In the months leading up to the 2020-’21 college basketball season, BTPowerhouse will be releasing a new series called the ‘BTPowerhouse 25,’ which features the Top 25 players in the Big Ten as voted by members of the staff. All players set to be on Big Ten rosters for next season were eligible during the staff vote with their top selection receiving 25 points and their 25th and final selection receiving 1 point.
Today’s edition will take a brief look at Joey Hauser of the Michigan State Spartans, who landed at No. 14 in our preseason player rankings. The Spartans enter this season trying to replace their two leading scorers from last season. Finally having former four star transfer Hauser eligible might be a key cog in solving that problem.
‘BTPowerhouse 25’ - No. 14 Joey Hauser:
- Eligibility: Junior
- Career Totals: 34 games, 992 minutes, 329 points, 180 rebounds, 82 assists
- 2018-’19 Averages: 29.2 min, 9.7 pts, 5.3 rebs, 2.4 asts, 0.1 blks, 0.4 stls
- Positional Role: Forward
Michigan State had an up and down 2019-’20 season. The Spartans obviously ended it successfully with their third straight share of a Big Ten Conference Title, but it was not a sure thing down the stretch. That was thanks to instances such as a blowout loss early in the conference season at Purdue, and a three-game losing streak that came during a stretch including losing five out of eight total.
Part of those issues early in conference play were certainly related to a lack of reliable scoring production from other players any given night after Cassius Winston and Xavier Tillman. Hauser will be someone the Spartans hope can contribute to preventing that this season.
Hauser quickly earned a starting role in his first season with the Marquette Golden Eagles. He earned Big East Freshman of the Week honors five times that season, in fact. His three point shooting is a great reason why. Hauser shot 42.5 percent from behind the arc. Coach Izzo told press last year he was the best three point shooter behind Winston. Hauser is a dangerous power forward who can stretch the defense, and has potential to play at center if needed or desiring a small ball lineup.
Hauser also has a knack as a big who can distribute the ball from the high post. Coach Izzo has heaped praise on his ability to feed his teammates the ball, saying: “He‘s not only a good passer, he‘s a phenomenal passer.” So his knack at seeing the floor and feeding the ball to the open teammate is another skill to complement his shooting.
-Areas for Improvement
Frankly, a big factor in this section is the fact that Hauser has not actually completed more than one full season in the last three. So there is certainly a “rust” factor in determining his areas for improvement.
One of the other factors discussed during his season sitting out last year was his goal of increasing versatility on defense. Hauser mentioned he was playing against a host of other players position wise last season, so he could improve his defensive skill set no matter the assignment. To have the versatile player the Spartans are hoping for with Hauser, it will certainly be important he have improved that skill last season in practices.
Finally, both his volume and two-point shooting will be a question. While Hauser shot excellent from deep, his 46.6 percent shooting from inside the arc is in need of improvement. His attempts were not that high, either. Hauser was only shooting 3.9 attempts per game inside the three point range. Compared to his 3.1 attempts from deep, he was neither shooting high volume, nor lighting up the scoreboard from inside the arc compared to competition. Hopefully, he has taken the extra time to improve accuracy from closer in.
Hauser is expected to start for the Spartans. While they are deep at a lot of positions, Big Ten fans should get ready to see a lot of floor time for Hauser. His versatility and ability to stretch the floor on offense will be vital for the Spartans as they look to replace a lot of lost production from Tillman and Winston.
If Hauser has the type of break out year many Spartans are expecting of him, he may be a one season wonder in East Lansing and leave for the NBA Draft after this season based on the preseason hype. Either way, Hauser is likely to earn Big Ten honors at the end of the season in a few months.
‘BTPowerhouse 25’ Rankings:
- #27-28 - Players That Just Missed The Cut
- #25 - Adam Miller (Illinois)
- #25 - Miller Kopp (Northwestern)
- #22 - Ron Harper (Rutgers)
- #22 - Eric Hunter (Purdue)
- #22 - CJ Fredrick (Iowa)
- #21 - Rob Phinisee (Indiana)
- #20 - Khristian Lander (Indiana)
- #19 - Seth Towns (Ohio State)
- #17 - Nate Reuvers (Wisconsin)
- #17 - Mark “Rocket” Watts (Michigan State)
- #16 - Micah Potter (Wisconsin)
- #15 - Marcus Carr (Minnesota)
- #14 - Joey Hauser (Michigan State)
- #13 - To be continued . . .