Windy City Source: How would you describe your game? Is there anyone in particular that you try to mirror the way they play?
Nick Stauskas: I think I have a unique game. I think I am one of the best shooters in the country. I also think I surprise people with my ability to get to the rim and my athleticism because I constantly get labeled as just a shooter. I also like to think of myself as an unselfish player and let the game come to me whenever it comes to me. I don't know whom I would compare my game to at this point. I try to learn a lot of things from all different NBA players, but don't think I play like one specifically. I guess when people see me play in college they can decide for themselves.
WCS: What strengths in your game to you see translating over to how Coach Beilein runs his team?
NS: I definitely think my shooting ability is really what makes me fit into Michigan's system, but I also think my ability to handle the ball and get to the basket at 6'6 is something that will help me a lot in Beilein's system.
WCS: A staple of Michigan’s success has been the ability to defend the basketball. On top of that, many of the Wolverines’ guards and small forwards are asked at times to defend opposing big men. How are you going to handle the defensive tasks at Michigan?
NS: I think defense is something I've always been criticized for and it's something I need to work on. Guarding the 4 will definitely be a challenge for me and it's going to require me to get in the weight room and get a lot stronger, which is something I’ve been focusing on.
WCS: Over the past few years Michigan has had questions with leadership. This past season was your first at St. Mark's. Coming onto a team that had other high profile guys such as Alex Murphy (2011 Top 50, Duke Commit) and Kaleb Tarcezewski (2012 Top 10, Undecided), were you able to step right in as a leader, or was that something you deferred to other teammates with more experience?
NS: I think as the season started no one looked at me as a leader, but as the season went on, people on our team looked at me more and more as a leader. I still think I can work on my communication with my teammates and learn to be more confident in demanding certain things from them.
WCS: Although rankings are just numbers, many outlets have you classified right inside the top 100 in the country. You've talked about your shooting and ability to get to the hoop. What parts of your game do you feel you need to improve on over the next year to move up that list, or in other words, what's keeping you from going from a top 100 player to a top 25 player?
NS: To be honest with you, the biggest thing that is keeping me out of the top 25 at this point is politics. My game still needs a lot of work, especially physically with my speed and strength, but at this point I believe I have proven to a lot of people that I am more than capable of going at and competing with other top 25 players.
WCS: Finally, talk about your AAU plans this summer and what some of your personal goals are as you finish up your high school career.
NS: My knee injury has limited my plans for the summer. I wasn't able to play this spring, and that lead to me not being able to go to certain camps such as Pangos All American and NBA Top 100. In July, I still plan to be in Minnesota for the Best Buy Classic, Vegas for the Fab 48, and Phoenix for the Dual in the Desert. I might have a few other tournaments that I will be attending, but I'll have to talk to my coach first. One of my goals since I was young was to play in the McDonald’s All American game at the end of my senior year. I know I have a very long way to go to be able to play in that, but it's still something I dream about. Other than that my goals have basically been to come to Michigan my freshman year as prepared as I can be to play college basketball. I'm working hard so that I leave the coaches at Michigan with no excuses to not play me. And obviously, I'm still working at achieving my biggest goal of one day playing in the NBA. It's a long way away, but at this point I just have to keep working hard and taking it one step at a time.