John Beilein laughed when he quipped that he, too, was disappointed in freshman Nik Stauskas' 4-for-8 three-point shooting performance against Binghamton Tuesday night. Michigan's head coach knows he has reason to smile.
Stauskas came away sputtering about costing others assists, like Tiger Woods shaking his head over making only half his 19-foot putts. The rookie understands he's good, a natural function of him shooting an estimated million shots in his 19 years.
At the same time, the rookie is aware of keeping a lid on how he projects that self-assuredness.
"You've got to play with a little bit of confidence or cockiness or swagger," he said. "That's what I built my game around, being a confident guy. I know people are probably going to take it the wrong way if, in an interview, you come off like a jerk.
"I just try to have a good balance. On the court, I show a little bit of flair or swagger. But I just make sure when I do interviews, I'm a little more laid back and humble."
Stauskas stayed humble throughout Michigan's first half-dozen games, when he came off the bench to do his damage. He likes the fact that he's moved into the starting lineup, but has learned to roll with whatever is coming his way.
"It didn't matter in the fact that I was getting solid minutes off the bench," Stauskas said. "It got to the point where in some games I was playing over 30 minutes. In that aspect, it didn't really mean that much.
"But I think just the name of being a starter - that's obviously something that I like. It wasn't everything to me. Regardless, it would have worked out, but I'm enjoying being a starter.
"I don't think I've really ever come off the bench. It's just a game, at the end of the day. I'm comfortable starting or coming off the bench. I'm happy to be in the starting lineup now, and I'm happy to give the team whatever I can do."
He's grown in a lot of ways over the last two or three years. The most dramatic involved him going from 5-9 heading into his sophomore year of high school to his present 6-6.
That, he admitted, is a game changer.
"One summer, out of nowhere, I just started growing and growing," he said. "It was kind of hard to adjust. I was growing so fast, I was having neck pains. I couldn't turn my neck in certain directions. For a couple of months there, it was awkward."
Now, he's a pain in the neck for defenders.
"It's a lot easier," Stauskas admitted. "When I was at that point, I used to only play point guard. With the height, I started dunking easily and finishing around the basket a lot easier.
"Also, with shooting from the perimeter - it's hard for people to block my shot. I've got a little bit of length, with my arms. It definitely helped me out in a lot of ways."
Stauskas has been taken aback a bit by the outpouring of affection from Michigan basketball fans. He's drawn notice on various social media, as well as around campus.
"It's special, the love from the fans," he said. "I obviously don't reply to everyone on Twitter, but just the little messages that people give me. That means a lot to me. Coming from Canada, and being in the position I am now, playing basketball with the University of Michigan, I'm having the time of my life.
"It's kind of weird, sitting in class and some people staring at me. But it is what it is. Just recently, people are starting to know me a little bit. I'll get messages on Twitter, saying something like: 'I sat in class today with Nik Stauskas.' Just something silly like that. It's kind of funny."
Stauskas' next major adjustment will involve those considerably less friendly or awed by him. When Big Ten play begins, he'll face defenders looking to knock him into the first row and then scream bloody murder at every whistle.
Even now, he noted, he's experiencing a higher level of jostling.
"I feel like I've been getting fouled a lot on threes, and I can't really get calls on them," he said. "Overall in the game, it's definitely a lot more physical than high school was. Fighting through screens, you definitely get hit a lot more.
"I'm not going to be going home over the summer. I'm going to be staying here and working with our strength coach. That's something I definitely want to improve on - the strength aspect."
A stronger Stauskas sounds like an even scarier prospect. In his first 10 games, he shot 58.7 percent on three-point shots - 10.7 percent better than Glen Rice's Michigan career record.
That gap isn't likely to hold. But with Stauskas steamed over a 50-percent effort on any given night, his own expectations aren't diminishing.
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