Looking ahead: Hauser will be a monster for Virginia hoops next season

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Photo: twitter.com

Now that the 2019-20 college basketball season has come to an abrupt and sad end, it’s not too early to look at next season’s Virginia squad, and one player in particular: Sam Hauser.

Hauser is a 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward who transferred from Marquette to UVA last summer, and sat out this past season due to the redshirt transfer rule. While he wasn’t eligible to play, he was eligible to practice.

Virginia fans and media captured a glimpse of his abilities in the preseason Orange & Blue game, but that paled in comparison to what Jay Huff saw in daily practice sessions.

“Sam can just flat out play,” Huff said. “There are teams where [coaches] will have him playing the five-spot on the scout team when we play teams that can screen and separate.

“I would rather really almost anybody other than [Hauser]. He’s not super quick or super athletic, but he will surprise you sometimes. He’s really crafty. He’s an amazing shooter, so if you aren’t on him, he’ll make it. If he gets past you, he has crafty moves around the basket.”

We’ve heard similar stories about Hauser’s toughness and playing ability from other teammates during the course of the season. He and Huff will make up a formidable front line for Tony Bennett’s Cavaliers.

While at Marquette, Hauser started every game from his freshman season through his junior campaign. During the 2018-19 season, he averaged 14.9 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 32.4 minutes per game. He made 45.9 percent of his shot attempts and 40.2 percent of his 3-point tries, 92.4 percent of his free throws, making him a multi-level scoring threat.

Here are highlights of his 31-point performance against Georgetown last season:

“I’m a good shooter and I use that to my advantage,” Hauser told this sportswriter recently. “I can play the post pretty well. I kind of make the right play, the simple play, not always flashy. I do whatever it takes to win. I grew up that way and I try to do that every day.”

When Huff said he would rather attempt to guard anyone in the ACC other than Hauser, he wasn’t kidding. Hauser took his role on the scout team seriously this past season.

“I like to compete and I like to win, so I give those guys my all every day in practice,” the Wisconsin native said. “My job this year was to do just that. I think [teammates] appreciated it. It’s all out of love. I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t love these guys.”

When he heard Huff’s comments, Hauser chuckled and said, “I’ll take it. That means I’m doing something right.”

Since arriving in Charlottesville, the Marquette transfer said that it was a smooth transition. Charlottesville is different in that it’s a small town, as opposed to Marquette being situated in downtown Milwaukee.

Still, he has found things to do. He has enjoyed the Downtown Mall, he’s been to the Sunset Series on Carter Mountain, and to Monticello. His favorite restaurants thus far are Citizen’s Burger and Burton’s, although he is looking forward to trying out many more.

Sitting out this season isn’t exactly what he would have preferred, but he has made the most of the situation.

“I think it has been a blessing in disguise,” Hauser said. “It’s no fun sitting out and watching games, but I had a great chance to work on my individual game, and on getting stronger and quicker. I’ve been able to refine some things in my game and get better in other areas as well.”

He misses his younger brother, Joey, who was his teammate at Marquette, but transferred to Michigan State where he also had to sit out this past season.

All in all, Hauser will bring a lot to the table as a Wahoo next season. Huff has already issued a word of caution to UVA opponents.

“I think Sam Hauser will be a nightmare for opposing teams next season,” Huff said.

ACC, you have been forewarned.

Comments

  1. David Worrell says:

    I could not be happier that this young man has transferred to UVA. He will be a great addition to what is already looking to be a great team next year. Wahoo Wa

  2. Coleman Holland says:

    Welcome to Charlottesville Sam. Looking forward to seeing you play next season. GO HOOS!!

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