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“The Ballad of the Basketball Boys”

It has been a very trying time in my household.

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Murray State v Marquette Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Ever since it was announced that Joey Hauser and Sam Hauser—brothers from Stevens Point, Wis., who until recently played their collegiate basketball in Milwaukee—entered the transfer portal, I thought the Fightin’ Wisconsin Badgers had a chance to nab the two tall, central Wisconsin sons that head coach Greg Gard needed to round out his 2020-2021 roster.

With HAUSER WATCH taking over Wisconsin message boards and Twitter, my wife, and subsequently my two-year-old daughter, started jokingly referring to them as the “Basketball Boys.” She used the nickname in scenarios such as this:

“Harper seems to be getting into trouble. Hmm, where is her father ... who is supposed to be watching her?”

::sees me with my nose buried in my phone::

“Oh, there he is ... checking in on ‘The Basketball Boys.’”

Well, in case you missed the announcement from Tuesday afternoon, allow me to be the one to break the bad news to you: the Basketball Boys are not coming to Madison. One of them is going to East Lansing to be yelled at by Tom Izzo and the other is going to Charlottesville to join the only team to ever win a national championship the year after being upset by a No. 16 seed as a No. 1 seed (which people forget).

I can’t, and I won’t, be bothered to remember which one is going where but that’s only because my fragile mind can only handle so much useless knowledge at one time, and I’m currently trying to figure out how changing timelines works on The Flash.

“The Ballad of the Basketball Boys” was a tough one for fans of the Badgers. For a while it looked like Wisconsin was the only school that had enough open scholarships to take both brothers, when they said they wanted to stay together, and then there were even rumblings and a report around the World Wide Web that they had notified the coaching staff of their decision in “planning to transfer to UW!”

There was, however, still many who thought that Gard and the Badgers wouldn’t be able to seal the deal. Or they just assumed, based on historical precedent and without reading anything about the situation, that they wouldn’t.

I do not begrudge the Hausers anything. They didn’t owe Wisconsin, Gard, Badgers fans and especially me a God damned thing. They are two adults who, with the help of their family, made an adult decision about what was best for their respective futures. Good for them! I hope they play well in every game, except against Wisconsin, and continue to raise the profile of Wisconsin high school basketball.

Now, as far as the Wisconsin men’s basketball team is concerned let me say this: I have some concerns. The Badgers have nine scholarship players heading into the 2019-20 season. That’s not even enough to have a full scrimmage worth of guys on scholarship in practice! Admittedly, point guard Trevor Anderson is a bit better and more experienced than your average walk-on, but still! A team like Wisconsin, that prides itself on development, should rarely, if ever, find themselves with four open scholarships heading into a season.

The Hausers, of course, would not have been eligible to even play this year due to asinine NCAA transfer rules, but the cupboard is looking even more bare than you may have thought now that they are taking their talents elsewhere.

Is this Gard’s fault? You may ask, “How is he supposed to decipher the ebb and flow of high school and college kids’ capricious whims?”

And I may answer: “We’ll get into this later in the offseason once we’ve all calmed down.”

I can take solace in this, at least my daughter will be properly looked after the rest of this week since the Ballad of the Basketball Boys is over.