The Big Ten battle for four-star power forward Nigel Hayes (Toledo, Ohio/Whitmer) is over. Hayes committed to Wisconsin over Ohio State on Sunday night.
"Wisconsin stayed with me during the ups and downs," Hayes said. "The coaching staff did a great job of recruiting me. I had a great relationship with coach (Bo) Ryan and assistant coach Lamont Paris. They also built relationships with my parents, my sisters and brother."
This is a huge pickup for the Badgers, who came across the Ohio border and landed a player the Buckeyes also were very excited about and had hopes of signing.
Hayes, who is on the cusp of the ESPN 100, will bring to Wisconsin great size at 6-foot-7, versatility on both ends of the court and a terrific basketball IQ. Coach Ryan will have the luxury of moving Hayes inside and out to create scoring opportunities based on matchups. He will also be an asset on the defensive end with his ability to defend both forward positions and be a consistent presence on the glass. Hayes has rapidly improved over the last seven months and has tremendous upside.
Hayes is the fifth commit for the Badgers in the Class of 2013, joining ESPN 100 point guard Bronson Koenig (LaCrosse, Wis./Aquinas), shooting guard Riley Dearring (Minneapolis, Minn./Hopkins), shooting guard Jordan Hill (Pasadena, Calif./Phillips Exeter Academy) and power forward Vitto Brown (Bowling Green, Ohio/Bowling Green).
This class, which moves into the top 25 recruiting classes at No. 25, will provide Ryan with excellent size, skill and feel for the game. They all compete at a high level and have toughness and a thirst to improve.