After much discussion among his family and trusted circle, Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes will indeed be returning to Madison for his senior year, his mother Talaya Davis confirmed to Sconnie Sports Talk.

In the end, Hayes decided to withdraw his name from the NBA Draft. The 6’7″, 245-pound forward had workouts with the Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz, and Houston Rockets. Hayes has said that he would stay in the draft had a team told him they wanted him, but trusting a guarantee during an unpredictable NBA Draft can be risky.

Hayes did not withdraw his name sooner as NBA scouts and coaches were telling him he could play in the league, despite several media members writing him off throughout the process. Still, Hayes was not projected in either the first or second rounds in most mock drafts to this point. However, DraftExpress.com has him in the middle of the pack in the 2017 NBA Draft.

“Getting the opportunity to gather information about the NBA and visit with professionals at that level was a really valuable experience for me,” Hayes said in a UW release. “Playing in the NBA still remains an important goal for me, but that can wait another year. I’m excited to get back to work to pursue that dream, as well as the dream of getting my degree and helping my teammates, my brothers, bring a championship to Wisconsin.”

“I’m proud of Nigel for going through the process. It’s not easy to put yourself out on display over the course of a month,” Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard said in the release. “I know it helped him with his decision, but also it will make him a better player and leader for our team.”

Ultimately, by returning to school, Hayes is betting himself. He will look to become a better mid-range and three-point shooter as well as continue to show his strength on defense. The Badgers will be favorites in the Big Ten in the 2016-17 season. His return gives Wisconsin a legitimate chance to return to Hayes’ third Final Four in his four years and Hayes has good odds to be the Big Ten Player of the Year and even an All-American.

Hayes’ return was first reported by the Wisconsin State Journal‘s Jim Polzin.

Season G MP FG% 3P% FT% TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
2013-14 38 17.4 .510 N/A .585 2.8 0.9 0.8 0.5 1.2 2.6 7.7
2014-15 40 33.0 .497 .396 .744 6.2 2.0 0.9 0.4 1.3 1.9 12.4
2015-16 35 36.2 .368 .293 .736 5.8 3.0 1.1 0.4 2.3 2.0 15.7
Career 113 28.8 .441 .338 .697 4.9 1.9 0.9 0.4 1.5 2.2 11.9

Statistics courtesy of Sports-Reference.com.