Coach Steve Wojciechowski has continued to recruit well in the state of Wisconsin, nabbing the 2015-16 Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year in Sam Hauser of Steven’s Point. Hauser comes to Marquette after turning down offers from the University of Virginia, Creighton, and Iowa State, just to name a few.
The long, athletic wing lit up America’s Dairyland to the tune of 18.2 points, 9.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.1 blocks per game during his senior season. He was named the number 1 recruit in the state of Wisconsin by 247Sports and the 83rd-best recruit in the nation for the Class of 2016 by the same service. He shot 44% from the 3-point line, but stands at 6’7”, so he adds himself to the long guard revolution currently happening both at Marquette and on the Milwaukee Bucks.
He’s been described by numerous news outlets as a player that can create his own shot, whether he is creating space for a jumper or driving and finishing in the lane. His size and speed creates mismatches on either the guards that have to contend with him inside or the big men that have to chase him around the perimeter.
The real question is where he fits in as a freshman contributor. Marquette has long, athletic wings that play both faster and stronger that their respective size and speeds, with players like JaJuan Johnson, Sandy Cohen, Haanif Cheatham, Sacar Anim, and Katin Reinhardt on the roster for this coming season. Furthermore, Marquette boasts shooters in Reinhardt, Cohen, Cheatham, freshman Markus Howard, and transfer Andrew Rowsey already.
Marquette will need Hauser, however. With only two true big men on the roster this season in Luke Fischer and Matt Heldt, the Golden Eagles will more than likely look to run four guard/wing sets. Even though Hauser doesn’t project to be in the starting lineup, being able to go 10 deep at the four guard and wing spots will be invaluable to rest players such as Johnson and Cheatham, who seem primed for the best seasons of their Marquette careers. Sandy Cohen has also seemed to fall out of favor the past season, being suspended one game and not featuring highly in any single game during the Big East season.
Hauser has a very similar skill set to Cohen, minus perhaps Cohen’s pure athleticism and ability to defend the perimeter, but Hauser and Cohen may be in contention with one another for a backup role at the 3- or 4-spot for Marquette.
I foresee this as a year of growth for Hauser. He’ll be playing behind a plethora of NCAA experienced wings in Reinhardt, Johnson, and Cheatham, and having competition for a backup role with Cohen will push him both on and off the court to prove to the staff that he deserves floor time. Wojo doesn’t lose any skill set by subbing out Reinhardt for him or Cohen, and that should translate into valuable minutes in big games for Hauser. With his ability to stretch the floor and create shots, my optimistic prediction for him is a year of being a solid back-up, with future starter minutes coming his way in the next year or two under Wojciechowski.