Dimondale, Mich. — Joey Hauser says it was tough to leave Marquette.
Hauser said deciding to part ways with his older brother, Sam, was tough, too.
But when the 6-foot-9 forward started coming to grips with he and his brother going their separate ways after they announced they were leaving Marquette, things started to get a lot easier.
“I want to win,” Hauser said Tuesday night after a night playing in the Moneyball Pro-am. “Michigan State, they win. There’s a winning tradition, Final Fours and playing for Tom Izzo. It’s something I wanted to be a part of.”
So, a little more than a month after Hauser and his brother surprised some by announcing they would leave Marquette, Hauser did something he always felt he wanted to do — he became a Spartan. At the same time, Sam Hauser revealed he was heading to Virginia.
It was a big step from the siblings that both starred at Steven Point Area High in Wisconsin, then played together for the Golden Eagles.
“We both knew we kind of wanted to do our own thing,” Joey Hauser said. “We played together for a really long time, but we were both ready to do our own thing. We both liked different schools, so it worked out.”
The fact they both liked different schools wasn’t much of a shock. That’s because Joey Hauser had always been drawn to Michigan State, dating to when Izzo and his staff recruited the former four-star recruit out of high school.
Back then, Hauser was ranked among the top 50 players in the nation by 247Sports.com after helping lead Stevens Point Area High to three-straight state titles. He averaged 23.6 points, 11.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game as a junior en route to the squad’s third championship. He was a unanimous selection to the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association All-State team and claimed co-player of the year accolades in the Wisconsin Valley Conference in 2016-17.
Hauser battled through an ankle injury that kept him out of part of his junior season and forced him to miss all but one game of his senior year. During that time, Hauser made his college choice and opted to follow his brother to Marquette rather than head to East Lansing.
But the Spartans were always in the back of his mind.
Forced to miss most of his senior year in high school, Hauser enrolled early at Marquette in 2017-18 before averaging 9.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game last season while shooting 42.5 percent from 3-point range. He was named to the Big East all-freshman team after being named the league’s Freshman of the Week five times.
The season ended, though, and the Hausers decided it was time to move on. That’s when Michigan State started to move back into the picture. Dozens of schools were interested, but it didn’t take Hauser long to reconnect with the MSU coach.
“Coach Izzo is the reason I came here,” Hauser said. “Obviously, there’s a winning tradition that I really like. But I really like Coach Izzo and wanted him to be my coach.”
Izzo is Hauser’s coach now. That’s the good part.
The bad part for Hauser is sitting out this season. He said there was no thought of applying for a waiver, so he’ll be back to watching from the sidelines this season, only this time it won’t be because of injury.
“It definitely sucks I’ve got to sit out a year,” Hauser said. “I’m not a very patient person so that’s gonna be hard … but I’ve done it a couple times, so I know what it’s like. This time is a little bit different. I’ll be healthy and knowing I can help my team in practice every day, but it’s something that I knew coming into this decision. It is what it is.”
It hasn’t taken Hauser long to become acclimated to his new team. After he and sophomore Gabe Brown teamed up on Tuesday night, Brown was busy razzing his new teammate outside of the locker room, the chemistry already building.
“As soon as he committed he was already welcomed,” Brown said. “Joey is a great basketball player. For him to come there and support us … I know before he wanted to be a Spartan, but he went to Marquette and did great there. But for him to hop on the trail that he’s on, that’s good.”
His brother won’t be around this season, and that will take some getting used to. But Hauser is already experiencing the tight bond the Spartans have.
“I came in a little nervous, didn’t know a lot of the guys,” Hauser said. “But I got acclimated really quickly. They’re very welcoming. (Transferring) was a really hard decision for me and they know that. They know it was a tough decision and a tough process, so they’re just welcoming me and helping me out.”