When Nik Stauskas suffered through his mini-slump in a pair of defeats at Indiana and Iowa (sandwiched around a win over Nebraska), who would have imagined him in contention for a national honor.
Earlier today (Mar. 8) , Stauskas was named (by the Los Angeles Athletic Club) to the final ballot for the John R. Wooden award, emblematic of the nation’s best player.
This, of course, is the second straight year a Michigan player was nominated. Last season Trey Burke won this and several other national awards, as the Wolverines swept through the NCAA Tournament before falling to Louisville in the NCAA title game. Burke was an NBA first-round draft pick and is currently starting for the Utah Jazz (the Jazz will be playing the Trail Blazers coming up so if you’re looking to see Burke in action, grab Jazz vs. Blazers tickets now.)
Stauskas, a sophomore from just outside Toronto, Ontario, bounced back from the trio of sub-par games to score in double figures while Michigan won five of its last six games to clinch the Big Ten regular season title.
During the slump, Michigan coach John Beilein encouraged him to simply shoot more, while continuing to improve the drive-and-dish part of his game.
At 46.4 percent, Stauskas is fifth in the nation from behind the arc. He leads the Wolverines with 17.3 points per game and has impressed some pro scouts with his 3.5 assists average.
All-Big Ten for sure
While player of the year might be a lofty goal, Stauskas conceivably could make some All-American teams in addition to having a legitimate shot at all-Big Ten honors, including conference player of the year, .
He’s already been named Big Ten Player of the Week three times this season. Stauskas has also been mentioned as a mid-to-late NBA first round draft selection.
Below are the 15 members vying for the Wooden Award, as well as the Wooden All-American team.
Michigan (22-7, 14-3) concludes it’s Big Ten regular season schedule tonight (Mar. 8) by hosting Indiana (17-3, 7-10) at Crisler Center.
John R. Wooden Award 2013-14 Ballot
Kyle Anderson, UCLA
Cleanthony Early, Wichita State
Tyler Ennis, Syracuse
C.J. Fair, Syracuse
Gary Harris, Michigan State
Nick Johnson, Arizona
Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati
Doug McDermott, Creighton
Shabazz Napier, Connecticut
Jabari Parker, Duke
Casey Prather, Florida
Julius Randle, Kentucky
Russ Smith, Louisville
Nik Stauskas, Michigan
Andrew Wiggins, Kansas
NCAA 3-Pt. Percentage leaders:
|3||Melvin Johnson III||Arkansas St.||Sr.||6-6||G||29||77||161||47.8|
|6||Karvel Anderson||Robert Morris||Sr.||6-2||G||32||103||223||46.2|
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Joel Greer