Virginia picked up a commitment on Tuesday afternoon from Marquette transfer forward Sam Hauser. He visited a couple weeks ago with his brother Joey, also transferring from Marquette, and we previewed this visit here at Hoos Place on the scholarship implications of recruiting the two (link). Joey ultimately selected Michigan State, surprising some who didn't foresee the brothers splitting up (us included at one point).
Sam chose Virginia over fellow finalists Wisconsin and Michigan State.
So what is Virginia getting from the Sit-1-Play-1 forward? A second-team all-Big East veteran who scored 14.9 ppg and grabbed 7.2 rpg, that's who. Sam spent 3 years under Wojo at Marquette and has been remarkably consistent throughout his career. He's a career 45% 3-Point shooter and 52% from 2, so he's dangerous inside and out. He prefers to shoot the long ball, about 58% of his shots came from behind the arc last year, but he's not averse to getting into the lane. His ORtg on KenPom last season was 123.7, which was far and away the best on 5-seed Marquette. Against Tier A teams, his offensive rating jumped to 131.8, so he just got better against better competition. He won't draw a ton of fouls but when he does, made free throws at a 92% clip last season.
At 6'8" and 225 lbs, he's big enough to play the 4-spot and often does, logging about 16 minutes a game there for the Golden Eagles down the stretch last season. But for a guy his size, he's impressively mobile with a good handle, and over that same stretch played 20 minutes a game at the 3 last year as well. The handle has been good enough for Sam to have logged a career 2.2-0.8 A:TO ratio; fantastic for a forward.
Wait, 16 mpg at the 4 and 20 mpg at the 3 over Marquette's closing stretch? That's right, he's an iron man who logged that incredible efficiency while playing over 33 mpg night in and night out in one of the nation's top conferences. He played in 101 games over his 3 seasons in Milwaukee, starting 96 of them.
He also used his size well to control the defensive glass. His DR% last seaon was an elite 19.5% (6th best in the Big East), and has been that good throughout his career, finishing 8th in the conference as a sophomore and 11th as a freshman. Only Braxton Key D-rebounded better than that for the Hoos this past season.
SynergySportsTech.com also rates him as an elite man defender. He gave up just 0.69 points per possession on the season last year which put him in the 92nd percentile in all of D-1. He's not much of a shot blocker, just about 1 every other game over his career, but instead gets it done with excellent positioning, using his size to challenge shots, while committing only 2.1 fouls a game (again in well over 30 minutes a game)... he ranked 2nd in Big East play last season in fewest Fouls Called per 40.
We'll only have him for one season of eligibility, but there's no reason not to hope for him to be a nightmare for the rest of the ACC for that one year.
He'll redshirt the upcoming season (no he's not going to get an immediate-eligibility waiver, so don't ask), so he has minimal impact on the 2019-20 roster. Because Joey went elsewhere, there's still a free scholarship for Tony to use on a grad transfer or 2019 freshman to round out his backcourt if an opportunity presents itself.
The season to look at is the 2020-21 season:
There's a lot to like here.
Sam probably slots right into the starting 4 spot, with a projected starting backcourt of Clark, Morsell, and Woldetensae, and one of Huff/Caffaro/Shedrick at the 5. Plenty of youth in reserve: sharpshooting freshman Carson McCorkle, rising sophomore forward Justin McKoy, and potentially additional class-of-2020 recruits along with the developmental international pair of Stattmann and Badocchi possibly breaking out.
That lineup has experience, it has toughness and size, it has shooting. There's no reason to expect it won't be among the top tier of the ACC that year if everything goes well.
The experience factor is important. We'll be losing Key next offseason, Jay Huff may do enough to earn himself a shot at the pros with an increased role this year (and if he doesn't, he'll likely be grad-transfer eligible), and there's always the potential for additional attrition. On the other end, we'll have a number of underclassmen with Caffaro only a year removed from his redshirt, three members of the 2019 class stepping into bigger roles, and the 2020s arriving wet behind the ears. A month ago, it looked as if 2020-21 was going to be a growth year where we went near all-in on a youth movement of 2019 and 2020 recruits. But Tony secured the transfers of Woldetensae and now Hauser to ensure that there will be a couple seniors in the starting lineup to provide a veteran presence to an otherwise talented but young roster. They not only bolster our prospects as an ACC and a national contender that season, but also bridge the program through to the future generation.
Assuming no last minute additions to the 2019 class this summer, the recruiting impacts of Hauser's addition are felt in the 2020 class (we mentioned above that we don't foresee it having any effect on remaining 2019 recruiting).
Hauser's presence on the 2020-21 depth chart puts UVA at up to 11 scholarship players for that season. With the NCAA limit at 13, that leaves just two open scholarships for Tony to recruit with unless he's willing to over-recruit, meaning he'd be betting on attrition to occur from those 11 by next summer.
A couple months ago, we projected UVA was looking to take as many as four 2020 recruits. In addition to the already-committed sharp shooting guard Carson McCorkle, Virginia was also recruiting pure point guards, big downhill-oriented guard/wings, and also a forward/big.
Tony may now have to do some prioritization, with the only position now feeling like a safe bet being point guard, and even then a couple of the priority targets like Carter Whitt and Cam Hayes are just as likely to matriculate in 2021 as they are in 2020 (the other priority target, Reece Beekman, is definitely a 2020). Otherwise Tony will be looking for someone on the wing, which could end up with either more of a guard flavor (Keon Johnson is announcing in August, Jabri Abdul-Rahim also recently entered the mix) or a forward (Richmond native Henry Coleman still the name to focus on). It may come down to who commits first. Other priorities may shift out to next summer, either as late-cycle 2020 adds or ultimately pushed into the 2021 class.
At the end of the day, this continues an encouraging trend of UVA recruiting. Going back to last April, UVA has received commitments from 4-star recruits Casey Morsell, Francisco Caffaro, and Kadin Shedrick, from 3-stars with a 4-star-quality offer list in Carson McCorkle and Justin McKoy, from a highly sought after Junior College All-American with Tomas Woldetensae, and now a pair of former 4-star transfers in Braxton Key and Sam Hauser. That's 8 straight gets with ACC pedigrees and more potentially on deck this summer. Sam is just the latest in what's a strong 14-month run in recruiting for Coach Bennett.