Joey Hauser isn’t done yet.
After participating in Michigan State basketball’s senior day in March, the forward announced Wednesday he plans to return in 2022-23 for a third season with the Spartans.
“There have been challenges along the way, but getting to play a full season and have the experiences we did this past year helped me realize my decision to come to Michigan State was the right one for me,” Hauser said in a statement. “After talking with my family and to Coach Izzo and the staff, I’ve decided that I’m going to be back with my teammates on the court next year.
“We’ve got goals we want to achieve and I can’t wait for this season ahead.”
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The decision by Hauser, who transferred to MSU from Marquette before the 2019-20 season, comes a day after junior forward Julius Marble II entered the NCAA transfer portal and left the Spartans looking thin in the post going into the summer.
Hauser, has 6-foot-9, 230-pound power forward, averaged 7.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.2 turnovers in 22.2 minutes this winter. Hauser shot 44.6% overall and 40.8% on 3-point attempts, making 86.2% of his free throws. He equaled a career high with 27 points against Davidson in the first round of the NCAA tournament, matching his production against Wisconsin on Christmas Day 2020.
That game against the Badgers marked a turning point. After sitting out the 2019-20 season when the NCAA did not approve a waiver for immediate eligibility, Hauser got off to a strong start to his MSU career. In the pandemic-shortened following season,he was averaging a double-double into December, but scored in double figures just seven times and averaged 7.5 points over his final 20 games in his debut season.
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“The past two years have kind of been just a blur really,” Hauser said in South Carolina before the NCAA tournament opener last month. “Last year was tough playing with no fans, playing the First Four. So this experience that we’ve had down here and just coming out and playing in an environment like that, it’s memories right there for sure.”
While his defense proved an issue in 2020-21, Hauser showed dramatic improvement last season and finished with a team-leading plus-83 after posting a minus-55 the previous year.
“Doing my own thing at Michigan State, I think, has really helped me grow as a player and a person,” Hauser said in early March. “And I definitely wouldn’t trade it for anything. Coach Izzo has been in my corner the whole time, everyone on staff here and my teammates as well. I mean, it’s really been a dream come true.”
Hauser is using his COVID waiver year of eligibility after admitting he struggled to cope with the pandemic isolation in 2020-21. He also could petition the NCAA for an additional year beyond that after taking a half-year medical redshirt in 2017-18. Hauser enrolled at Marquette in January of his high school senior year after an injury ended his career at Stevens Point (Wis.).
“I never looked at Joey as a transfer because I always thought this was home for him,” Izzo said in early March, before Hauser participated in senior day. “And the saddest part for me and Joey is I think right now he’s in the best place he’s been in. It was crazy what he kind of went through early, leaving high school a little early and all that. But I look at Joey and I think he’s grown as much as anybody recently in the last three or four weeks, believe it or not. You say it’s never too late, it’s never too late.”
Hauser will join Malik Hall and Mady Sissoko as the returning post players after Marble’s announcement and Marcus Bingham Jr.’s decision to turn pro and bypass his extra COVID-waiver eligibility.
Contact Chris Solari: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @chrissolari. Read more on the Michigan State Spartans and sign up for our Spartans newsletter.