Saturday March 28th, 2015

Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes in the most interesting character in the NCAA tournament. The sophomore forward is averaging 13.7 points per game thus far in the tournament, but it's his off-court antics that have made him a star. Let's take a look back at five things that make him the tournament's most lovable player.

He's fascinated by the press conference stenographer

Here's how Hayes opened his press conference after the Badgers' win over Coastal Carolina:

Q. Nigel, obviously if you look just statistically, you’ve taken quite a leap in the 3-point shooting, to whatever, and in other areas. Can you describe just the steps you took to kind of, you know, raise those parts of your game?
NIGEL HAYES: Hello, it works now. Before I answer that question, I would like to say a few words, cattywampus, onomatopoeia and antidisestablishmentarianism. (Laughs). Now, back to your question. It was just a lot of hard work, teammates giving me great confidence, and when you play with players that are very unselfish like the two next to me who also give you that confidence and involve the team, it’s a lot easier to get things done.

Q. Why did you start off saying those things and then I have to followup.
NIGEL HAYES: Well, the wonderful young lady over there, I think her job title is a stenographer, yes, okay. And she does an amazing job of typing words, sometimes if words are not in her dictionary, maybe if I say soliloquy right now, she may have to work a little bit harder to type that word, or quandary, zephyr, Xylophone, things like that, that make her job really interesting.

He might be a little too fascinated with one stenographer in particular

Hayes tried to whisper to Frank Kaminsky that he thought the stenographer in Los Angeles was "beautiful," but he didn't realize his mic was on. He looked like he wanted to disappear, which is hard when you're 6'8".

He made sure to apologize to the stenographer in question

Hayes realized that his gaffe might have been as embarrassing for the stenographer as it was for him, so he apologized to her on Twitter.

She was totally cool with it, though.

He wants to sleep in Kobe Bryant's locker

Hayes is sharing Kobe's locker this week, and hopes to gain some of Bryant's skills by osmosis.

“Here we are in Kobe's locker,” Hayes told reporters, according to WKBT. “I will probably sleep in this locker tonight so that way I can absorb Kobe powers and ability tonight and hopefully it will help me play well.”

He's been doing stuff like this his entire college career

During last year's tournament, Hayes started interviewing teammates as "Nigel Burgundy." The videos were a hit, so he kept the act going after the season was over. In May, he helped keep things light during finals week by interviewing students in the library.

How can you not root for the Badgers?

- Dan Gartland

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