Happ declares for NBA draft, could still return to Badgers

At the Big Ten tournament, Wisconsin junior Ethan Happ indicated he would declare for the NBA draft.

On Tuesday, he confirmed it.

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The Badgers basketball social media account posted on Twitter that Happ declared, but also did not hire an agent — meaning he still could return to Wisconsin for his senior season.

“Ethan and I have talked multiple times about his future and our coaching staff fully supports his decision to explore the NBA draft,” Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard is quoted as saying in the tweet. “This is a great opportunity for him to gather information directly from the source, NBA personnel. The underclassmen rule allows Ethan and others to participate in workouts with teams and potentially the NBA combine. This experience will be invaluable for him and ultimately make him a better player.”

The 6-foot-10 Happ averaged 17.9 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.1 blocks for a Wisconsin team which struggled due to youth and injuries, finishing 15-18 and failing to make a postseason tournament for the first time since 1997-98.

Happ had 12 double-doubles on the season and shot 52.8 percent from the field. Free throws remain a concern (55.0 percent) and his range — although he did make his first (and only) collegiate 3-pointer.

If Happ forgoes the NBA, Wisconsin will return their top five players in minutes from last season plus D’Mitrik Trice and Kobe King, both of whom missed much of the year due to injuries.

The last Wisconsin player to leave school early for the NBA was Sam Dekker, who was drafted in the first round in 2015.