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After 2017 NBA Draft, Nigel Hayes gets shot with New York Knicks, Bronson Koenig with Milwaukee Bucks

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The two Badgers stars get their chances to impress the NBA this summer.

NCAA Basketball: Prairie View A&M at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Update, 10:37 a.m. CST: Koenig has indeed had discussions with the Bucks and is expected to sign a two-way contract with the team on July 1, reports the La Crosse Tribune’s Todd Sommerfeldt:

Koenig, a 6-foot-4 guard and Aquinas High School graduate, had discussions with the Milwaukee Bucks after the draft and is expected to sign with the team on July 1, according to a source who requested anonymity.

Each team in the NBA receives two two-way contracts for players who are essentially their 16th and 17th on the roster. The player spends most of his time in the G-League — formerly the D-League — but can get called up to the NBA roster and move back and forth.

They are available to any player with less than three years of service in the NBA, and players are paid by the G-League and earn more for each day they spend on the NBA roster.

The Bucks have a G-League team — the Wisconsin Herd — preparing for its upcoming first season in Oshkosh, Wis.

As for Hayes, ESPN’s Ian Begley confirms the former Badgers forward will play with the Knicks in summer league:

Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes will play with the Knicks in summer league, sources confirmed to ESPN. Hayes, 6-8 with a 7-3 wingspan, went undrafted but some college observers see him as having the potential to be a versatile defender at the next level with a strong outside shot – something the Knicks certainly could use. Hayes, who worked out for the Knicks prior to the draft, averaged 14 points, 6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game last year. Hayes' agreement with the Knicks was first reported by Darren Wolfson.

The landing spot is interesting for Hayes, as Ball Don’t Lie’s Kevin Kaduk reminds us:

It was only three months ago that Nigel Hayes and his University of Wisconsin basketball team traveled to New York for an appearance in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16.

While preparing to play Florida at the Garden, the outspoken Hayes made the wrong kind of tabloid headlines by saying he didn’t much care for the Big Apple or the general cleanliness of the city.

“I don’t really like New York,” Hayes said to reporters then. “It’s too big, it’s dirty, trash everywhere, too many people. It’s cold right now.”

We’ve updated the post below to reflect these details.


The 2017 NBA Draft came and went without any Wisconsin Badgers being drafted, as largely expected. Of course, that doesn’t mean Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig won’t have opportunities to stick in the league.

Hayes has received a summer league invitation from the New York Knicks, his mother reportedly told hometown Toledo, Ohio, reporter Jordan Strack.

Koenig will sign a deal with the Milwaukee Bucks, reports Basketball Insiders’ Michael Scotto.

We’ll pass along more details as we hear them, but at first glance, these seem like great first steps for both players. Sure, the Knicks are a hot mess, but Hayes gets to join what is indisputably going to be a youth movement led by Phil Jackson. The Knicks will play in the 20-game, six-day Orlando Summer League from July 1–6. Each team will play five games, with a championship scheduled for July 6.

Koenig seems like a sure bet to join the Bucks at the Las Vegas Summer League from July 7–17. Each team there will play a minimum of five games—three preliminary games between July 7–11 before seeding for a tournament that will run for the remainder of the league.

For more on Hayes’s and Koenig’s fits in the NBA, check out Dylan Paris’ scouting reports on each.