Markus Howard named Big East player of the year

Marquette guard Markus Howard has been named Big East player of the year. He led the conference in scoring and carried the Golden Eagles to second-place regular season finish.

Howard averaged 25 points per game and led the conference in three pointers made (112). He is also a finalist for the Wooden Award, given to the National Player of the Year.

He is the first MU player to win the award since Jae Crowder in the 2011-12 season. Howard praised his teammates after the announcement at Madison Square Garden.

Though it is an individual award, I’m just so grateful and fortunate that I have the teammates that I do. A lot of what I’m able to do wouldn’t be possible without them.

Marquette lands top 2018 target Joey Hauser over UW, MSU

MILWAUKEE — The rivalry between Wisconsin and Marquette grew stronger over the weekend after one of the nation’s top prospects, Joey Hauser (Stevens Point), announced his commitment to Marquette Sunday night.

Hauser is ranked as the No. 1 power forward in the state of Wisconsin and the No. 35 prospect nationwide, according to 247 Sports. He chooses Marquette over Wisconsin and Michigan State, who considered Hauser their top target. Wisconsin was even reported to be holding off on offering any other scholarships for 2018 until Hauser made his decision.

He also had offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Notre Dame, Purdue and Northwestern.

Hauser has asserted himself on the hardwood, helping the Panthers earn three consecutive Division 1 WIAA championships. He’ll have a family reunion of sorts with the Golden Eagles, teaming up his with brother Sam, a sophomore on Marquette’s roster.

Badgers going all-in on 2018 PF Joey Hauser

MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin men’s basketball team has just one commitment for the 2018 recruiting class, but doesn’t appear ready to even offer another scholarship until they know what four-star power forward Joey Hauser wants to do.

Wednesday marked the start of the July recruiting assessment period and all three of Hauser’s top suitors (Wisconsin, Marquette, Michigan State) have been in attendance of his AAU team’s games this week in South Carolina. Hauser led his Iowa Barnstormers with 27 points and eight rebounds in Friday’s second contest of the day.

Being that Hauser is from the Stevens Point area and won national championships on the Kohl Center floor, it would appear the recruiting battle would be Wisconsin’s to lose. But given that his older brother Sam chose to attend Marquette, 247 Sports is projecting a 71 percent chance that the younger Hauser spends his college career as a Golden Eagle.

In addition to the three teams mentioned, Hauser has offers from schools like Iowa, Duke, and Notre Dame. The latter could be a surprise contender, according to the following Tweet:

But in a recent article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Hauser has been having an internal struggle deciding which school will be the best fit. Author Jeff Potrykus spoke with Hauser’s high school coach, Scott Anderson, who said Hauser seemed poised to make a decision earlier this month, but a visit with his top three schools gave him second thoughts.

“He came back and it was more muddied, I guess is the best way to put it,” Anderson said in the article. “He felt [conflicted] again.”

The 6-8 power forward remains uncommitted, and with Anderson describing Hauser’s decision-making process as “fluid,” there’s no telling when a verbal commitment could be made. Wisconsin, Marquette, and Michigan State each consider Hauser to be their No. 1 target for the 2018 recruiting class.

Monroe leads Bucks past Pistons 102-89

MILWAUKEE — While Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was limited on offense, Greg Monroe picked up the slack in a 102-89 win over the Detroit Pistons Monday night.

Antetokounmpo was held to just eight points in 36 minutes of play, while Monroe came off the bench to provide a team-high 25 points, along with 13 rebounds. It was Milwaukee’s first win streak since Jan. 13 and the team’s second double-digit win since losing Jabari Parker to his second torn ACL to the same knee.

Michael Beasley supplemented Milwaukee’s offensive output with 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting, helping build the lead up to as many as 22 points.

”Those two guys crushed us. And then our offense was pathetic,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. ”It was just a miserable night all around.”

Defensively, Milwaukee made progress as well, holding an opponent under 100 points for the first time in 20 games.

Pistons rookie Henry Ellenson was inactive in his first return to Milwaukee since being drafted out of Marquette. He was the No. 18 overall selection by Detroit last summer.

A year later, the Badgers know who they are as they face Marquette

MADISON | A year ago at this time, the Wisconsin basketball team was struggling. Like, really struggling. Having to replace five members from back-to-back Final Four teams will do that. Add in the uncertainty around coach Bo Ryan’s status, and the losses to Western Illinois, Georgetown and UW-Milwaukee begin to make sense. By the time they met Marquette in Madison on Dec. 12, the Badgers had already suffered as many losses (4) as they had the entire season before.

“We were pretty disorganized,” senior Bronson Koenig said of what the team was like at this time last year. “We didn’t really have an identity at that time. It was early. We held the ball a lot. We did a lot of one-on-one. We didn’t move the ball.”

And that resulted in a 57-55 loss to the Golden Eagles at the Kohl Center. Afterwards, Marquette’s freshman star Henry Ellenson said they came to town looking to show everyone that they were the best team in the state, and that’s what they did. It was hard to argue with him at the time. With the Badgers running an offense designed for talent they didn’t have, lacking leadership in the locker room and guys getting frustrated by a lack of playing time, things were bad.

“We thought we were getting it back on track,” guard Zak Showalter said of a win at Syracuse that preceded the back-to-back losses to Milwaukee and Marquette. “(But) we were still clearly struggling. Still took a while to get the ship righted.”

Three days after the Marquette game, and following a win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Ryan stepped down as coach, making his long-time assistant Greg Gard the interim coach. Gard implemented several strategies to turn things around, most notably going back to the “Swing” offense that Ryan had made famous, expanding the rotation and pushing for the experienced players to become leaders in the locker room and on the floor.

There were signs of progress but things didn’t hit rock bottom until a loss at Northwestern dropped them to 1-4 in Big Ten play. A frustrated Nigel Hayes lit into the team, which allowed everyone to get whatever they were thinking off their chest. It was a turning point in a season that would see Wisconsin win 11 of their next 12 games and make the NCAA tournament for an 18th straight season.

Now, just two days shy of a year since the last time the Badgers and Golden Eagles faced off, they meet again, this time in Milwaukee. And while many of the names are the same on Wisconsin’s roster, the team is much different. The 17th ranked Badgers know who they are and have an identity that mirrors some of the better teams that Ryan had in his 15 years as coach. They aren’t a finished product, but they’ve shown in the last four games — where they won by an average of 29 points — that they understand how they have to play to be successful.

Certainly, Marquette (7-2) will provide a stiff challenge. The game always seems to be close and this Golden Eagles team has plenty of weapons offensively. But it’s also an opportunity for Wisconsin to show how far they’ve come and make a statement.

“You want to have that pride of being the best team in the state,” Showalter said. “I think last year, obviously, we slipped (on) a couple in-state games, and we don’t want that to happen this year.”