Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Jordan Morgan share reactions to rookie seasons

Alejandro Zúñiga

Three of last year’s biggest stars returned to the Crisler Center for Michigan’s game against Michigan State. While the rivalry itself commanded most of the headlines, the trio met with media to discuss their adjustment to the pros.

Stauskas calls rookie season ‘humbling’

The adjustment to the NBA hasn’t been entirely smooth for Stauskas, who averages just 3.4 points in 13.6 minutes per game for the Sacramento Kings. Tellingly, he’s shooting just 26.1% from three-point range.

“I haven’t had the type of year that I would hope I would have had,” he said. “But there’s 30 games left in the season — that’s pretty much a full college season. So hopefully I have a chance to turn it around and get my confidence back these next 30 games.

“It’s been humbling, to be honest. With me it’s all about getting my confidence back and getting that swagger back that I used to have at Michigan.”

There was recently yet another major shakeup in the organization when George Karl was introduced as the team’s new coach — the Kings’ third this season.

“I’m excited for it,” Stauskas said. “It’s been a roller coaster ride this year with us. It’s my third coach, and we’re just about halfway through the year. It’s been different for me. I’m used to being here at Michigan, where for two years we had a lot of stability — the same coaches, kind of the same players.”

The shooting guard, who joked he wished he could steal Andrew Dakich’s jersey to take the court against the Spartans, said one of the major differences in the NBA is the lack of a rivalry-type atmosphere.

“A hundred percent,” he said. “A hundred percent. The thing is with the NBA, it’s an 82-game schedule. Every game doesn’t have the same kind of value that it has here at Michigan.”

Last spring, Stauskas took advantage of the “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to forgo his final seasons of eligibility to declare for the NBA Draft. With Caris LeVert facing a similar decision in the coming months, the former Wolverine offered his advice.

“Explore all your options, talk to the right people, make a lot of calls,” Stauskas said. “Talk to your family, the ones who you trust most. And then, really follow what feels right for you after that. With a guy who’s as talented as him, there’s no right or wrong decision at that point in time. It’s just whatever you feel is best.”

Robinson looking forward to next year

Robinson has appeared in just two of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ last 10 games, but he remains optimistic about the future.

“Oh, I can’t wait. I can’t wait,” Robinson said. “Next year, we’ll see. We’ll have this talk again. Right now, I’m just staying back, being myself, learning. No doubt in my mind, next year, these questions are going to be answered.”

The forward instructed LeVert “to give me a call” at the end of the season to discuss the decision to go pro or stay in Ann Arbor for another year.

“I know how it is to be in that situation, the pressure that you feel,” Robinson said.

Morgan excelling in Italy

Morgan continues to be a regular starter for Virtus Roma, which are currently 12th in the 16-team Italy Serie A.

The center is averaging 8.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game overseas.

“There was a little bit in the middle of the season where it was kinda tough,” Morgan said. “It’s a much longer season, and it’s a different game. It’s just different. It was hard adjusting, but you gotta refocus, and when I had the chance to do that, I actually started playing really well.”

Fellow Americans on the team include Kyle Gibson (Louisiana Tech), Bobby Jones (Washington) and Brandon Triche (Syracuse).

Roma also qualified for the knockout stages of the 2014-15 Eurocup, the second-tier European competition between professional teams. Morgan is averaging 9.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game in Eurocup play.

  • Champswest

    Sigh. What could have been.

    • gpsimms

      I feel like I hear just a tinge of sadness in Stauskas’ quotes. Glenn kind of seems fine with it.

      Obviously, this opinion is based on nothing, and essentially worthless.

      • JohnNavarreIsMyHero

        I agree with you on the Stauskas observation. Like you said, its opinion, but I think he kinda feels bad for leaving Beilein in a bit of a bind. The team is missing that guy that says You can’t stop me, or I run this chit type attitude that Stauskas had.

        It would honestly be better for him to have been a lower pick and get on a better team. The Kings were probably one of the worst possible landing spots for him.

        I wish guys were willing to have more than 1 good season. I have to say I love the attitude the Wisconsin guys had. They wanted one last go at it, and stayed.

  • jihadist john™

    i’ll never understand why players leaving early to go play BORING, scripted, unwatchable pro bounceyball is celebrated on sites like this…that garbage completely ruined this squad way more than any untimely injuries ever could have…beielin assembled an ELITE recruiting class, only one of them a ballyhooed 4-5 star recruit, developed the rest, showcased their talents in his system and this is what we’re left with…guys sitting in the stands counting their cash…makes me *almost* wish he’d start going after nothing but projected four year mouth-breathers like bo ryan and allow them to turn into a solid unit over the course of time…i have no problem whatsoever with honoring the return of true michigan man like jordan morgan, but it’s bad form for the university to recognize players who could not wait to $kip town…don’t even start with pointing out the life-altering guaranteed contracts…none of those who left grew up in poverty

    • I didn’t grow up in poverty, but I certainly would have left college after my sophomore year to make 5.6 million dollars in two years. Whether it’s investment banking, running a company, playing in the NBA — not sure how you can criticize that decision.

