|No. 11 – Michigan Wolverines|
|Position||Small forward, Shooting guard|
|League||Big Ten Conference|
October 7, 1993 |
|Nationality||Canadian / Lithuanian|
|Listed height||6 ft 6 in (198 cm)|
|Listed weight||205 lb (93 kg)|
|High school||Loyola Catholic
South Kent School
(South Kent, Connecticut)
|Career highlights and awards|
|102 three pointers in 5 minutes posted on August 9, 2011|
Nikolas Tomas "Nik" Stauskas (born October 7, 1993) is a college basketball player who participates in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) competition. A native of Mississauga, Ontario, Stauskas plays for the Michigan Wolverines and is playing his sophomore season for the 2013–14 team. Stauskas' family is of Lithuanian heritage, but he was born in Canada and has represented the Canada national basketball team in youth competition. He may still represent both countries in future at the adult level.
After spending two of his secondary school years in Ontario at Loyola Catholic Secondary School and representing the Canadian National Team at the 2009 FIBA Americas Under-16 Championship, Stauskas moved to South Kent, Connecticut to attend South Kent School for a year, but did not play basketball there due to a hip injury. He then transferred to St. Mark's School in Southborough, Massachusetts where he excelled at high school basketball for two years, leading the school to back-to-back New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) Class AA Championship Games. The team won the NEPSAC championship in Stauskas' 2012 senior season, and he was the championship game MVP. He was also selected to the NEPSAC All-Class AA team.
As a freshman at Michigan, he moved into the starting lineup for the 2012–13 team in the team's seventh game, based on his excellent shooting. He was named Sports Illustrated national Freshman of the week once and Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Week three times. In late January 2013, he was named to the Wayman Tisdale Award (USBWA National Freshman of the Year) top 12 midseason list. He holds the Michigan freshman season three point shots made record. During the 2013 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, he earned South All-Regional Team recognition.
As a sophomore, Stauskas was named the Big Ten Conference player of the week in two consecutive weeks in January and led the Big Ten Conference in scoring at the end of that month. He also earned a national player of the week recognition from both CBS Sports and United States Basketball Writers Association. Stauskas was named to the 30-man Naismith College Player of the Year midseason and John R. Wooden Award top 15 watchlists.
ESPN The Magazine journalist Adam Doster notes that one might consider the NBA's September 30, 1993 announcement that it was awarding its 28th franchise to Canadian businessmen as the beginning of the story of Stauskas, who was born 7 days later. This decision opened up a whole new set of aspirations for Canadian youth, according to Doster. Stauskas has never played ice hockey and barely has played street hockey. He tried soccer at age, 6, but a broken arm put an end to that. His first experience with basketball came as a member of the Ausra Sports Club, which is a Toronto-based traveling team for children of Lithuanian descent. Stauskas grew up a Toronto Raptors fan with Vince Carter as his favorite player. At age 8 or 9, he "played" Carter one-on-one at a Raptors open practice for fans held at Air Canada Centre, which boosted his enthusiasm for the sport. Ever since then shooting a basketball has been his favorite form of recreation. He became so devoted to basketball that his head coach at Michigan, John Beilein, said in 2013,
In fifth grade, his parents gave him and his brother a choice on how to landscape their backyard: a swimming pool, a putting green or a basketball court, leading to the family backyard court. He and his older brother Peter would play at all hours and all conditions, including a 2006 ice storm that was so severe that, as he recalled in 2013, "The ball couldn't hit the backboard without slipping off, but we didn't care."
