Photo: Wisconsin Badgers
BY MIKE LUCAS
UWBadgers.com Senior Writer
MADISON, Wis. — After a late-night/early-morning flight from Washington, D.C. and the Big Ten tournament final, Nigel Hayes got back to his apartment after 1 a.m. Even though he had an early wake-up Monday for an 8:15 a.m. meeting with a professor, followed by a couple of classes, another meeting with a prof, and treatment in the training room, all on his "off" day, he wasn't counting on getting to sleep right away.
"No, you never do sleep after games," said the 22-year-old Wisconsin senior. "Especially the big games. If you win, you're up because of the adrenaline and excitement. And if you lose, you're up thinking about what went wrong and what you could have done and should have done better.
"I just lay there and try to think about something else. If it gets real bad, I get up and drink some water and walk around a little bit. But usually, you just end up laying there. It's hard to turn off your brain sometimes, especially when you're trying to reflect on a loss, a loss in a championship game."
Winning championships is something that he always thinks about.
"Everyone who knows me knows that I don't care about personal stats or accolades, I'd rather just my team win," he said. "I've been a part of some good wins where I haven't had a double-double or scored 20 points. I've been a part of some losses when I've had those (numbers) and I would trade it in a second for a win. If you know me, you know that about me."
Once you get to know Hayes, even just a little bit, even a drive-by the last four years, you get a sense of his expectations and a feel for how much thought he puts into everything he does and says. He puts himself "out there" fully knowing the consequences, though he refutes being a "celebrity."
Take this John Wooden quote that he can loosely recite as if on speed dial: "Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are."