gard’s first full season as the head coach in Madison is shaping up to have plenty of potential.