His brother claims that Stauskas scored about 50 points a game in middle school. For much of his youth, he and future Gonzaga point guard Kevin Pangos attended basketball camps together, regularly playing one-on-one while other campers took breaks from basketball for other activities. Until 2009, Stauskas played for Loyola Catholic Secondary School. He averaged 15.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists in 2007–08 and 32.0 points, 14.0 rebounds and 7.5 assists in 2008–09. Stauskas faced a basketball crisis before his 10th-grade season in 2008–09, when Loyola was in danger of not fielding a team. Although his father, a computer consultant, was willing to volunteer as a coach, school policy required the presence of a teacher, and no teacher was willing to serve. He finally found a French teacher who sat in the gym and graded papers while his father coached. In the meantime, Stauskas joined the premier Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) team in Toronto, run by Ro Russell. Some of Russell's prior players, such as Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph had gone to the United States to complete their scholastic years. Stauskas, not wishing to risk not having a team to play on after the crisis of 2008–09, spent the 2009–10 academic year at South Kent School, but the forested rural campus made him homesick and he transferred to St. Mark's School the following year. He missed the 2009–10 basketball season as a result of a hip injury. Michigan Wolverines men's basketball head coach John Beilein became familiar with Stauskas during the Summer 2010 NBA camp prior to Stauskas' junior year. Stauskas visited Michigan that summer and was also being recruited by Villanova, Iowa State, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Florida and Providence. By the time he arrived at St. Mark's, he was expected to be an All-State performer. In the 2011 New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) Class AA Championship game, Stauskas led St. Mark's in scoring with 17 points against the Nerlens Noel's Tilton School, but St. Marks lost 72–56. On March 26, 2011, Stauskas made a verbal commitment to Michigan. This commitment made him the second member of Michigan's recruiting class of 2012. That summer he scored 27 points in an exhibition of Canadian high school all-stars against the Baylor Bears men's basketball.
Prior to his senior year, ESPN named him as one of the top 25 three point shooters in the national class of 2012. At the time of their November 2011 National Letter of Intent signings, Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary gave Michigan a consensus top 10 entering class for its 2012 class. Stauskas visited Michigan along with future teammate Robinson to see the 61–56 New Year's Day 2012 victory by the 2011–12 Wolverines team over Minnesota. Then Stauskas led St. Mark's to 67–57 victory in a 2012 Hoophall Classic contest with 16 points against Friends Central. As the season progressed, Stauskas (and Robinson) improved in the national player ratings to offset McGary's slide and maintain a top-rated class. He scored 19 to lead his school to a 59–53 2012 NEPSAC Class AA Championship game victory over Noel's Tilton. Stauskas earned the NEPSAC championship game MVP. He was selected to the 2012 All-NEPSAC Class AA team. Following these honors, Stauskas' stock and rankings continued to rise.
|Name||Hometown||High school / college||Height||Weight||Commit date|
|Mississauga, Ontario||Loyola Catholic (ONT)
South Kent (CT)
St. Mark's (MA)
|6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)||192.5 lb (87.3 kg)||Mar 26, 2011|
|Scout: Rivals: 247Sports: N/A ESPN grade: 92|
|Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: 18 (SF) Rivals: 71, 13 (SG) ESPN: 76, 21 (SF), 2 (CAN)|
|Stauskas 45 for 50 three point exhibition posted on Christmas Eve 2012|
|Stauskas 70 for 76 three point exhibition posted 1st day home after freshman year.|
Stauskas began his college career with the expectation that he would be a sharpshooter based on his performance in three-point field goal drills in which he has raised the bar for the team. In the championship rounds of the 2012 NIT Season Tip-Off tournament at Madison Square Garden on November 21 and November 23, Michigan defeated Pittsburgh and Kansas State, respectively, to win the tournament. On November 26, Stauskas earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors for his NIT tournament performance in which he averaged 12.5 points and 4.5 rebounds. On November 27, Michigan defeated its first ranked opponent of the season, NC State (#18 AP Poll/#18 Coaches' Poll), in the ACC–Big Ten Challenge behind Trey Burke's first career double-double which included a career-high 11 assists, no turnovers and 18 points, and a then-career-high 20 points from Stauskas in a 79–72 victory. After that game, ESPN analyst Dan Dakich described Stauskas as the most underrated freshman in the country. That week, Burke called Stauskas the best shooter he has ever played with. On December 1 against Bradley, Stauskas made his first career regular season start and posted a new career-high 22 points. For his first two 20 point performances, he repeated as Big Ten Freshman of the Week on December 3. Stauskas also earned recognition from Sports Illustrated's Seth Davis as National Freshman of the Week on December 3. On December 29, against Central Michigan, Stauskas posted 19 points on 5-for-8 three point shooting. His 5 three pointers and 7 rebounds were career-highs, earning him his third Big Ten Freshman of the Week on December 31.
