MADISON — Nigel Hayes has proven to be far more than just a basketball player during his time at Wisconsin. The senior has taken a visible role in the Black Lives Matter movement and in pushing for college athletes to be compensated for their contributions to the multi-billion dollar business that is the NCAA.
It was for those reasons, along with his involvement in the Badgers Give Back program and strong academic history, that he was named one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award on Wednesday.
“I believe it is our responsibility as people to try to better the world around us, but I recognize that the platform I have allows for greater visibility,” Hayes said in a release from the school. “I’m trying to use that influence I have to make a positive change.”
In addition to his role in the community, Hayes is also a 3.0 student and two-time Big Ten Academic honoree as a business finance and investment banking major.
On the floor, Hayes is averaging 13.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists for a Badgers squad that is ranked No. 11 in the country.
CLASS is an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School. Hayes is the fourth Wisconsin player to be named a finalist, with Alando Tucker winning the award in 2007. This year’s winner will be announced at the 2017 Final Four in Phoenix.
The other finalists are:
Jaron Blossomgame, Clemson
Evan Bradds, Belmont
Josh Hart, Villanova
Josh Hawkinson, Washington State
Amile Jefferson, Duke
Peter Jok, Iowa
Przemek Karnowski, Gonzaga
Tim Kempton, Lehigh
Frank Mason III, Kansas