Wisconsin Basketball: Nigel Hayes, Ethan Happ named to mid-season Wooden Award list

Wisconsin Badgers forward Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ have been named to the mid-season Wooden Award list.

The John R. Wooden Award released its list of 25 players named to the mid-season watch list Wednesday.

Badgers forward Nigel Hayes is one of just seven seniors listed on the ballot, while Ethan Happ joined fellow sophomore Caleb Swanigan out of Purdue as the only other players listed out of the Big Ten Conference.

Hayes (13.5) and Happ (13.4) both rank second and third on the team respectively in points per game, but lead the team in other categories. Hayes is currently the team leader in assists, dishing out just over three per contest, while Happ sits a top the rebounding leaderboard, grabbing 9.1 on average.

Both Happ and Hayes were included on the preseason list, which was comprised of 50 players. Four players that were not listed in the initial watch ballot are now involved in the mid-season recognition: Baylor’s Jonathan Motley, Butler’s Kelan Martin, Duke’s Luke Kennard, and UCLA’s T.J. Leaf. Kennard joins Happ, Swanigan, and Dwyane Bacon out of Florida State as the only sophomores listed.

Wisconsin is one of just five schools to have at least two players named to the mid-season watch, joining elite company in UCLA, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Kansas.

The Atlanta Coast Conference (ACC) and Pac 12 Conference lead the way with the most representatives, while the Big Ten and Big 12 trail not far behind with four each.

Breakdown:

  • Freshmen – 7
  • Sophomores – 4
  • Juniors – 7
  • Seniors – 7

The Badgers have had recently success with the award, with Frank Kaminsky winning the honor back in 2015. Buddy Hield out of Oklahoma won it last season.

One more top 20 list will be released this season as the final watch count will come out sometime in February. Results and a winner will be announced in April.

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