CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia men’s basketball team will have to replace a couple of starters in the lineup next year, with Mamadi Diakite and Braxton Key graduating, and heading off to the professional ranks.
Sam Hauser is expected to claim one of those spots.
He had to sit out this season, after transferring from Marquette, but it’s fair to say his teammates have high expectations for next year.
“He’s going to do really well,” says junior forward Jay Huff.
Senior forward Mamadi Diakite says, “I’m going for ACC Player of the Year.”
“He has the capability of being an All-American,” adds senior forward Braxton Key.
Sam Hauser is a 6-foot-8 senior forward, who averaged 14.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game in his junior season at Marquette.
“I think I’m labeled as a shooter," says Hauser. "I can shoot the ball pretty well. I use that to my advantage. I have a pretty good mid-post game. On the defensive end, I hold my own. I do what I’m told. I’m gonna play hard. I like to rebound, but I just try to make the winning plays when it matters.”
The last time UVA fans saw Hauser in uniform was at the Blue-White scrimmage in October, but he was making an impact every day in practice for the 'Hoos.
“He can score the ball really well,” says Key. “He’s another guy who gave me and Mamadi fits in practices. Some days he just wouldn’t miss. Great defense, it was just better offense.”
Diakite says, "Sam is a force. He’s an offensive force. He’s very skilled. I don’t think you want to give him space. He prepared us for every game, against (Jordan) Nwora, (Anthony) Lamb, he was unbelievable.”
“I think that means I was doing my job well on the scout team," says Hauser. "Obviously, I drew those two a lot in the match-up’s, so I was able to compete again them pretty much on a daily basis.”
Huff says, “The dude can flat out shoot. He hardly ever misses in practice, and it’s really annoying. Luckily I rarely guard him. When he’s playing against us, it’s annoying. When he’s playing on my team in the scrimmage it’s great.”
Hauser shot over 40-percent from three-point range in his junior season at Marquette, and Jay Huff is looking forward to seeing that skill in the games, not just practice.
“Our games can compliment each other," says Huff, "because we both space the floor pretty well, and if I ever get it in the post and get doubled, he’s a great guy to be able to kick it out to, because most of the time, you expect him to make it.”
Sam Hauser has started 97-games so far in his college career.