Koenig to sign a two-way deal with Milwaukee, Hayes heads to New York

Bronson Koenig has reportedly found an NBA home, and he won’t be going far.

According to Michael Scotto of the Basketball Insiders, the former Wisconsin guard has agreed to join the Milwaukee Bucks.

Though not finalized, Koenig is expected to sign a two-way deal, according to the La Crosse Tribune. The deals are a part of the new CBA, and essentially give every team two more roster spots for players that will spend a majority of their time in the NBA’s G-League. It allows them to develop the player in their system, while also paying them more than the average G-League player.

Koenig worked out for Milwaukee in May, but suffered an ankle injury near the end of the session and was crutches afterwards. That limited his ability to perform in front of other teams until the last few weeks, but he was apparently impressive in those workouts, with ESPN’s Ian Bagley tweeting that the La Crosse product was moving up the draft boards of several teams.

A three-year starter at Wisconsin, Koenig left Madison as the school’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made, and developed a reputation for hitting big shots when the Badgers needed it the most, including a buzzer beater in the 2016 NCAA Tournament to beat Xavier and advance to the Sweet 16.

On Thursday, Koenig wrote a letter via ‘The Players’ Tribune,’ telling general managers around the league why they should take him, including the fact that he believed he was the best shooter in the draft.

While Koenig is staying home, his former teammate, Nigel Hayes, is reportedly headed to play for the New York Knicks. It’s unclear if Hayes’ agreement is a two-way deal or simply for their summer league team.

New York was one of the team’s Hayes worked out for in the pre-draft process.

Jake’s Take – Nigel Hayes will be missed

In this week’s edition of Jake’s Take, sports director Jake Zimmermann says Badger men’s basketball player Nigel Hayes will be missed for a variety of reasons. Jake says the former Badger, who’s taking part in the NBA combine in Chicago this week, will go down in school history as one of the best Badgers on the court and one of the most influential off the court.

This week Hayes wrote what he called a commencement address on the Players Tribune titled “Don’t Just Shut Up and Play.” The forward gave a couple of final messages.. his biggest? Telling his class to never stay in your lanes. In other words, just because they are athletes doesn’t mean they get to talk about sports. Hayes argues he has the right to speak his mind about a variety of issues. Jake Zimmermann agrees.

To listen to this week’s Jake’s Take, click the link below.

 

 

Michigan tops Wisconsin in Big Ten title game 71-56

WASHINGTON — Derrick Walton, Jr. led the Michigan Wolverines to their first Big Ten tournament championship Sunday afternoon, defeating the Wisconsin Badgers 71-56.

Walton was a focal point for the Badgers defensively, but he still managed a game-high 22 points on 6-of-15 shooting. He added six rebounds and seven assists, while Bronson Koenig finished with 15 points for Wisconsin.

Koenig was an important piece for a Wisconsin team that battled back from a 10-point deficit to get within one point before halftime. Unfortunately for the Badgers, they’d come out of halftime to go nearly eight minutes without a field goal. The Badgers struggled shooting, despite grabbing 13 rebounds on the offensive glass.

Nigel Hayes added 14 points and 11 rebounds in the losing effort for Wisconsin.

Happ, Koenig, Hayes and Showalter earn All-Big Ten recognition

MADISON — Wisconsin’s season didn’t end with a Big Ten regular season title, but several players still earned recognition for their work during the conference season when the All-Big Ten teams were announced Monday.

Forward Ethan Happ was a first-team pick by the coaches and media, becoming just the second Wisconsin sophomore to earn the honor, joining Michael Finley. Happ led the Badgers in rebounds, assists, blocks and steals per game, while finishing second in points. His selection also makes it four straight years where the Badgers have at least one All-Big Ten first-team player.

Senior Bronson Koenig was named to the second-team by the coaches after leading Wisconsin at 14.2 points per game during the season, including 17 in his final home game on Sunday against Minnesota. Koenig was a third-team pick by the media.

In his final season, Nigel Hayes earned third-team honors from both the coaches and the media after scoring 13.5 points and grabbing 6.2 rebounds per game.

Happ and senior Zak Showalter were named to the Big Ten’s All-Defensive Team, the second time for Happ and the first for Showalter. Wisconsin led the Big Ten in scoring defense at 61.4 points per game.

Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan was named the Big Ten Player of the Year, with Michigan State’s Malcom Bridges earning Freshman of the Year honors and Minnesota’s Richard Pitino picking up the Coach of the Year award.

