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Joey Hauser: 'Love' of Tom Izzo, State led to transfer

DIMONDALE – Before, during and after Tuesday night's Moneyball Pro-Am action, Joey Hauser was besieged with selfie, photo and autographs requests from the fans in attendance. As Michigan State's newest player, that's the kind of attention the Marquette transfer is going to receive for an extended period of time. The Spartans officially landed Hauser on May 28, when he announced on Twitter he'd be coming to East Lansing. Tuesday night at Aim High was the first time fans got to see Hauser on the court as a representative of the MSU basketball program. The biggest reason the Spartans landed Hauser: Tom Izzo, a connection forged during Hauser's high school days in Wisconsin during the initial recruiting process. "He's someone I really have a lot of respect for and look up to," Hauser said. "Great team, great program, tradition of winning, so that's something I want to be a part of. "He challenges you every day, makes you work. He's going to find the little things you need to get better at, and I really love that about him." Before meeting with reporters after his team's game Tuesday night, he was asked to pose for a group photo with about 15 MSU fans. "I know none of those people," Hauser said with a chuckle. "They know me." That's just one example of how quickly life has changed for Hauser since he and his brother, Sam, entered the transfer portal in mid-April. Hauser arrived in East Lansing late at night on Saturday, July 6, and has been with the team for less than two weeks while also being enrolled in summer courses. But that time has been filled with two to three workouts per day, on top of classes. It didn't take long for Hauser to make an impression on MSU junior Xavier Tillman. "He plays hard. You can't get that a lot out of new guys coming in. They don't really know their spots, so they kind of chill," Tillman said. "He's aggressive with the ball and he's really skillful, especially with his jump shot. It's really nice. "He's kind of already one of those Michigan State players, he just hasn't been playing with Michigan State. If you ever see him at practice, how hard he plays, how he communicates, how he gets the other guys going, sophomore, juniors or seniors, you'll see. He's already kind of ready and in the system for us." Michigan State will be one of the favorites to win the 2020 national championship, but Hauser won't be playing. He has to sit out, per NCAA transfer rules. Hauser said Tuesday that he didn't apply for a transfer waiver to try to play this upcoming season. The Stevens Point, Wisconsin, native made an immediate impact at Marquette this past season, starting in 31 of 34 games as a redshirt freshman. Hauser averaged 9.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists per contest. Hauser, as he's done for the past three months, declined to comment Tuesday on exactly why he decided to leave Steve Wojciechowski's program. But MSU, who was the runner-up for Hauser while recruiting him in high school, was always on his mind. Hauser said his family remained in contact with Izzo, even when Hauser was still at Marquette. "They really recruited me hard. He really wanted me to be a Michigan State Spartan," Hauser said of Izzo. "He thought he could help me as a player and a person, more importantly. I just feel like I really mesh together well with the guys. I love everybody that's in the program." College programs came calling quickly after Hauser put his name in the transfer portal. Hauser said he heard from 10-15 teams within 20 minutes of his name showing up on the list. When the Hauser brothers announced they'd be transferring from Marquette, they were initially expected to be a package deal. But that fell apart, as Sam wanted to play for Tony Bennett and national champion Virginia. With that decision made, Hauser said he was able to follow his heart and head to East Lansing without any doubts. "Ultimately, I think we're both pretty happy where we're at," Hauser said. "Obviously, we wanted to play together, but we liked different schools. We're not going to drag one or the other to the other school. "He just kind of pulled the trigger and I knew immediately where I wanted to go." Contact digital sports reporter Phil Friend at 517-377-1220 or pfriend@lsj.com. Follow him on Twitter @Phil_Friend .