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July 5, 2014
Nik Stauskas ready to make a splash
For those who have yet to notice, former Michigan shooting guard Nik Stauskas doesn't shy away from the spotlight. Whether he's filming YouTube videos of his shooting exploits in his backyard or preparing for the green room at the NBA Draft, people are going to notice him.
It was no surprise, then, when he showed up in one of the more unique suits of all the draftees. He employed a fashion consultant, but in the end, the choice of attire was all Stauskas.
"That was me," he said. "Some said I was the best dressed there, some said I was the worst."
Everyone was talking about it, though.
"Like you said, I guess I made a splash," he said.
He's used to it by now. His swagger might have rubbed some in the Big Ten the wrong way, but the "three goggles," the icy stares toward student sections chanting "USA" (for those who don't know yet, he's Canadian) and even kisses blown toward the fans in Michigan State's Breslin Center following a big Michigan win epitomized who he is.
He thrived on it, and head coach John Beilein and his staff gave him plenty of room to express himself. Former coach Steve Fisher once said "Jalen's Jalen" of loquacious guard Jalen Rose - "Nik's Nik" might be just as apt.
And for the record, few will ever forget what Rose wore on draft night 20 years ago, either.
The next chapter, though, entails earning his stripes, living up to his No. 8 overall selection in Sacramento. Kings fans lined up 50 strong to welcome him when he landed in the city, taking photos with him though it was well after midnight.
"It's a smaller city, but it seems like a great place," Stauskas said, adding he was blown away by the reception. "I thought I'd have a chance to move up [in the top 10], but I wasn't sure where I'd go. I was happy with all my workouts and interviews."
So were the teams that worked him out. He moved from borderline lottery pick to potential top 10 all the way to No. 8, and he's vowed via twitter and interviews to keep working to make sure the Kings get what they paid for.
Part of that entails realizing he's now on par with the players he used to idolize, starting with The King - LeBron James.
"I don't think we have room under the cap to sign him [as a free agent]," he quipped. "But that was one of the things I said was going to have to be an adjustment for me moving forward - I can't sit there and watch these guys as a fan anymore. I'm here for a reason now. I've earned my chance."
"I guess on my off nights when I want to watch basketball I can sit there and watch it as a fan, but these are guys I'm going to be competing against every day. I think the thing for me that I'm realizing now I belong here."
And once you get to that point when you realize that
"Then you're good moving forward," he said.
If he's not there already, he will be soon.
Count on it.