Hauser brothers’ positionless basketball catches attention of BIG EAST opponents

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Hauser brothers’ positionless basketball catches attention of BIG EAST opponents

Photo by John Steppe

Photo by John Steppe

Photo by John Steppe

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With Marquette trailing for most of the game Jan. 20 against Providence, and star point guard Markus Howard struggling to hit shots, a familiar sequence emerged. Junior forward Sam Hauser found his brother Joey, who made an open shot.

It first happened at the 3:09 mark in the second half, when Sam found Joey inside for a turnaround jumper. Less than two minutes later, Sam found Joey again, this time for an open three.

“It’s a proud brother-to-brother moment right there,” Sam Hauser said after the win.

Howard has dominated headlines for his scoring prowess, yet the Hauser brothers’ latest string of “brother-to-brother moments” are catching the attention of coaches across the BIG EAST.

When three BIG EAST coaches talked about the Hauser brothers, a common theme stood out: the brothers’ versatility.

With both brothers listed as at least 6-foot-8 and both shooting above 40 percent from three, coaches have struggled to define them by one position.

“Today’s basketball is really about two real key elements,” DePaul head coach Dave Leitao said. “One is the ability to shoot the ball, and both those guys do that very well. Two is positionless basketball, and I’m not so sure I could describe any one of the specific positions (they play).”

When Howard went down due to lower back tightness against Georgetown Jan. 15, Sam Hauser, listed at 6-foot-8, ran the point.

Sam Hauser has been one of the most consistent Marquette players, scoring in double figures in 11 of the Golden Eagles’ last 12 games.

Joey Hauser has often been overshadowed by junior Markus Howard and his brother’s contributions, but that has played to his advantage this season.

“They attract so much attention,” Joey Hauser said. “Having those two guys really opens up the floor for everybody else.”

The Hausers see a lot of court time together. However, Sam Hauser averages 32 minutes per game, while Joey Hauser averages 30 minutes. Only two other players play at least 20 minutes per game for Marquette: Howard and redshirt junior Sacar Anim.

“Their skillset, their versatility and their basketball IQ allow us to play them in a number of different ways,” Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “And they’re winners, so when they’re on the court, they’re always trying to figure out how to win.”

Providence head coach Ed Cooley singled out the Hauser brothers’ versatility and poise as one of the challenges in the Friars’ second-half collapse against Marquette.

“Their versatility is very hard to match up to,” Cooley said. “They have size. They have length. They both shoot the ball extremely well. They’re gifted offensive players. … It makes them both very, very dangerous.”

Xavier head coach Travis Steele was the latest coach confounded by the Hauser duo. The Musketeers had an 11-point lead early in the first half, but the Hauser brothers combined to score 41 points on 13-for-24 shooting.

“They’re versatile,” Steele said. “Obviously they both can really shoot the ball. They know how to play. They can post you (up). They can shoot on the perimeter. They can pass. They handle the ball really well for kids their size. … They can impact the game in a lot of different ways.”

The Hausers’ chemistry has already led to conference history. In the same week, Sam and Joey Hauser became the first set of brothers to win BIG EAST Player of the Week and BIG EAST Freshman of the Week, respectively. 

“Certainly having those two guys is critical to any or all success that we have,” Wojciechowski said.

The Hausers aren’t the only ones being thrust into larger roles this season. Xavier, who was a No. 1 seed in last year’s NCAA Tournament, lost its three leading scorers. Seton Hall lost three of its top four leading scorers, who combined to score almost 5,000 career points.

“You have guys out there that weren’t put in these positions last year to maybe have to make a defensive step, to get a defensive rebound or to get an offensive play,” Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard said. “That’s kind of what you’re seeing throughout the league right now, top to bottom.”

In the meantime, Cooley is already eyeing the rematch against the Hauser brothers.

“That’s going to be another hard matchup when they come to the Dunk in a few weeks,” Cooley said. “Those two young men are very, very good players.”

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