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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Former Marquette forward Joey Hauser set to face his old team Sunday in NCAA Tournament

Joey Hauser (22) averaged 9.7 points and 5.3 rebounds in one season at Marquette. The Stevens Point, Wisconsin native is set to face his former squad March 18 in the NCAA Tournament when Michigan State takes on Marquette. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The matchup that Marquette fans have been waiting for has finally come to fruition.

Former Marquette men’s basketball forward Joey Hauser will face his former squad for the first time since transferring to Michigan State Sunday afternoon at Nationwide Arena.

But for Hauser, it is just a normal game.

“I don’t know any of the players or coaches there,” Hauser said Saturday afternoon. “It was a long time ago, so I don’t have any ill will towards them. But it’s just Michigan State versus Marquette.”

The Stevens Point, Wisconsin, native made a name for himself on the high school circuit in the state as he led Stevens Point Area Senior High to three-straight state titles.

Hauser played just one season at Marquette, as he redshirted as a true first-year in 2017-18 while recovering from ankle surgery.

He averaged 9.7 points and 5.3 rebounds during the 2018-19 season when Marquette earned a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament but was upset by No. 12 seed Murray State and Ja Morant in the first round.

Following that season, Hauser and his brother, Sam, who now plays for the Boston Celtics, transferred to Michigan State and Virginia respectively.

Though Hauser will be facing his former team, there will be no familiar faces on the Marquette bench as none of his former coaches or teammates remain.

“People probably make it out to be more serious than it is,” Hauser said on facing his old squad. “I loved my time at Marquette, I grew a lot there.”

Hauser said his growth and time at Marquette helped him improve during his transition to Michigan State.

“I graduated high school early and went there because of injury. A lot of work was done just in terms of getting back into playing shape and the training staff. The weight room staff there, strength staff, did a really good job helping me out,” Hauser said.

“Being with my brother was an unbelievable experience of just having him kind of show me the ropes of college basketball and getting used to the travel and playing in big games was definitely what helped me.

“Getting to Michigan State, sitting out that year was tough, but I think I’ve just kind of grown in those areas since I’ve gotten here.”

Hauser had to sit out the 2019-20 season due to the NCAA transfer rules.

The 6-foot-9, 220-pound power forward, put together a strong second half to last season for the Spartans. He tied a career-high of 27 points in Michigan State’s first round win in the NCAA Tournament over Davidson last season.

Hauser opted to return to East Lansing this season using his COVID-19 extra year of eligibility, a decision that has paid off for both the Spartans and himself.

“I’ve said it a million times to our people that COVID affected a lot of people a lot of different ways. I thought Joey was one that affected in a very negative way, just how you had to be by yourself and alone and all the things you went through, almost to the point where I’m not sure he was going to play basketball, come back for this year,” Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said.

“We had some long talks, parents, him. It was almost like the light bulb went on and he said, ‘I’m coming back.’ And he’s been so good this year in a lot of ways. I mean, sometimes we’re not even getting him enough shots. And he’s just been a better rebounder.”

Hauser said deciding to return for a final season was a great decision for himself.

“Everything’s kind of worked out itself so far. I didn’t come in with any expectations really. I didn’t put much pressure on myself  because I didn’t know what to really expect,” Hauser said. “Everything’s just kind of been a treat. Playing in the NCAA Tournament, having a pretty good year, making some big shots. It’s all this fun to me.”

Entering Sunday’s second round matchup, Hauser is averaging a career-best 14.3 points per game while shooting 46.5 percent from beyond the arc. He also leads Michigan State with 7.1 boards per game.

He is one of 31 players in Division I basketball to average at least 14.2 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game.

Earlier this season, Hauser became the first Spartan since Cassius Winston in 2020 to score 20 or more points in three straight games.

In the Spartans’ first round win over University of Southern California, Hauser led with 17 points on 4-for-6 shooting from beyond the arc. He also grabbed eight rebounds.

While he will be donning the Spartan green and white tomorrow, Hauser is one of a handful of players in this year’s Field of 68 to represent the state of Wisconsin on the big stage.

“It means a lot, especially to represent my hometown,” Hauser said. “It just taught me so much. Athletics are a huge deal in Stevens Point, Wisconsin even though it’s pretty small. It’s a tight knit community and we’ve had a lot of really good athletes go onto professional levels and play on big stages. It means a lot.”

Hauser said that while he is unsure how Marquette fans in attendance tomorrow will act, it won’t let it affect his game one way or another.

“I don’t know what the vibe is really honestly,” Hauser said. “I know they’re pretty upset when we first left, but who knows. The coach that coached me there is no longer there anymore.

“But once again, it’s Michigan State versus Marquette, so I’m sure they’re going to be chanting either way and talking crap to us.”

This article was written by John Leuzzi. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JohnLeuzziMU. 

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