Nic\k Stauskas committed to Michigan a year ago and for the past 12 months we’ve followed his exploits on the court, scrimmages against college teams and even his workouts. We’ve discussed his size, position and shooting ability and picked apart his defensive capabilities at the next level. The one thing we haven’t learned nearly as much about is Stauskas off the court. The future Wolverine took the time to discuss everything from his Canadian roots to his music tastes to LeBron James in this behind the scenes look at his life.
You grew up in Canada — did you always dream about playing college basketball in America?
“Yeah, definitely, probably since I was about 8 or 9 years old I knew that I wanted to play basketball for the rest of my life. I didn’t really care about any other sports at that time, so basketball is definitely something I’ve always wanted to do.”
So is basketball the only sport you’ve played?
“I played soccer for like a year or two when I was six, but I broke my arm when I was playing and I was scared of playing after that because I thought I was going to break my arm again.”
Anybody ever give you slack for not playing hockey?
“Yeah, hockey is definitely big in Toronto but I just never got into it. I just never played on the street or anything. I just never got interested in hockey.”
How did you first get interested in basketball?
“My dad played when he was a kid, and he always used to help me out. My brother played too, so me and him used to always play one on one and stuff. My dad’s always out there rebounding for me and helping me out with different stuff. He was the coach of my team from the time I was 9 until about 14.”
You made some YouTube videos of you shooting with your dad. What was the idea behind that?
“Well first of all, we just have fun out there in the back yard so we just thought it would be kind of school to make videos and show people what we do back there. At the same time, it was a little bit of a way to get my name out there. Of course then a lot of people ended up seeing those videos and it ended up doing some good for me, so it was fun and at the same time it got my name out there a little bit.”
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Did people start to recognize you more after those videos?
“Yeah definitely. On Twitter now all the time people are mentioning and saying. ‘Oh man I saw your videos. I’m a big fan,’ and stuff like that. So I feel like a lot of people definitely appreciate stuff like that.”
You mentioned Twitter – how into Twitter and social media are you?
“I wasn’t a big fan of Twitter until this summer. I was a big Facebook fan before that, and some of my friends convinced me to get Twitter. Now I’m probably a bigger Twitter fan than I am a Facebook fan.”
What’s your favorite type of music?
“Favorite type of music is just hip hop and rap probably.”
“Definitely Wiz Khalifa.”
What is it about Wiz Khalifa?
“Everything. First off I think he has some of the nicest beats that he raps to and I just love everything about him.”
“That’s a tough one. Probably going to have to go with Semi Pro on that one.”
“First of all Will Ferrell is probably one of my favorite actors. That movie is just hilarious. I’ve probably watched it about 50 times and it never gets old.”
Would you say that movie is pretty similar to your sense of humor?
“Oh yeah, definitely, just like the kind of stupid, funny kind of stuff.”
Favorite class in school?
“Probably English. I enjoy writing.”
Any idea what you want to study at Michigan?
“I’m not sure yet, but I’m thinking I might go into Sports Management or something like that.”
Who is your inspiration or role model? Why?
“I’d probably say Floyd Mayweather, just because the mentality that he has and the confidence that he comes into boxing matches, I just think a lot of athletes could learn from him. He just works so hard. He comes in with the craziest mental toughness. He does come off a little bit cocky sometimes, but he’s undefeated right now and I think I’ve seen a lot of people who could learn from him.”
So are you a big boxing fan then?
“I’m not a big boxing fan, but I’m a huge Floyd Mayweather fan. I definitely appreciate all the hard work he does and stuff like that.”
We’ve heard you’re a pretty big Heat fan.
“Definitely. Ever since LeBron’s second year in the league, I’ve pretty much been his biggest fan. Everywhere he goes, I go, pretty much. I remember even in the last couple of the years when he was with Cleveland, my Christmas present every year would be going to Cleveland to see the Cavs’ game. So I’ve just been a huge supporter of his.”
What’d you think about “The Decision” and the way LeBron handled the whole situation of leaving Cleveland?
“I think he definitely could have done it differently. I think everyone knows that he should have done it differently, but at the end of the day it’s his life and he’s going to do what he wants to do. I’m sure if he had the chance to do it over again, he would probably do it a little differently, but it is what it is.”
If you were LeBron, how would you have done it?
“I probably wouldn’t have made the whole show, I probably wouldn’t have had that whole celebration party that they had in Miami with the Big 3. First off, if I was him, I think I would have stayed in Cleveland. Looking back on it, he could have done so much more for himself if he would have stayed in Cleveland. When I’m bored, I just go on Youtube and watch old LeBron highlights when he played for the Cavs. I think he should’ve stayed there. He could’ve broken so many statistical records. When he was with the Cavs, literally every night, he had like 35, 10 and 10. It was ridiculous the kind of numbers he was putting up back then.”
Speaking of signing, when you signed for Michigan, what was that like for you and how did you celebrate the signing?
“We did it at school. I have a kid going to Arizona at my school, and we just had kind of a signing party in front of our whole school. We just sat down at this table and had our hats and whatever, and the whole school was there, so it was nice. Signing was definitely an exciting moment for me and my family, because we know how hard I’ve worked and just to see it all pay off is just really exciting.”
What was that feeling like when you finally saw your name on that sheet of paper?
“It was kind of a relief, just to have the whole situation over with and know for sure where I was going to be playing next year. Just excitement and relief for me and my family.”
Did you know anything about Michigan before they started recruiting you?
“I honestly didn’t know anything about college basketball until I started getting recruited. Back in Canada, we never watch college basketball. It was never on TV for us, we just never saw anything. So pretty much last year, me and my family really started learning about college basketball and Michigan and stuff like that. Until like November of last year, I really had no clue about anything in college basketball.”
So does that make it even more crazy to think that you’re now just a couple months away from joining Michigan’s team?
“Yeah, definitely. The recruiting process was kind of crazy for me because we honestly had no clue how anything worked. We had no clue about the rules of how many times they could call and stuff like that. So it was definitely a learning experience for us, but I think we’re pretty educated on the topic now.”
The Fab 5 is obviously a huge topic in Michigan basketball. What do you know about them?
“Yeah, I’ve watched the documentary like 10 times, and every time, it gets me so pumped to get started there. But definitely everything that they’ve done has been huge for the school, and I really hope that some day they get those banners back up.”
What is it about Michigan that really tipped the scale for you?
“Everything. There is nothing wrong about Michigan. There was nothing I didn’t like. First of all the coaches, I like every single one of them, and I know that they really knew what they were doing. The players, they’re all nice, and just the opportunity that I saw that I was going to have — Coach Beilein told me with Stu and Zach graduating this year, that coming in next year they were going to need a spot for someone to come in and knock down shots and stuff like that. So I kind of figured that me coming in, I would have a pretty good opportunity to play and help the team out.”
Have you been in touch with the other 2012 recruits?
“Yeah, mostly through Twitter talking with Glenn and Mitch, but I know those two are really good friends already, so hopefully I’ll get to know them more when I get there.”
I’m sure you’ve seen the rankings already for next year. Does that get you even more excited to come to Ann Arbor?
“Oh yeah, definitely. I was just saying this to my dad the other day. It’s kind of crazy, because when I committed last year in March, I had no clue that things were going to get this big and that we were going to have the recruiting class that we have and we were going to be a Top 10 team in the country and stuff like that. So just seeing everything coming together so nicely and the kind of hype and excitement that there is around the Michigan basketball team, I’m just so excited to come in and get started.”