3. Nik Stauskas, G, Michigan Wolverines
Stauskas is merely Michigan’s third option on offense, and you may think being rated the No. 3 freshman in the nation is disproportionate for a role player. In the abstract, I agree wholeheartedly, but exactly how much tribute do we give to a player who has helped his team’s offense to the very limit allowed by the sport itself? Stauskas has an offensive rating (152.8) that’s in another zip code, even better than that of Bennett (127.5) and Adams (122.8). He is a normal carbon-based player in only one facet of the game: Stauskas inside the arc with the clock running is a mere mortal. But if he’s at the line (89 percent) or, heaven help the opponent, 3-point range (64 percent), he’s Stauskasesque.
His numbers will correct downward, but the larger point is that for a second consecutive season, John Beilein has a freshman who arrived in Ann Arbor as a lightly regarded recruit, and who then promptly began stomping on opponents like Mothra. (Last time the freshman in question was named Trey Burke, who for his part has called Stauskas “probably the best shooter I’ve played with.”) Whether this keeps happening because of Beilein, the freshmen, the guys doing the rankings, or some combination of all of the above, remains to be seen. But if you’re a Michigan fan, what a great mystery to have to unravel.