    • Guest

      It’s every division 1 basketball player’s dream to go to the NBA especially when you play for the power 5 conference school. You’re being selfish for not wanting them to realize their dream of playing at the highest level of basketball.

      Beside, NBA’s TV numbers across the board has been up and it has been a very entertaining season so far. The difference of quality plays of basketball is significant in which NBA is more watchable than college basketball. Some like NBA better than NCAA. Some like NCAA better than NBA. Some like both. To say that NBA is unwatchable is false.

      • jihadist john™

        damn right, i’m selfish!…i want UM to be in a position to make a deep run every year, and i strongly feel that beilein recruited properly to do exactly that and wound up paying the price for developing players TOO WELL…leaves an awful taste in one’s mouth when you get screwed for simply performing well at your occupation…there’s nothing REMOTELY “watchable” about boring pro bounceyball…it’s quite obvious we’ll never reach the point of agreement there…nothing means less to me than “numbers across the board,” as you put it, being up…ASSuming you’re speaking of (unreliable) nielsen ratings, why do you care?…are you a sponsor?…i’d give anything for only hardcore diehards to watch all of the sports i enjoy…casual fans who only hop aboard in march when it’s time to fill out an office pool are annoying as all get out…in a world where soccer, spelling bees, little league games and people eating hotdogs are all televised, we’ll never reach the point where college hoop games aren’t available all over the dial

        • Guest

          It should be welcomed that a player played so well that they’re good enough to get drafted in the first round. Having a 4 year player is no longer the norm since you need to go to the NBA after Junior year or before to maximize your draft stock. I’d take that trade off every time. 3 years of elite basketball for 1 down year before the upswing.

          I’m not talking about Nielsen ratings. I’m talking about the quality of plays in which NBA is superior than the NCAA where you often see scoring droughts and ugly plays. You should watch the NBA this season. It’s a hell lot more entertaining than the NCAA even though I love watching NCAA basketball.

          • jihadist john™

            of the recent departures, only hardaway lasted an entire three years…you’re treating my views of boring pro bounceyball as if i were claiming there were better players at the collegiate level…there are no better pound-for-pound athletes on this planet…that certainly doesn’t make it the least bit entertaining to me and millions of others who prefer D1 where there are no guaranteed contracts, the regular season doesn’t last 17 years, the bands play fight songs rooted in tradition, the rivalries are real, the crowd is louder than a morgue and coaching/teaching actually matters…it’s barely the same sport…go ahead and tell me erik spoelstra (who?) or david blatt (who?) could take over at wichita state and do what gregg marshall has done…it’s laughable…and please don’t tell me (or anybody else) what should or should not be watching…if you enjoy that tim donaghy nonsense, good for you…all it does is sabotage the team which i love the most

          • Guest

            lol, sounds exactly like the guy who hasn’t watched a lick of NBA in the last few years. I’ve talked to someone who is a basketball fan who is neutral on NCAA and NBA. He said, NCAA is more unwatchable because you seen teams making shitty shots and have trouble scoring while NBA there are better athletes and can really shoot the ball.

            College is always a breeding ground for professional sports whether you like it or not. Sabotage the team that you love the most? lolololol

          • jihadist john™

            already conceded to you that pro bounceyball players are the greatest pound-for-pound athletes on the planet…unbelievable freaks…that isn’t up for debate though…i then gave you a handful of reasons (which you ignored) stating why it will always be a horrible and BORING product which i have no use for and wished you well in enjoying it if that’s what you choose…i have no clue what else you want me to say

            and yes, i was raised on tim mccormick, eric turner, leslie rockymore and roy tarpley…michigan hoops is in my DNA and that fandom could never be approached by anything else, especially milquetoast scripted garbage where there is ZERO teaching of the game…all of these years, i though erickque speolstra (who?) was a genius…did he suddenly forget how to “coach” this year?…i’m amazed that so many could be into that stuff, but i honestly do hope you enjoy it

          • Guest

            Big reason why more and more people prefers NBA over NCAA:

            To say that NBA is boring is simplistic and laughable. NBA scoring has gone up and there’s a lot more ball movement and spacing. There aren’t a lot of long scoring droughts like you regularly see in NCAA.

            The link above would really benefit Michigan a ton especially when they face MSU or Wisconsin where they basically mug people to death on defense. Michigan’s efficiency would increase tenfolds with no hand checking, less physicality and shorter clock.

          • jihadist john™

            i’d lapse right into a coma if i were forced to endure that garbage for five minutes…in case you hadn’t noticed, each side scoring 100 points isn’t necessary for my entertainment…please just give up on trying to convert me to that garbage…followed it religiously until age 21…that was a LONG time ago…i’m a much better sports fan now…move along…agree to disagree…different strokes…blah, blah, blah

          • Guest

            Sounds like a guy who never watched NBA in the last 10 years.