Madison, WI – Last year’s matchup between Wisconsin and Green Bay was a tight contest that ultimately came down to the final shot, but the Badgers prevailed in a 69-66 win. This season, Wisconsin had no issues in an 84-60 victory.
Sophomore forward Nigel Hayes was the standout on Wednesday with 25 points and 11 rebounds for Wisconsin. He was 8-of-11 from the field and connected on both of his three-point attempts. While Hayes was an effective role player last season, he will be a core piece for the Badgers this year.
Hayes is a lengthy 6-foot-7 prospect that played primarily in the post last season. He’s an effective scorer inside that uses his length to finish with either hand around the rim. He didn’t attempt a three-pointer last season, but showed the ability to stretch the floor against Green Bay. He knocked down a pair of three-pointers and a two-pointer with his feet on the arc. If Hayes can show consistency as a jump shooter, he’s going to be a problem offensively. The question going forward is what position does he defend at the next level?
The more well-known prospects for Wisconsin also played well. Sam Dekker scored 19 points on 6-of-12 shooting to go with four rebounds. He can put the ball on the floor and attack the basket effectively. The 6-foot-9 junior is an athletic wing that used a spin move on multiple occasions to create space for a layup. Dekker can improve as a long-range shooter, as he was just 1-of-4 from deep, but has the physical tools to excel at the next level.
Frank Kaminsky had a stat-stuffing performance with 20 points, 15 rebounds, and seven blocks in the win. He was 8-of-13 from the field, but missed all three of his attempts from behind the arc. It was his first game without a made three-pointer this season, so it was likely just an off shooting night. As a skilled 7-footer, Kaminsky will draw intrigue as a stretch five.
Green Bay has a draft prospect to follow in point guard Keifer Sykes. The 6-foot senior is undersized, but is extremely quick and athletic. He had a near finish over Kaminsky at the rim early on. Sykes has a quick first step and attacked the rim at will en route to a 20-point performance. He was 9-of-17 from the field, but missed both of his three-point attempts. While he only recorded one assist, Sykes created plenty of open opportunities for his teammates that could have boosted his numbers.
While Sykes is an explosive leaper that changes speeds well, he’ll need to show a consistent jumper. He’s been up-and-down throughout his career, shooting 43.1% from deep as a sophomore followed by 30.9% as a junior. Sykes can hit pull-up jumpers from mid-range, but will look to extend his range throughout the season.
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