The full list of award winners can be found here.

Wisconsin falls at Michigan State

Nigel Hayes scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, but No. 16 Wisconsin fell for a second straight game, this time 84-74 at Michigan State on Sunday.

The Badgers got out to a solid start, leading 10-4, but the Spartans would score 15 of the next 19 points to take a lead they would not relinquish. Center Nick Ward scored a team-high 22 points for Michigan State, while forward Miles Bridges added 17 and guard Matt McQuaid came off the bench to contribute 15.

Wisconsin’s issues were aplenty, including going just 13 of 25 from the foul line, making a brutal 14 of 31 layups and allowing 80-plus points in back-to-back Big Ten games for the first time since 1993. It all led to the Badgers fourth loss in their last five games.

Hayes’ afternoon, which also included four assists and solid defense on Bridgers, overshadowed by a 4 of 12 effort from the foul line.

Wisconsin’s Zak Showalter played well offensively, scoring 15 points, including three 3-pointers, while Bronson Koenig went for 17 points (1 of 9 on 3-pointers).

The Badgers leading scorer coming in, sophomore Ethan Happ, had just eight points but did grab 11 boards.

The loss leaves Wisconsin (22-7, 11-5) one-game back of Purdue and one-game up on Maryland, Michigan State and Minnesota in the Big Ten standings. The Badgers will finish out the conference season with a pair of home games — Thursday against Iowa and Sunday against Minnesota.

No. 16 Wisconsin upset at Ohio State 83-73

Bronson Koenig scored had 27 points, but it wasn’t nearly enough for No. 16 Wisconsin in an embarrassing 83-73 loss at Ohio State Thursday night.

The Buckeyes, just 5-10 in Big Ten play coming in, trailed for only 2:59 of the game on their way to easily their best win of the season. Coach Thad Matta’s team made 10 of their 16 3-point attempts, a high in conference play, and shot 50 percent for the game — just the fourth team this year to do that against Wisconsin.

Ohio State was paced by C.J. Jackson’s 18 points, while JaQuan Lyle added 17 off the bench.

Koenig was the lone consistent weapon for Wisconsin, who lost for a third time in four games. The senior went 5 of 9 from beyond the arc, and in doing so passed Ben Brust for the most 3-pointers in school history.

The other members of Wisconsin’s ‘Big 3’ — Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ — combined for just 11 points on 4 of 11 shooting, and for just the third time this year, Happ didn’t shoot a single free throw.

The loss dropped the Badgers (22-6, 11-4) into second place in the Big Ten, one game back of Purdue with three to go. Wisconsin will travel to Michigan State on Sunday, a place it hasn’t won since 2004.

Wisconsin snaps a two-game losing streak with a 71-60 win over Maryland

MADISON — No. 11 Wisconsin turned a six-point halftime deficit into a much needed double-digit win on Sunday, snapping a two-game losing streak by beating No. 23 Maryland 71-60 at the Kohl Center.

“I thought guys, especially in the second half, answered the bell, so to speak,” coach Greg Gard said of his team’s effort.

After managing to hit just 28 percent of their shots in the first half, the Badgers saw Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ shoot a combined 9 of 15 after the break on their way to making 51.5 percent from the field in the second half. Add in the fact they turned the ball over just once in the final 20 minutes and limited Maryland to just eight made field goals, and it was clear why they were successful.

“That was more like (who) this team is,” Gard said.

Hayes, two days after saying he needed to be more assertive and step his game up, did just that, scoring a game-high 21 points and grabbing 10 rebounds — his second double-double in Big Ten play. Nine of his points came at the free throw line, an indication of his aggressiveness.

“We’re not the best outside shooting team, currently,” said Hayes, who was 0 of 2 from 3-point range on a team that made just 2 of their 12 shots from deep. “I tried to do my best to get to the rim, try to draw some fouls.”

Happ scored 20 points and added seven rebounds despite dealing with foul trouble in the second half.

But the biggest lift may have come in the form of Bronson Koenig. Wisconsin prepared like they wouldn’t have the senior guard for a second straight game due to a calf injury, but he ended up coming off the bench and played 31 minutes.

His first make, a 3-pointer, tied the game at 36 with 16:29 left. The next time down the court he hit a jumper to give the Badgers a 38-36 lead. He made two more shots later in the game and finished with nine points, all in the second half.

