Some Lithuanians probably feel really frustrated seeing countrymen emigrants who represent other countries in sports very well. During the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey many people heard the story of Lithuanian emigrants Andy and Leo Rautins who represented Canada.
Also last year in Lithuanian media it was very common to see the name of Tim Abromaitis who had a great season in the NCAA playing for Notre Dame University. This summer Tim was invited to the camp of students national team of USA which is a real acknowledgement.
Nevertheless, there are many more players like that and one of them – Nikolas Stauskas. 199cm, small forward who is about to turn 18 years old this summer knows his origin and started playing basketball in Toronto, in the sports club of Lithuanian emigrants “Aušra”.
This youngster has already played for Canada U16 NT during 2009 FIBA Americas U16 Championship. Stauskas got more and more attention lately from NCAA scouts. Right now the high school player of St.Marks prep. school is rated at“Yahoo Rivals” as 99th prospect in class of 2012 (100th in ESPN) and 20th among small forwards.
For comparison, two players of Canada’s U-19 national team, Negus Webster-Chan and Sim Bhullar are rated respectively as 137th and 148th. Known as good player offensively, Nikolas had got many offers from well known universities such as Kansas and Wake Forest but he has already committed to play for Michigan where he will represent “Wolverines”.
Family-type guy, who can roughly speak Lithuanian but understands the language pretty well shared his thoughts with GreenHoops. As he says himself, he loves to spend time with his family and everything else is just basketball.
– “Aušra” was your first team. Were you seen by scouts during the time you played there?
– I first played for “Aušra” when I was 7 so I was not seen then.
– What type of player are you?
– I’m known as a shooter but I have a very good ball handling and I get to the basket well. Also I have a good basketball IQ and know how to get my teammates involved.
– Who is your basketball idol?
– My basketball idol is Lebron James.
– You’ve already had a conversation with the head coach of Michigan “Wolverines” about your position in the team and other things. What’s your opinion of coach John Beilein?
– Coach Beilein is a great guy and a great coach. He really knows what he’s talking about and he shows that with the way his team is run every year.
– Despite having many offers you chose Michigan over all other universities. What are the reasons for that?
– The style of play and relationships with the coaching staff were the main reasons for my commitment to Michigan. It’s also quite close to home so that didn’t hurt.
– What are your short-term plans? What would you like to improve in your game?
– Everything in my game can get better. Most importantly I would like to improve my quickness and strength. I would also like to improve my ball handling by making my crossovers faster and tighter.
– Do you ever think about playing professional basketball?
– I have been dreaming about playing in the NBA everyday since I was 8 years old. My goal in life is to play in the NBA so I think about it quite often.
– Do you think about playing for Canada someday as well?
– I’ve played for Canada at the U16 FIBA Americas, but there is a possibility that down the road I could play for the Canadian national team.
– Do you follow Lithuanian basketball news? Maybe you even root for any team?
– I don’t know much about Lithuanian basketball but I’m familiar with all the Lithuanian players in the NBA. And if the opportunity ever presented itself of me playing for the Lithuanian national team, I would definitely consider it.