Entering the day of December 31, Stauskas led the nation in three point field goal percentage. This is somewhat confusing because various sources have various eligibility thresholds. ESPN reports leaders based on a 2 three point attempts per game minimum, while BigTen.org only requires a minimum of 1.5 attempts per game for eligibility. NCAA.org requires a minimum of 2.5 made per game, and Stauskas had been the leader since the December 9 weekly report. On January 16, Sporting News named Stauskas the surprise player of the first half of the year. As late as January 28 Stauskas was leading the Big Ten in free throw shooting percentage (.833) as well as three pointers made and was second in 3-point shooting percentage (.490). On that day, Michigan was ranked number one in the AP Poll with 51 of the 65 first place votes. It marked the first time Michigan ranked atop the AP Poll since the Fab Five 1992–93 team did so on December 5, 1992. On January 31, Stuaskas and Robinson were named to the Wayman Tisdale Award (USBWA National Freshman of the Year) top 12 midseason list, recognizing their performances as being among the 12 best freshman performances in the NCAA competition. Stauskas finished the 18-game 2012–13 Big Ten Conference men's basketball season schedule with a 37% three point-percentage on 30-for-81 shooting during conference play.
Prior to the 2013 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com named Michigan with Stauskas first among tournament teams in terms of having the most future NBA talent on its roster (in the absence of Kentucky who was relegated to the 2013 National Invitation Tournament). Having made his last 20 consecutive free throws entering the 2013 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament Sweet Sixteen, Stauskas ended the season with an 85.1% (74–87) free throw shooting percentage, which was better than the Big Ten Conference free throw shooting percentage leader, Adreian Payne (84.8%). In the regional finals on March 31 against Florida, Stauskas made all 6 of his three-point shot attempts, including all 5 in the first half as the team built a 41–17 lead before going into the half up 47–30. Michigan advanced to the April 8 national championship game where the team lost to Louisville by an 82–76 margin. His 6 three-point shots was a new career best and his 22-point performance tied his career high. All his three point shots came from the left corner. The 6 three point shots pushed Stauskas to a Michigan freshman-season record total of 79, surpassing Tim Hardaway, Jr.'s 2-year-old record of 76. Stauskas joined McGary and Most Outstanding Player Trey Burke on the South All-Regional team. For the season, his .9 fouls per 40 minutes was second in the country.
In the offseason, Stauskas add 16 pounds (7.3 kg) to his frame and 6 inches (15.2 cm) to his vertical jump. Lindy's Sports selected Stauskas to the preseason All-Big Ten second team, naming Stauskas as the nation's number 10 shooting guard and Big Ten's best shooter. On November 12, Stauskas posted career highs of 23 points and 5 assists in the second game of the regular season against South Carolina State. In the first half of the game, Stauskas made all six of his field goals, including 5 three-pointers. In the next game, Stauskas contributed a career-high 6 assists as well as 20 points against Iowa State on November 17. Stauskas scored a game-high 24 points on November 21 against Long Beach State in the first round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, surpassing his career high set two games before and giving him three consecutive 20-point performances for the first time in his career. Stauskas established another career high the next day against Florida State as he scored 26 points including 7 of the team's 13 points in overtime, despite scoring only 3 points in the first half. In the game he set a career high with 9 made free throws and logged his fourth consecutive 20 point game. Following a Michigan timeout with 11 seconds in regulation, Stauskas made a layup to force overtime. In the championship game against Charlotte, Stauskas tallied 20 points and a career-high 3 steals. Although Michigan lost in the championship game, Stauskas earned tournament MVP honors. In the second half Stauskas twisted his ankle, but continued to play the final 9½ minutes. Stauskas sat out the November 29 game against Coppin State to rest his ankle.