“It was great for him to get back in the flow of things,” senior Zak Showalter said of Koenig. “He’s had five days off so he was a little bit slow but it was good to see him come in and contribute.”

Koenig wasn’t the only one off the bench to help. Redshirt freshman Brevin Pritzl, who didn’t play a minute in the loss to Michigan on Thursday, gave the Badgers seven points and seven rebounds, including five on the offensive end, which led to six second-chance points for Wisconsin.

Maryland was paced by Melo Trimble’s 27 points, but the junior guard didn’t play in the final 4:32, with coach Mark Turgeon saying he was tired, pointing to five missed free throws during the game.

The win leaves Wisconsin (22-5, 11-3 Big Ten) in a tie with Purdue atop the Big Ten with four games to play.

The Badgers next to contests are on the road, with a trip to Ohio State on Thursday and a visit to Michigan State on Sunday.

Notes:

— Former Wisconsin running back James White was honored during the game for his performance in Super Bowl LI. He caught a Super Bowl-record 14 passes and scored three touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime to help the New England Patriots beat the Atlanta Falcons and win their second title in three years.

— Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson was in attendance, sitting behind the Wisconsin bench. He was recognized during the game as well as the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year.

— Former Wisconsin forward Duje Dukan, currently playing with the Chicago Bulls’ D-League team, was also at the game.

D’Mitrik Trice to get his first career start in place of an injured Bronson Koenig

Wisconsin will be without their starting point guard when they take on Michigan Thursday night.

The team announced that senior point guard Bronson Koenig will miss the game as he deals with a calf strain that has hampered him since first injuring it against Penn State on Jan. 24.

“The medical staff made a decision (on Wednesday),” coach Greg Gard told UWBadgers.com “We knew it was unlikely he was going to play and then (we) made a final determination (Thursday) morning.”

In Koenig’s place will be true freshman D’Mitrik Trice, who is averaging 5.5 points and 1.6 assists per game.

“He’s ready for this moment,” Gard said. “I’ve said all along he’s wiser and older than his freshman year says in the program. It’s a great opportunity for him.”

Trice said Tuesday he was preparing like he was going to start, and he spent the entire week as the No. 1 point guard with Koenig sitting out.

“(I) just have to go out and do what I need to do to help my team win,” Trice said of his role. “Whether that’s pass the ball, come off screens and find open guys or knock down the 15-footer, hit an open 3 here and there and just direct the offense.”

Koenig had seen his performance drop off significantly since the injury, making just 7 of 31 shots from beyond the arc and shooting under 30 percent from the field overall.

“We know it’s huge loss,” senior Nigel Hayes said this week. “As I’ve always answered when another team loses a key player, other players will step up. That’s just what happens.

“We know what Bronson does. Bronson takes his shots. All that means is there are more shots for someone else, another opportunity for someone to step up.

“Trice has been playing well. Brevin (Pritzl) has been doing well. Gives more opportunities for Jordan (Hill) and those guys to step up and try and make something happen.”

Entering the day, No. 11 Wisconsin (21-4, 10-2) owns a 1/2 game lead in the Big Ten on Purdue and Maryland.

Nigel Hayes a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award

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

Badgers fall to Northwestern 66-59 at home, Koenig scores just 2 points

MADISON | The Badger men’s basketball team’s 19-game home winning streak is over. Wisconsin’s shooting woes finally got the best of them as Northwestern invaded the Kohl Center and beat the 7th ranked Badgers 66-59 on Sunday night.

Bronson Koenig scored just two points on 1-8 shooting. Northwestern ended the first half on a 19-3 run to take a 31-22 lead into the locker room. Wisconsin started out the second half on a 10-0 run as Northwestern went 0-8 to start the second. But Wildcat Bryant McIntosh took over scoring 25 points. Northwestern gets its much coveted signature win. The Badgers fall to 21-4, 10-2 in the Big Ten, a game ahead of second place Maryland and Purdue with six games left in the regular season.

Playing without leading scorer Scottie Lindsey, the Wildcats (19-6, 8-4 Big Ten) shot 48.3 percent from the floor in the second half, dropped seven 3-pointers and locked down on sophomore Ethan Happ with double teams over the final 30 minutes every time he touched the post.

Wisconsin senior Nigel Hayes scored 13 points to lead the Badgers.

 

The Badgers finished the game one of its last seven, the only make coming on a meaningless D’Mitrik Trice three-pointer at the buzzer

The Badgers will play at Michigan on Thursday night at 6.