CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — When Virginia won the NCAA tournament in 2019, it sparked Sam Hauser’s own championship dreams.
“Coming off the national title, you could see where this program can take you,” Hauser said.
Lucky for him, the Cavaliers already knew who Hauser was.
“”I was recruited by UVA out of high school so I think during the transfer process, there was already a relationship kinda there,” Hauser said. “And I think it just sparked back up from where it was.”
The college basketball season is still weeks away with a scheduled start date of November 25. And when UVA takes the court, it’s expected to get a boost from the high-profile transfer out of Marquette.
Born in Green Bay and raised in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, Hauser was well aware of the connections between Virginia’s head coach Tony Bennett and the Badger State. A Wisconsin-native himself, Bennett was also a product of Stevens Point Area High School (SPASH) before playing for his dad, Dick, at UW-Green Bay. The father-son duo also worked together on the Wisconsin Badgers staff.
“Obviously the Bennett name is pretty profound in the state of Wisconsin from what they’ve done and respectably so,” Hauser said. “I’m really glad about my decision to go to UVA.”
Hauser averaged 14.9 points and 7.2 rebounds a game in his junior season at Marquette, shooting 40. 2 percent from beyond the arc. Because of NCAA transfer rules, he sat out last season and focused on his game in practice.
“This year was great for me and the team,” Hauser said. “I think I got a lot better throughout the year redshirting and it was really good to just have a year to get a feel for the system and what it’s like at Virginia compared to where I came from.”
Hauser’s now former UVA teammates already have high expectations for him.
“I think he has the capability of being an All-American,” former Virginia guard Braxton Key said. “Some days he wouldn’t miss and it’s great defense just better offense and I think next year, he’ll have a big role in his leadership. The team will go as far as he wants them to go.”
Former Virginia forward Mamadi Diakite echoed those predictions.
“I think he’s going to surprise a lot of people,” Diakite said. “I’m going for ACC Player of the Year next year.”
With just one season of eligibility at Virginia, Hauser looks to make the most of his short time with the defending national champions.