PROSPECT PROFILE: NIK STAUSKAS

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by Joe Gabriele
Cavs.com Beat Writer

PLAYER SUMMARY – One major Draft trend over the last few years has been the influx of talent from the Great White North. Anthony Bennett, Tristan Thompson, Kelly Olynyk and Andrew Nicholson were recent first-rounders and another Toronto native, Andrew Wiggins, is vying to make history with back-to-back Canadians going No. 1 overall.

But there’s another Canadian player who’s been climbing up boards as the Draft draws nigh – Michigan sharpshooter and the Big Ten’s Player of the Year, Nik Stauskas. And while he’s not a one-dimensional player, his outside shooting ability is what teams covet.

Stauskas comes into the Draft as one of the player pool’s best pure shooters whose stock rose from his freshman to sophomore seasons. He has unlimited range and the ability to create his own shot. Stauskas is also a tough, gritty player who shot 44 percent for his career at Michigan. He’s a solid ball-handler and good decision-maker for a 2-guard who even ran some point as a sophomore. He’s a smart, crafty player who gets the most out of his limited athleticism. One thing scouts love about Stauskas is his knack for playing big in the biggest games. As a freshman, he helped lead Michigan to the NCAA Tournament title game and, as a sophomore, he had his biggest games against the Big Ten’s best teams and tallied 24 points in Michigan’s Elite Eight loss to Kentucky this past spring.

The negatives on Stauskas are his physical limitations. He’s not an elite athlete who lacks explosion, causing scouts to wonder how he’ll fare against longer, more athletic opponents on the next level. He lacks physicality around the basket and doesn’t rebound well on either end. He also needs to work himself into better shape after coming into the Combine with 12.1 percent body fat.

Stauskas isn’t a player with a ton of athletic upside. The team that tabs the former Wolverine will know exactly what they’re getting. The only real question is whether he can translate his success as a shooter to the NBA level.

PLAYER SNAPSHOT

  • Height: 6-6
  • Weight: 207
  • Position: SG
  • College: Michigan

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PLAYER HIGHLIGHTS – Stauskas spent two very accomplished seasons in Ann Arbor from both an individual and team aspect. Aside from helping UM make title runs in the Tournament, he also led Michigan to its first outright Big Ten Championship since 1986. He finished second all-time in Michigan free throw percentage (.832) and fifth in three-point percentage (.441).

As a freshman, Stauskas shot 44 percent from long-distance and started the last 33 games of the season – canning at least one three-pointer in the first 16 games of his career and at least one in 33 games during his first season at Michigan. As a sophomore, he led the team in scoring (17.5 ppg), ranking third overall in the Big Ten and topping the 20-point plateau on 14 occasions. He was voted the Big Ten Player of the Year by both coaches and media and was the only unanimous selection to the All-Big Ten First Team.

Stauskas represented Canada at the 2009 FIBA Americas U16 Championship for Men and dropped 21 points on a U.S. team featuring Bradley Beal and Andre Drummond.

PLAYER COMPARISON – Because of his pure shooting stroke, he’s been compared to players like the Clippers’ J.J. Redick and former Cavalier draft pick, Jason Kapono. He doesn’t have the athleticism of former Wolverine standout, Jamal Crawford, but that’s the player whose marks he challenged in two seasons at Michigan.

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