In the January 2 Big Ten Conference opener against Minnesota, Stauskas set a career high with 7 assists while scoring 14 points. On January 14, he had a game-high 21 points, team-high 5 assists as well as 6 rebounds against Penn State. On January 18, Stauskas scored 23 points including the final 11 for Michigan as the team defeated (#3) Wisconsin at the Kohl Center for the first time since the 1998–99 team did so, ending an 11-game losing streak at Wisconsin. Stauskas made all 6 of his free throw attempts in the final 25 seconds. The game marked the highest ranked team Michigan has ever beaten on the road. On January 21, Stauskas earned his first Big Ten Conference Player of the Week recognition. At the time he was leading the conference in scoring and 20-point games. On January 22, against (#10) Iowa Stauskas tied his career high with 26 points and contributed 5 rebounds and 5 assists, helping Michigan defeated consecutive top 10 opponents for the first time since the 1996–97 team. On January 25 in the Michigan–Michigan rivalry game against the 2013–14 Spartans, Stauskas contributed 19 points and 4 assists, including a 5-for-6 effort on three point shots. The 80–75 victory over (#3) Michigan State marked the first time in school history that the team defeated three consecutive AP Poll top ten opponents and marked the first time since the 1986–87 Iowa Hawkeyes that any team has won three consecutive games all of which were against top 10 opponents. It also gave Michigan a 7–0 Big Ten start, which is the best since the 1976–77 team won its first eight games. His effort for the week earned a second Big Ten Player of the Week recognition as well as a CBS Sports National Player of the Week honor on January 27. Stauskas also earned Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week recognition from United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) on January 28. He led the conference in scoring and three point shooting percentage through January, but he only scored six points when Michigan got upset by Indiana on February 2, ending a 10 game winning streak and 8–0 Big Ten conference start. Stuaskas established another career high in assists with 8 against Nebraska on February 5 as the team posted its largest conference game margin of victory since defeating Indiana 112-64 on February 22, 1998. On February 23 against (#13/14) Michigan State, Michigan rebounded from an early 22–11 deficit to win 79–70. Stauskas led the way with 25 points on 9-for-13 shooting and with 21 coming in the second half, including 10 that took the score from a 48–43 deficit to a 53–51 lead. It marked his first game with 9 made field goals. He added 5 assists, 3 rebounds and no fouls on his way to earning his third Big Ten Player of the Week recognition on February 24. On March 4, Stauskas had 24 points, including a career-high seven three point shots, as part of a 7-for-9 three point effort against Illinois to help Michigan clinch its 14th and 8th outright Big Ten Conference championship. On March 8, Stauskas had a team-high 21 points to help Michigan close out its season with a season-ending 84–80 victory over Indiana.
Watchlists and awards
On February 13, Stauskas was one of four Big Ten players (along with Keith Appling, Gary Harris and Roy Devyn Marble) who were named to the 30-man Naismith College Player of the Year midseason watchlist. On March 8, Stauskas was one of two Big Ten players (along with Harris) listed among the 15 finalists for the John R. Wooden Award.
University of Michigan junior economics and psychology major James Giardina ordered the first custom maize and blue Flag of Canada and waves it at half court during home games. ESPN's Chantel Jennings tweeted a picture of such a flag at Crisler Arena on December 4, 2012. One of her followers noted that the big version on the wall was a general fan flag and that a little version of the flag were added next to it for each three pointer he made in the game. By mid-December of his freshman season, the student in the Maize Rage (Michigan Wolverines men's basketball student section at Crisler Arena) had begun cheering Stauskas on with such a flag. The Michigan Public & Media Relations office started mentioning the flag before Christmas. The flag was mentioned widely in the press as he continued his hot shooting into January.
Stauskas played for Canada in the 2009 FIBA Americas Under-16 Championship held in Argentina. He helped the Canada men's national basketball team to a Bronze medal which qualified them for the 2010 FIBA Under-17 World Championship. He averaged 9.4 points per game in the tournament, including a game-high 21 points in a 126–78 loss against the United States team led by Bradley Beal and James Michael McAdoo on June 20, 2009. Stauskas was invited to train with the Senior Men’s National Team.
His father is Paul Stauskas, and his mother is Ruta. His brother's name is Peter. Three of Nikolas' four grandparents lived in Lithuania before the World War II. Nikolas previously attended Lithuanian Saturday School in Toronto and is able to understand and to barely speak in Lithuanian. He has dual Canadian and Lithuanian citizenship, but played for Canada in international youth competitions. Despite that, he may still select whenever team he wants to represent in adult competitions: his native Canada national basketball team or his ancestral Lithuania national basketball team in open competition. Geographically, Michigan is closer to Stauskas' parents home in Ontario than any other major Division I school, according to Stauskas. When he tweeted a Christmas Eve 2012 video of himself making 45 of 50 three point shots, Dick Vitale replied 14 minutes later. On April 24, 2013, he posted a video of himself making 70 of 76 three pointers in five minutes, and 8 hours later, Stephen Curry challenged him, via Twitter, to a three point shooting contest. Curry had set the National Basketball Association single-season three pointers made record one week earlier. The following morning ESPN retweeted the video and noted that Stauskas made 46 in a row. A few hours later, when Stauskas woke up, he said he would look forward to such a contest.
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