With conference games getting started two months into the college basketball season, stories are shaping up and the Michigan Wolverines’ Nik Stauskas is definitely one of them.
Nikolas Stauskas – a 198 cm swingman from Ontario, Canada – is one the prospects for fans of the game in the old continent to keep an eye on, because probably as you have already guessed looking at his last name, Stauskas is of Lithuanian descent.
What makes Stauskas even more interesting is not his roots though, it is his play on the court 13 games into the season.
Stauskas has been shooting out of his mind for the Wolverines. In 14 games, young Lithuanian-Canadian attempted 76 three-pointers while making a whopping 54 percent of those. Fans can bet on March Madness trying to guess how far Michigan can go.
It’s not a matter of being in the zone for Stauskas, as he is almost always in the zone. Freshman is on pace to break Michigan’s school record for 3-pointers made by a freshman (74), which was set by Daniel Horton ten years ago.
Growing up in Canada and watching the NBA, Stauskas says that he likens his play to a young Mike Miller in a recent interview, though anyone who was lucky enough to have witnessed Arvydas Macijauskas’ short but remarkable stint in the Euroleague knows to who Stauskas’ sweet shooting stroke reminds us of.
Here is where his Lithuanian decent comes into play.
Although Stauskas does not have a Lithuanian citizenship, he could easily get one in a case where Lithuanian federation recruits him to play for the national team and that case comes in handy for almost everyone involved.
Playing in the NBA might be the dream for every single college basketball player in the United States at some point, but that dream doesn’t always become a realization for everyone.
Just like almost every other spot-up shooter in basketball, there are certain things Stauskas needs to improve on: Ball handling, which would help him get to the rim more and eventually open even more space for his silky smooth release and the defensive side of the game, where his potential is limited but he could definitely take a step in the positive direction by trying harder and harder as the time goes by.
Having earned a starting spot in Michigan’s rotation six games into the season, Stauskas keeps improving but at some future point in his NCAA career he might have to make peace with the idea that his future lies overseas, in European competition.
Sources suggest that Lithuanian Basketball Federation has not made any contact with Stauskas to recruit him yet and does not have any plans in that direction in the near future while the sharp shooter is making noise all around the NCAA, and that could be a decision Lithuanian officials regret in the near future if Stauskas ends up playing for Canada, where he is born and raised.
In the end, it is all up to Stauskas himself. There is the possibility that he chooses to play for Canada, but Lithuania has to step in and give him the chance to choice first and push as hard as possible.
After all, giving up without trying is the biggest sin of the modern ages.