The 2021-22 NBA season is heading towards a thrilling finale, and only eight teams remain in contention to become the 2022 NBA Champions. The world famous Boston Celtics are the third-favorites for glory, which makes them one of the best NBA finals bets, and residents of Virginia will be cheering on the Celtics for one reason, and one reason only: a former Virginia Cavalier stands to get his hands on a coveted NBA championship ring with a Celtics victory.

2021-22 NBA Season Finale

2021-22 NBA Season Finale

Sam Hauser was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in 1997 and played high school basketball for Stevens Point Area, also in Wisconsin. The small forward quickly gained a reputation for being a solid three-point scorer and led the state with a 50.6 three-point percentage during his junior season. That junior season also saw Hauser average 18 points, 3.3 assists, and 7.5 rebounds per game. Hauser was instrumental in helping his team to a 27-1 record and the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 1 state championship.

Hauser continued developing as a senior and helped his school team go unbeaten while securing the second straight Division 1 state championship. His 18.2 points, four assists, 6.7 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks per game averages proved enough to see Hauser crowned the Gatorade Player of the Year for Wisconsin. 

Hauser Shines For His College Teams

The now 6ft 7in giant of a man headed to Marquette University, where he began playing college basketball. Hauser turned out for Marquette from 2016 through to the end of the 2018-19 season, playing 101 games; he started 96 of those games. Hauser’s final season with Marquette saw him lead the team with 7.2 rebounds while averaging 2.4 assists and 14.9 points per game.

Hauser committed to continuing the rest of his college career at Virginia in time for the 2019-20 season but sat out the entire season due to NCAA transfer rules. He made his long-awaited Virginia debut on November 25, 2020, against Towson, where Hausen scored 19 points in an 89-54 victory. Hauser put up career-best figures of 50.3 field goal percentage and 16.0 points per game.

After declaring for the 2021 NBA draft, Hauser ended his Virginia career earlier than expected and earlier than Cavaliers fans wanted. Many saw Hauser as a good prospect for a professional career. However, he surprisingly went undrafted. Hauser achieved his goal of playing basketball professionally when the Boston Celtics signed him on a two-way contract with their G League affiliate, the Maine Celtics, a fortnight after the draft. Hauser’s two-way contract converted to a standard NBA contract in February 2022. 

This season has seen Hauser play 26 regular season games for the famous Celtic, helping them clinch the Atlantic Division for the first time since 2017 and for the 32nd time overall. Hauser has even made two brief appearances in the Celtics’ first-round playoff game against the Brooklyn Nets, who they swept in four games.

Battling in the 2022 NBA Playoffs

He is now hopeful of helping the Celtic past the reigning champions, Milwaukee Bucks, in the Conference Semifinals. This is the third time in five seasons that the Celtics have met the Bucks in the playoffs. They last met each other during the 2018-19 campaign, and the Bucks ran out 4-1 winners in the Conference Semifinals.

This latest meeting is currently tied 1-1, with the Bucks running out 101-89 winners in Game 1 and the Celtics exacting revenge in Game 2, winning 109-86, both in front of capacity 19,156 crowds at TD Garden. Games 3 and 4 take place in Milwaukee on May 7 and May 9; will Hauser get his chance to shine on the big stage? Virginians hope so.