A full day of action was in play at the Spiece Run n Slam on Saturday as various shoe sponsored company programs went at in pool action before bracket play kicked off to end the night. The younger classes throughout the Midwest look promising, to say the least, but no one stole the night better or improved their national standing more than Joey Hauser.
JOEY HAUSER HAS THE GOODS
The Iowa Barnstormers have become known for being a well-coached and disciplined bunch over the years. Regardless of who they throw out onto the floor, the Iowa bunch is sure to max out their potential and in doing so, rack up volumes of wins along the way. In recent years, the talent has become better and better and on the 16-under squad, Joey Hauser and Joe Wieskamp, two top-75 guys within the 2018 class, are able to beat you not only through their zigging and zagging, but also via their super polished skillsets.
Where Weiskamp, who is already committed to Iowa, is a 6-foot-5 guard-wing type that can play various spots in the backcourt, Hauser is the super skilled and heady scoring forward that can play various spots in the frontcourt. His brother, Sam Hauser, is headed to Marquette in the fall, yet the younger sibling is already showing off the goods to be a national level recruit within the sophomore ranks.
On Saturday evening, Hauser started out the game with a wrapping off-handed hook, following by a jump-stop and converted righty hook. As the game wore on and the Barnstormers’ lead grew further, the 6-foot-7 forward kept the foot on the pedal as he hit on a jab, step-back 22-footer and then a two hard dribble take off of the 3-point line, before finishing with an up-fake and step-through from eight-feet out. What I am getting to here is just how skilled Hauser is for his age and just how good he can become.
A fine athlete with a great feel for the game, athleticism to boot, and quality levels of toughness, programs are beginning to pursue the Wisconsin native more firmly. “Right now I have five offers from Iowa, Wisconsin, Marquette, Bradley, and Iowa State,” the Stevens Point star said. “I am also getting interest from Arizona, Baylor, Nebraska, Ohio State, and Virginia.”
While a visit could be in the works to Wisconsin in the coming weeks and Marquette has an inside track with his older brother in tow, look for Hauser, who was the best prospect we saw all day long, to step immediately into the national spotlight this summer as his teams rack up the Ws on the travel circuit.
STEVEN FITZGERALD IS MR. BUCKETS
Word was beginning to leak out about Steven Fitzgerald. A good size and strong bodied shooting guard with the Louisville Magic had been known for his scoring sprees in the past but it wasn’t until that we heard about his 42-point outburst earlier in the day that we had to go check out the Kentucky native out.
While his went down in defeat to a talented King James 16-under bunch, very rarely do you see a kid in travel basketball get face-guarded during a pool play game. This was exactly the case for Fitzgerald, even though he still eclipsed 20-points on the scoreboard.
The 6-foot-4 guard is a giant sleeper out of the Bluegrass State but that shouldn’t be for too much longer. To say that he has a dagger stroke from deep would be a giant understatement but it is also his control of the basketball on the breakdown and the use of his body on up-fake and power-ups in traffic that impressed us the most. He can get his own shot off with the best of them and range and confidence on the attempt is never an issue.
On the recruiting front, things have been a bit laid back as his only offers at the moment have come from Samford, Tennessee Tech, and Southeast Missouri State. Upon greater eyes placed on him this summer, that should all change as Fitzgerald has the makings of a high-major guard with a penchant for scoring the basketball.
KESHAWN JUSTICE: THE FORGOTTEN MAN
Sure, I get it. What isn’t there to love about the duo that is Jordan McCabe and Tyler Herro? The Wisconsin Playground Warriors 16-under backcourt is one of the best nationally and is arguably the most entertaining within the same right. While the two guards get most of the pub and attention for the Badger State based program, Keshawn Justice has flown under the radar but it is his rapid improvements off of the ball and physical growth that has stood out through two days here in Fort Wayne.
Last year at this time, Justice was a 6-foot-4 small forward with okay ball skills and a shaky jumper. Move forward 12 months and it is a night and day improvement with the 6-foot-6 wing. Capable of play all three spots in the backcourt, Justice is comfortable having the ball in his hands as a jumbo play-maker on the perimeter, yet is confident enough in scoring off of spot-up, catch and shoot 3-point jumpers from deep.
While the only two schools to dish out an offer to the Warriors sophomore has been Green Bay and Milwaukee, suffice to say, a lot more should be rolling in within the nearby future. In the meantime, let’s not forget about the production and role acceptance of Justice as a guy that can guard different spots on the floor, make shots when he has to, win the 50-50 ball, yet also create for others on the drive to the basket.