As if the writing wasn’t already on the wall for a return of Ethan Happ to the Wisconsin Badgers for his final season, it only got bigger as the month of May began.
That’s because Happ will not be a participant in the 2018 NBA Draft combine, and not of his choosing either. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Happ was not invited by the league to participate in its biggest pre-draft workout process. However, he has filled out the paperwork to participate and could still get a call should players invited have to drop out or not go to the event at all.
It’s been an interesting offseason according to the article too. Happ has been spending most of his time in the Chicago area and is paying all of his expenses so he can maintain his collegiate eligibility. Even with the hardships of having no wireless internet or access to more than a handful of TV channels, Happ is relishing the process as it goes forward.
“It’s a tough life, but it’s a fun life,” said Happ, who spends part of his free time working on schoolwork from the online classes he’s taking this semester to wrap up his degree at UW according to the Wisconsin State Journal. “The work, it’s a lot, it’s time-consuming, but I can’t think of anything else that I’d rather do.”
Despite the lack of a combine invite, Happ has the attention of some in the NBA and according to the article he will workout for the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder. It will be interesting to see what those two teams have to say, as Happ has been focusing on being more explosive around the rim, getting up and down the court faster and of course actually shooting the ball.
The first two are interesting, because if he can do either in any sort of significant way his stock may rise up the draft boards. The NBA game requires even its big guys to get up and down the
One thing is really clear from his interview with the Wisconsin State Journal is that Happ isn’t going to make a quick decision. He also seems to be waffling on his “first round or I’m back” pledge, telling the Wisconsin State Journal the following:
Happ said Monday night that his mind-set hasn’t changed in the past two months, though he hedged slightly on the draft placement issue: If Happ was told he’d be drafted early in the second round, he said, he’d have a difficult decision to make.
Happ will have his degree from the University of Wisconsin, but will return to the Badgers if he stays in college at all. Speculation of him departing for another program for his final season has been running in some circles, but both Happ and the coaching staff have steadily stated his return would be to Wisconsin if anywhere next season.
In the meantime, Happ will focus hard on the road that’s ahead for him and see if he can get that one team to fall in love with his game. Will that come this offseason or next will largely be determined on how quickly he can develop the areas most scouts have told him he needs the most work on.
That may be a tall order, considering his inconsistencies from the line and the fact that he hasn’t shown in a single lick of game action to be a reliable mid-range, let alone three-point shooter.
While Happ continues to hold out hope, it seems the writing on the wall states that he will be wearing the Cardinal and White of the Badgers next season.