If Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes remains in the NBA draft, the Badgers will suffer one of the greatest offseason losses by a Big Ten team. But Hayes shouldn’t keep his name in the draft.
By all accounts, his efforts at the NBA combine didn’t change the perspectives of executives and scouts who watched the talented forward’s 3-point shooting numbers drop from 40 percent his sophomore season to 29 percent his junior year. Hayes going back to Madison for his senior season is not just an idea, it’s the best idea for both him and the Badgers.
He’s not listed in the first round of Chad Ford’s latest mock draft.
But Hayes wants to play in the NBA. And he’d like to prove to the league’s power brokers that he can play multiple positions. Even shooting guard, if necessary.
That’s why he recently told the Boston Celtics, who secured the third pick in the upcoming draft, that he’d take a bunch of shots if they gambled and used their first pick on him, according to MassLive.com.
“We were just talking in the locker room about they [need] a wing player, someone who can really shoot the ball well,” Hayes said Wednesday after working out for the Celtics. “And I told the guys, you take me [with the] third [overall pick], I'll shoot 5,000 shots a day for you.”
I like the ambition.
Hayes knows the Celtics will use that pick on someone else.
He’s serious, however, about proving his worth as a versatile wing.
“In college I was always looked at as a four who could shoot,” said Hayes. “And now I'm trying to show I'm a guard who can post, and be that two-through-four interchangeable part because, again, the trend now in the NBA is finding guys who, ironically, are basketball players. And do a lot, and do more than one thing. And that's something I've done my whole career. Even [Celtics head coach Brad] Stevens mentioned that in our meeting: he's always liked my versatility. So just trying to show them I'm a basketball player who can play multiple positions and guard well.”
And Hayes could do that ... with another year of college basketball.
One more year, man.