Michigan sophomore Nik Stauskas has added six inches to his vertical and nearly 15 pounds to his slender frame after working on it this summer. The 6-6 sophomore seems ready to take his game up a notch as a result, head coach John Beilein said Wednesday.
"His body, he really dedicated himself over the summer," Beilein said. "He spent the entire summer here, both summer sessions. You'll see quite a difference in his body."
That should help him elevate his game on both ends of the floor.
"Like any player, it's important to play defense with your offense," Beilein continued. "That's true with every one of our sophomores. They've been able to do it, but to sustain it when you're tired is always hard for everybody, for each one of these sophomores, including Nick - sustaining defense and playing through rough stretches is always a big thing. Usually sophomore years, they're much more equipped to handle it when they are freshmen."
For those who missed it, Stauskas appeared on Perry Lefko's 'Be My Guest' show at NextSportStar in August (see below), during which he touched on a number of topics.
Stauskas said he arrived at Michigan expecting and wanting to play early, but realized quickly he needed to pick it up in the weight room.
"Coming into this year I don't think I was in in the best physical shape," he said. "I kind of had the body of a little kid - kind of skinny. I really took this spring and summer, I stayed in school and got in the weight room and I really worked hard with my strength coach [Jon Sanderson] to put on weight. I actually put on 11 pounds of muscle in the last couple months. Just having that extra muscle and speed and athleticism helps you around the rim when you get hit by bigger people or they are defending you."
Stauskas watched the veterans and how they took care of their bodies last year and has continue to follow their lead.
"We have five incoming freshmen this year, so the one thing that the coaches have been stressing to the five sophomores is to kind of lead those freshmen and teach them the ways of how we go through our practices and games," he said. "Just how the older kids did for us last year. Just being there for leadership and support of the young guys, that's what we're there for right now."
His coaches have also asked him to be the Ray Allen of the 2013-14 Wolverines - a great shooter who also does the little things.
"My coaches really just want me to focus on moving without the ball like he does, using screens, getting to the basket," he said. "No one in the world does it better than him so it's tough to live up to, but it's something nice to aim for."
So, too, is another run to the title game.
"It's tough any time you go all the way to the championship game and have to follow that up next year," he said. "Just because in the tournament you never know what can happen - anyone can beat anyone. Coming into this year we're all in agreement that we want to win a National Championship. We want to win a Big Ten Championship. We don't want to lose games, and we feel that we're good enough to do that."