MU-UW foes have life­long bond

Hausers, An­der­son spent much of youth to­gether

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - Sports - Ben Steele

Sam Hauser and Trevor An­der­son have a rare friend­ship.

It’s a bond that tran­scends even the state’s big­gest col­lege bas­ket­ball ri­valry now that Hauser is a star ju­nior for­ward at Mar­quette and An­der­son is at Wis­con­sin.

An­der­son won’t play for UW (8-1) against MU (7-2) in the an­nual matchup at 4 p.m. Satur­day at Fis­erv Fo­rum. The red­shirt sopho­more guard, who sat out last sea­son af­ter trans­fer­ring from UWGreen Bay, will miss the rest of the sea­son af­ter ag­gra­vat­ing a knee in­jury on Nov. 30.

“It’s un­for­tu­nate for him,” Hauser said. “He was start­ing to find his groove with their team. It sucks to see him side­lined again and sit out an­other year, ob­vi­ously.

“We’ve been talk­ing about this game ever since he’s been at Wis­con­sin.”

An­der­son’s in­jury will spare the friends the awk­ward­ness of suit­ing up

against each other, at least un­til next sea­son.

“We talked about that,” Hauser said. “If we were guard­ing each other, we might break out in a laugh.”

Their jour­ney to op­po­site sides of the ri­valry is pretty fas­ci­nat­ing.

They were born in the same hos­pi­tal in Green Bay. They lived a block away from each other while Sam’s dad coached bas­ket­ball at West DePere and Trevor’s fa­ther was do­ing the same at Green Bay West.

“There’s a pic­ture of me and Sam in a kid­die pool,” An­der­son said with a laugh. “I’m look­ing up at him. He was al­ways taller than me.”

Their paths di­verged for a brief time. The An­der­sons moved to Neenah while the Hausers bounced to Win­neconne and then New Lon­don.

The fam­i­lies then con­verged in Stevens Point around the same time. And from fourth grade on, An­der­son and Hauser were al­ways on the same school and travel teams save for a youth foot­ball league that op­er­ated with a draft.

Bas­ket­ball was al­ways a strong pas­sion.

“(Sam) was skinny,” An­der­son said. “But he was al­ways long and tall and al­ways had a dead-eye, knock­down shot.”

The com­pet­i­tive­ness ex­tended be­yond or­ga­nized sports. Nerf bas­ket­ball games in An­der­son’s liv­ing room are re­called with rev­er­ence. A tram­po­line in the Hausers’ back­yard was the set­ting for many heated foot­ball games of “tackle the car­rier.”

“We’d al­ways play ‘21’ on our hoop in the drive­way,” Hauser said. “We’d lower it to like 7 feet so we could all dunk. It was fun.”

Hauser is known at MU for a cool de­meanor that be­lies a fierce com­pet­i­tive­ness. But surely his old­est friend has got­ten Hauser to snap.

“There’s times when it would get a lit­tle chippy, mouthy,” An­der­son said. “He’s pretty calm. I think if he was a lit­tle more like me there would have been some big-time bat­tles there.”

Sam’s younger brother, Joey, was al­ways in on the ac­tion as well. He wasn’t the tag-along lit­tle brother. They were all friends. It helped that Joey was al­ways much big­ger than the kids his own age.

“You’d have to step back and say, ‘Wow, this kid is two years younger than us,’ “An­der­son said. “He’s just an­other one of the guys. Any­time we’d go over to a friend’s house, he was al­ways there.

“He was al­ways in­cluded in ev­ery­thing. He was al­ways one of us.”

Joey Hauser kept get­ting big­ger and is an im­pres­sive fresh­man in MU’s start­ing lineup along­side his older brother. He still has a scar on his arm from a skate­board crash while An­der­son was pulling him on his bike with a rope when they were younger.

By the time the trio was to­gether at Stevens Point Area Se­nior High School, the stage was set for ath­letic suc­cess.

An­der­son’s dad, Scott, was the bas­ket­ball coach and the Hausers’ fa­ther, Dave, was an as­sis­tant. Dur­ing the two sea­sons that the three sons played to­gether, they won back-to-back state cham­pi­onships.

The 2015-’16 team with An­der­son and Sam Hauser as se­niors went 28-0 and was never se­ri­ously chal­lenged en route to the WIAA Divi­sion 1 ti­tle. That Pan­thers squad is ar­guably the great­est high school team in state his­tory.

“I think our se­nior year, I av­er­aged 12 shots a game, (Sam) av­er­aged 11.5 and Joey av­er­aged 11,” An­der­son said. “We knew how to play bas­ket­ball. I think our dads are a big rea­son into that, in­still­ing that at a young age.”

An­der­son and the Hauser broth­ers were so good that UW-Stevens Point play­ers were brought in for prac­tices.

“That was part of our suc­cess,” An­der­son said. “We were con­stantly go­ing against high-level com­pe­ti­tion in­stead of smack­ing the scout team around.”

Now the life­long friends are com­pet­ing at ri­val NCAA Divi­sion I schools. They keep in touch through a group text chain and Snapchat and they work out to­gether ev­ery day in Stevens Point dur­ing the sum­mer.

An­der­son and Sam Hauser ex­changed smiles and winks be­fore last sea­son’s matchup at the Kohl Cen­ter in Madi­son, and they hung out a bit be­fore the game. Both play­ers don’t ex­pect to do much chirp­ing dur­ing this year’s game with An­der­son sit­ting out.

“Now you add Joey into the mix,” An­der­son said. “He’s a lit­tle goofier. Maybe he’ll have some­thing to say.”

The friends stay above the emo­tions that the ri­valry can en­gen­der in fans.

“You kind of get used to it, like, ‘Oh, if you go to Mar­quette you don’t like Wis­con­sin.’ “Sam Hauser said. “Which is fine. I have a great friend on there, but you can say what­ever you want. I have my own opin­ions.

“They can say what­ever they want about him, but I’m ob­vi­ously go­ing to back him up no mat­ter what.”

He’s also able to step back and see how unique the friend­ship is.

“Mov­ing to dif­fer­ent cities and then end­ing up to­gether is kind of weird,” he said. “And then ob­vi­ously hav­ing the suc­cess we did, in all sports and life.

“To see us where we’re at, it’s pretty crazy.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.