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Wisconsin men’s basketball: per report, Nigel Hayes and Boston Celtics have mutual interest

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The UW legend is looking for a chance to get back into the NBA after a few years abroad.

Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul v Zalgiris Kaunas - Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Photo by Tolga Adanali/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

Quite frankly I’m embarrassed that I missed the piece of news on Friday, but per a report from Celtics beat writer Chris Grenham, Wisconsin Badgers legend Nigel Hayes tried out for the Boston Celtics and there is mutual interest between the two parties.

The 26-year old forward went undrafted in the 2017 NBA Draft, but had a few spot minutes for the Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Lakers and Toronto Raptors and also played for the New York Knicks G-League team. Starting in the 2018-19 season, Hayes took his talents to Europe and played for Galatasary in Turkey.

These past two seasons, however, Hayes has been a key part of BC Žalgiris, a Lithuanian powerhouse that has produced NBA players such as Arvydas Sabonis, Šarūnas Jasikevičius and Darius Songailia. Hayes has helped Žalgiris win back to back Lithuanian league titles, better known as the King Mindaugas Cup, while averaging 9.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.1 spg and shooting 44.3% from three on just shy of four attempts per game this last year. He also shot 89.4% from the free throw line (and 85.6% in his three years total overseas) which indicates that he has improved on his sometimes streaky jumper that he had in Madison.

It would be great to see Hayes get another shot in the NBA as his particular skill-set would be valuable to a team looking for a bench energy guy that can defend multiple positions, shoot the ball well in spot up situations and provide some secondary ball-handling and play-making skills.