"What still drives me today is to help guys to live the same dream I’ve gotten to live," Izzo says. David Guralnick, The Detroit News
East Lansing — The waiting game continues for Michigan State and Joey Hauser.
The 6-foot-9 forward who transferred from Marquette in the offseason is still waiting to see if the NCAA will approve his waiver to become immediately eligible or if the sophomore will have to sit out this season. However, it appears a resolution will be coming soon, and Spartans coach Tom Izzo isn’t making any predictions of which way it will go.
“I told you guys with the preliminary stuff that I got, it didn't look good,” Izzo said at Michigan State’s media day Tuesday. “Then as you go through and see some of these people and how they're getting them, what's going on, it's out of my hands. Do I think I'll know something by this week? 100 percent. It seems like everything is trailing down to now.”
While Hauser being granted a waiver would still qualify as a long-shot, there’s no doubt what he could bring to the Spartans. If there’s one spot they have questions it’s the power forward position.
If Hauser is eligible, he immediately becomes the starter at that spot and would likely play heavy minutes after averaging 9.7 points and 5.3 rebounds in 34 games last season at Marquette while being named Big East Freshman of the Week five times.
“What that does is that gives us some experience at that position,” Izzo said. “But if not, we're going to move on and find a way to fix it anyway.”
As for Hauser, he’s not spending too much time worrying about it, instead focusing on helping the Spartans get better, spending time on the scout team as well as some work in the rotation.
“I don't pay much attention to it,” Hauser said. “I don't know the reasons behind why guys get approved or not. I know what kind of are the things you’ve got to meet. I know a guy from Wisconsin just got his eligibility denied, so there's a lot of things that go into it and you never really know.
“I don’t get too excited about it because you can get your hopes up and then let down, so it’s just staying level-headed about it, not really trying to worry about it.”
Hauser said the idea of applying for the waiver was discussed when he was deciding what school he intended to transfer to, though there never seemed much doubt that was going to be Michigan State.
The Spartans were near the top of Hauser’s list coming out of high school in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, but he opted to head to Marquette where he played with his older brother, Sam. When they both decided to move on, Sam headed for Virginia and Joey for Michigan State.
“Things work out for a reason,” he said. “I'm glad I'm here. I think this is the right spot for me.”
Eligible immediately or not, Hauser thinks he brings value to the Spartans.
“I think just having experience,” Hauser said. “I played a lot of minutes at Marquette. Obviously, we didn't make a deep run in a tournament like (MSU) did, but I think having that experience definitely helps. I’m kind of teaching some of the freshmen about the ups and downs of the season and how to prepare for the season, how to get your body ready for the season.”
So far, Hauser is happy with his choice to come to Michigan State.
“It's a lot different than Marquette, a bigger campus for sure,” he said. “I like going to football games, but I like this kind of college atmosphere. Obviously, the culture here is different, but I love everything about Coach Izzo and what I've seen so far. It's been really good.”
Hungry for success
Marcus Bingham admits he’s sick of eating peanut butter and jelly. Other than that, the 6-11 sophomore has adapted fine to stuffing his face on a regular basis, working to go from roughly 190 pounds when he arrived on campus last season to almost 225 now.
It’s come thanks to a rigorous workout regimen and a pattern of eating that is stunning.
“I wake up, eat breakfast and then eat again after our workout or something,” Bingham said. “Then I’ll have a snack, like a big snack bag. I’ll go pack a snack bag or something like that then go to class and then come back for lunch. I’ll eat lunch and then pack a whole snack bag from there. Then we’ll practice and have a meal, I’ll get a to-go box, take that to the crib, then go to Brody (Hall), eat at Brody and come back. Then at like midnight I’ll eat the to-go box and I'll be cool.”
As roommate Aaron Henry said laughing, “It’s like midnight comes twice for him.”
It’s all been in an effort to get Bingham ready to play regular minutes in the post, something he’ll be counted on to do this year for the Spartans.
“He did exactly what we asked him to do this summer,” Izzo said. “Hopefully we can keep him at the 220 to 225, which is a good 25 pounds from where he was. … In my mind he has got 20 pounds to go, but he's really rebounded the ball better, which is a surprise. He's taking contact better, and he's made some progress. So I'm excited for him.”
Michigan State hasn’t often played full-court press, typically only employing it when behind late in games. But Izzo said it’s more of a possibility this season depending on how his guard rotation plays out.
“It is a potential, it just depends on what guards I use,” Izzo said. “I feel very good about where Josh (Langford) is, but, again, it's been three weeks (since he’s practiced full-go), and we've had a lot of days off, meaning we haven't gone four, five days in a row like you're going to have to do during the season or in a tournament in Hawaii or something.
“So some will depend on that. Some will depend on is (Cassius Winston) being able to do some of those things, and are we going to be able to rest him enough? I like my chances of that too. So that's in the game plan.”