By Don McHoull
Anton Hauser may not have the NBA championships or the million-dollar contract, but the second-year men’s volleyball player does have one thing in common with Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant: a 38-inch vertical jump.
For those keeping score at home that’s only four inches less air time than Toronto Raptor Vince Carter.
Hauser leaped on to the Ontario University Athletics volleyball scene last year and led the province in kills per game, aces and overall points.
Not many rookies take home team MVP awards at Ryerson, but Hauser did just that in 2001-02.
Another thing that elevates Hauser from most second-year players is that he’s 26 years old.
“I think my maturity definitely gives me an advantage over players who are 18 or 19,” says the 6-foot-2 human elevator.
Hauser played volleyball in high school, but he says it was never his favourite sport.
“We didn’t even really play it properly,” jokes the Toronto native.
Hauser competed in basketball, baseball, hockey, tennis and golf in high school and, for a few summers, he even became an avid horseback rider.
“At one time in my life I couldn’t think about doing anything but horseback riding,” says Hauser.
He credits his high school coach Bryan Schin for getting him into volleyball.
Schin, who also played volleyball himself in university, says it’s the idea sport for Hauser.
“He’s tall, he jumps like crazy and he’s quick,” says Schin. “There’s nothing limiting how far he can go with the sport.”
Hauser believes he could go all the way to the Olympics in beach volleyball.
He’s currently on the Canadian national team, however, only two of Canada’s two-man teams can qualify for the Olympics.
“The top two teams are all around 35 years old, so at some point they’re going to drop off, and then we’ll have a chance,” says Hauser who averaged 4.13 kills per game in 2001-02.
Spending so much time on the volleyball courts has left little time for Hauser to play the other sports he used to love.
“It would be great to get away from the city and go horseback riding. But none of my buddies ever want to go.”