With the 2015 NBA Draft wrapping up recently, Badger fans have to feel satisfied with two players being taken in the first round on Draft night in Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker. However, fans have certainly started wondering about the future and who could be the next players from Wisconsin selected in to the NBA like Dekker and Kaminsky. As such, we will take a look at Wisconsin's top Draft prospects in the future.
The future for Badgers in the NBA Draft is a lot less promising as Bo Ryan's squad does not have too much NBA potential on its current roster. Nigel Hayes had a chance to declare for the draft after his breakout performance in the 2015 NCAA Tournament, but decided to return to Madison for his Junior season. Hayes will now be the focus of the offense for Ryan, and if he has another solid season, he may declare for the draft after next year and has potential to be a first round pick.
In his sophomore season, Hayes shot 50% from the field and 40% from three point range while averaging 12.4PPG and 6.2RPG. Hayes has a good chance of being named to the All Big Ten First Team next season as he will take well over the 8.4 shots per game he took this year with the absence of Dekker and Kaminsky. I think there is a good chance Hayes ends up being a first round pick next year. I'm not sure how high in the first round he will be able to climb as the lottery has been dominated by underclassmen in recent years, but Hayes has an offensive and defensive game that can translate well to the NBA.
After Hayes, the Badgers don't have any sure fire NBA players on their roster or committed to the program. Bronson Koenig will likely be the Badgers best player behind Hayes, and his NBA potential is very limited. While he filled in well for an injured Traevon Jackson last year, it would shock me if Koenig finds himself in the NBA after his next two seasons at Madison. In Bo Ryan's program, he has shown that he prefers players who will stay in Madison multiple seasons, and this does not necessarily tailor to getting NBA caliber recruits. For example, Ryan only offered one scholarship to a five-star in the class of 2016 (ESPN.com). This compares to Ohio State and Maryland offering six different 5-stars in the class of 2016 a scholarship. Obviously, getting top tier talent that might only stay around for one season is not high on Bo's priority list.
The top two recruits in the Badgers 2015 class are 4-stars Alex Illikainen and Brevin Pritzl. While neither player has can't miss NBA potential, Illikainen probably has the better chance to eventually work his way to being an NBA Draft prospect as he has an NBA body right now at 6'8'' and 225 pounds and also has the ability to step away from the basket and knock down jumpers. As of now, the Badgers do not have any commits for the class of 2016. Amir Coffey (#10 small forward) is probably their best chance a top level recruit, as he is from Minnesota and considering mostly Big Ten schools.
Overall, Nigel Hayes will most likely be the next Badger to be drafted in to the NBA. After that, the future of Wisconsin players in the NBA is a little foggy. Bo Ryan is always developing his players, however, so don't be surprised if a mid-level recruit like Illikainen ends up having a great 3-4 year career under Bo and finds himself in the NBA.