East Lansing — Joey Hauser’s first shot at being allowed to play this season has been denied, but that doesn’t mean Michigan State has given up on its effort to get the 6-foot-9 forward on the court for the upcoming season.
In the off-season, Hauser transferred to Michigan State from Marquette and initially planned to sit out the season as most transfers do. But soon after arriving on campus, the process began to secure a waiver that would allow Hauser to play this season.
Coach Tom Izzo has consistently said he wasn’t optimistic, and on Tuesday he said the waiver had been denied but that Michigan State was appealing while continuing to gather information.
“We got one back and we resubmitted,” Izzo said. “We're resubmitting and we're trying to get more and more information. We're trying to gather more and more information because there's been three, four more (waivers) that just came out and so we're kind of constantly gathering (information).”
Hauser was at Marquette for two seasons, enrolling in the spring of 2018 but sitting out as a redshirt. Last season, he started 31 of 34 games while averaging 9.7 points and 5.3 rebounds in 29.2 minutes a game. At the end of the season, Hauser and his brother, Sam, decided to transfer. Sam Hauser transferred to defending national champion Virginia and will sit out this season with one season left while Joey Hauser opted to head to Michigan State.
Joey Hauser is a sophomore and would likely have three seasons of eligibility remaining and the Spartans aren’t giving up hope that eligibility begins in two weeks when No. 1 Michigan State opens the season against No. 2 Kentucky in the Champions Classic Nov. 5 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
“We’ve been told that every (case) is different and so you can't compare one to the other,” Izzo said. “So you try to find as many that are comparable to this situation.”
With his status up in the air, Hauser did not travel with the team last Saturday when it scrimmaged Gonzaga in Denver. Whether that status changes, remains to be seen, and for now, there’s no firm timetable.
Still, the Spartans are doing everything they can.
“Joey did not make the trip (to Denver) because you're not allowed to make the trip if you are a transfer that does not have a waiver,” Izzo said. “So he did not play and did not make the trip but it'll be (resolved) soon. It’s been rejected once and it's common to re-appeal and we have re-appealed.”
Just hours after finding out it was the No. 1 team in the nation, Michigan State learned on Monday night it would be without senior guard Joshua Langford until at least January.
While that is a significant blow, the fact one of his backups, fifth-year senior Kyle Ahrens sprained his ankle on Saturday, is noteworthy as well. Ahrens has battled injuries his entire career and suffered a Grade 3 sprain of his ankle in last season’s Big Ten tournament championship game, forcing him to sit out the NCAA Tournament.
Izzo said Ahrens should be back by next week. Still, any issue with Ahrens and his ankle are worrisome with the Spartans already dealing with Langford’s injury.
… Izzo said freshman guard Rocket Watts wasn’t expected to play Saturday because of an Achilles strain but did participate and was back at practice on Monday afternoon.