Draft Spotlight: Nik Stauskas
Growing up, Nik Stauskas would spend hours shooting baskets in the backyard of his parents’ suburban Toronto home, dreaming of one day competing against the NBA stars he idolized. Soon, the 20-year-old shooting guard will get to do just that, but it very nearly happened a full year earlier.
It began in 2011, when a then 17-year-old Stauskas began posting videos of his summer training sessions to YouTube in the hopes of generating some buzz prior his senior season at St. Mark’s School (Mass.). It wasn’t long before the unassuming teenager had developed a decent internet following, garnering hundreds of thousands of video views and a sizeable subscriber base. But it was a video uploaded in April of 2013 that nearly propelled Stauskas to nationwide fame.
The video showed the 6’6” shooting guard knocking down 70 of 76 three-point attempts, including 46 in a row (in the wind and rain, no less!). It wasn’t long before the video went viral, and within hours, Stauskas was receiving messages from basketball fans all over the world.
One of those fans was Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry.
“That first day, a lot of people saw it and it was getting some buzz, and then I just saw my Twitter notifications started going crazy, and I’m like, ‘Who tweeted about this?’, he recalled with a smile during a media session at May’s NBA Draft Combine. “Sure enough, Steph Curry had retweeted it and challenged me to a three-point contest on Twitter.”
Stauskas happily accepted, and the two players quickly began to hash out details.
The plan was for Curry to travel to Mississauga, Ontario for a shootout at the site of the original video, Stauskas’ backyard. Canadian sports network TSN even agreed to televise the contest. Unfortunately, the event violated NCAA outside competition rules and had to be cancelled.
The young sharpshooter took it in stride, returning to Michigan in the fall with some extra pep in his step. In 2013-14, he put together a stellar sophomore campaign, leading the Wolvarines in points and assists per game (17.5 PPG and 3.3 APG) while shooting 44.2% from three-point range.
Asked if he still felt up to the challenge should the two ever find themselves in the Toronto area, Stauskas laughed, “He’s not beating me in my backyard. That’s my court, man!”
The 2014 NBA Draft will take place on June 26 at 7pm (EST). Watch at home on ESPN or come out to one of our 76 draft parties across the tri-state area!