The Badgers enjoyed their share of success in 2013-14 and now UWBadgers.com is honoring the best student-athletes, teams and performances of the year. Over the next few weeks, we'll unveil the best of the Badgers in five categories: Big Ten Medal of Honor (June 16), Athletes of the Year (June 17-21), Team Achievements of the Year (June 22-27), Games of the Year (June 28-July 5) and Freshmen of the Year (July 7-13).
Today we feature Nigel Hayes of men's basketball as a nominee for the Freshman of the Year.
• 2013-14 Year in Review
July 8, 2014
MADISON, Wis. -- Averaging just 4.0 points and 1.7 rebounds through the first 11 games of the 2013-14 men’s basketball season, there were few who anticipated the kind of impact Nigel Hayes would have with the Badgers in his freshman season.
While some began the season discussing what kind of a factor Hayes would play, the conversation in time would become just how big of an x-factor Hayes was on a game-to-game basis.
The newcomer began raising eyebrows when he put up back-to-back, double-digit scoring performances over UW’s final two non-conference games. He proved it was no fluke, with a coming out party of sorts in the Big Ten opener at Northwestern. The 6-7 forward recorded a career-high 19 points and six rebounds, adding three assists and two blocks, to lead the Badgers to a 27-point win over the Wildcats.
Hayes went on to become one of the conference’s most valuable weapons from off the bench. In fact, no reserve was deemed better, as Hayes became just the second player in UW history to be named Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year.
Over the final 26 contests, the Toledo, Ohio, native averaged 10 points and 3.3 rebounds per game, garnering Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors four times (Dec. 30, Jan. 6, Feb. 10, Feb. 17). He averaged 9.8 ppg and 54.6 percent shooting from the field in league play, which ranked second among freshmen.
Hayes left his mark in conference play, posting 10 double-digit scoring games and leading the Badgers in scoring three times. He also contributed in postseason play during UW’s run to the Final Four in the NCAA tournament, having his best game against Baylor with a 10-point, six-rebound performance.