Nik Stauskas leaning towards 2014 NBA draft?

Posted on Posted in Michigan Basketball

Michigan’s Nik Stauskas needed to take on a much bigger role during the 2013-14 season after the team lost first-round draft picks Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway, Jr. from last year’s Final Four squad.

Clearly, the sophomore has embraced the opportunity. Stauskas is leading the team with 18.5 points per game, 3.8 assists per game, 80 percent free-threw shooting and 49.5 percent from the field. He has taken over a team that is playing without preseason All-American forward Mitch McGary and has played through injuries to Glenn Robinson III and flu-like symptoms from starting point guard Derrick Walton.

Stauskas has been unstoppable for the Wolverines in back-to-back wins against top 10 Big Ten opponents. In Wisconsin, he helped Michigan break an 11-game winless streak in the Kohl Center with 23 points. Just three days later he topped that performance, dropping 26 points on No. 10 Iowa in Ann Arbor.

Though Nik’s performance is making Michigan’s chance to reappear in the Final Four more possible this season, his father voiced a concern that has lingered in the back of many Michigan fans’ minds during his offensive tear.
“He knows he has to keep his nose to the grindstone for another couple of months,” Paul Stauskas told SI.com. “And there’s a really good chance he might be able to go pro. He’s worked really hard to achieve that.”

If Stauskas did decide to leave Ann Arbor after just two seasons, it would be a big blow. But John Beilein is trying to build an elite basketball program at Michigan, and elite programs have to reload and bounce back.

Stauskas dismissed his dad’s comments as he continues to focus on Michigan’s strong start to the Big Ten season.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Stauskas said: “I apologize for my father’s comments, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I haven’t really thought anything about that yet and we’ll just address that after the season.”

Though he has earned the chance to consider declaring for the draft, there are plenty of reasons for the Michigan star to put the pros on hold for one more year.

The 2014 draft is getting comparisons to the one in 2003 that saw players like LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Carmello Anthony and David West taken in the first round.

The loaded 2014 group includes stud freshmen like Duke’s Jabari Parker, Kentucky’s Julius Randle and Kansas’s Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggens. International star Dante Exum could also break into the top five picks, while fellow sophomores like Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State), Jermai Grant (Syracuse), and teammate Robinson are also likely to be drafted early.

Stauskas has also proven his ability to greatly improve his game in the offseason. He hasn’t just increased his points per game by 7.5 this year, he’s also added the ability to blow by defenders and create opportunities for his teammates. Another offseason could easily propel Stauskas into the first round of a much more average-looking 2015 NBA draft.

Regardless of the sophomore’s decision this summer, he has Michigan back near the top of the Big Ten and could really turn some heads with a win Saturday in East Lansing.

Tyler Fenwick
Managing Editor at The Big House Report
I am an aspiring journalist studying at IUPUI. I am the third (and youngest) manager of The Big House Report, and it's my responsibility to make sure it runs more smoothly today than it did yesterday.