Joey Hauser knew that this offseason was going to be a big summer for his basketball career.
It started with a change to his approach, a decision he made in part because he’ll be the focal point for two-time defending WIAA division 1 state champion Stevens Point entering the fall. To face the best competition possible, Hauser joined the AAU Iowa Barnstormers to play in some loaded tournament fields. After doing do in Milwaukee, Dallas, Atlanta and Ft. Wayne, Ind., in the spring, the Barnstormers will play in highly touted events in South Carolina, Milwaukee and Las Vegas.
“It’s helped me realize what I need to get better at but put me in perspective that I can play at a high level of basketball,” Hauser told BadgerNation. “It gave me a lot of confidence in my game. I keep working at it every day.”
Hauser is a newly minted five-star prospect, a distinction he earned with a camp performances in St. Louis at the Nike Elite 100. According to Hauser, it was the first time he played at a “next level” type camp, so there was a slight adjustment needed to match the other player’s skill set. Once he did that, Hauser said he got into a groove.
“Coming from Northern Wisconsin, a lot of kids would probably be nervous with this much exposure,” Hauser said. “I felt that a little bit, but I was confident in my game. I knew what I could do and I could play at this level.”
“Being able to shoot the ball really well really helped me out,” Hauser added. “I was able to take advantage of mismatches, which is what I’ve been trying to work on. When I got a small guy on me, I’ve got to post him up. That really worked out for me well.”
Sitting on offers from Bradley, Iowa, Iowa State, Marquette, Virginia and Wisconsin, Hauser visited Marquette earlier this month, visited Michigan State last weekend and received phone calls from Creighton, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Stanford and many others on June 15 – the first day coaches could contact juniors.
Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard also made one of those phone calls, as the second-year head coach continues to emphasize to Hauser that he is the Badgers’ top target in 2018. Hauser visited Madison last month and will take an unofficial visit to the program next week.
“He just talked to me about how he loved my game and loves in-state recruits,” Hauser said. “Now that everything is figured out and who is going to be coaching there, that really helps me. If I want to go there, I know who is going to be coaching me.”
With his high school team losing two seniors to division 1 in-state schools, including his older brother to Marquette, Hauser hopes his month of July will help capitulate his game, and his confidence, into a high level.
“I really want to show coaches that being 6-8 I can handle the ball,” Hauser said. “The main thing I’ve been focused on lately is being a better defender when I’m guarding a small guy. Being able to get out and defend, get low and move side to side, versatility at my size, being able to shoot, handle the ball, post up and really mix it up will help my game.”