With the NCAA College basketball tournament now behind us, and the “madness” dissipating, newly minted basketball fans and unsuspecting Lithuanian’s might be left scratching their heads as to why they’ve lately heard the name “Stauskas” more often than even “Valanciunas.” The two definitely have lots in common. For one, they’re both young basketball stars on the rise, making waves in their respective leagues. Valanciunas, consideres a top prospect at the 2011 NBA Draft, was drafted 5th overall by the Toronto Raptors. His game has been consistently improving, with Valanciunas just recently setting a career high 26 points, 12 rebounds in a win against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Stauskas meanwhile, known for his impeccable shooting, took his game to another level in 2013-14, adding an effective dribble-drive game to his unmatched razor-sharp shooting skills en route to averaging 17.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists
Of course then there the fact that their both of Lithuanian decent.
So, to set the record straight, let’s take a closer look at this rapidly budding Lithuanian basketball superstar, and officially get on the “Stauskas” train….
Nikolas Tomas Stauskas (born October 7, 1993), who grew up in Canada, is a native of Mississauga, Ontario. His family is of Lithuanian heritage, with three of his four grandparents having lived in Lithuania before World War II. Growing up, Stauskas occasionally participated in local Lithuanian groups and events, such as Lithuanian Saturday School in Toronto, and summer basketball camp in Wasaga Beach. He has dual Canadian and Lithuanian citizenship, but played for Canada in international youth competitions. He speaks and understands some Lithuanian.
After spending two of his secondary school years in Ontario, Canada at Loyola Catholic Secondary School and representing the Canadian national team at the 2009 FIBA Americas Under-16 Championship, Stauskas moved to Connecticut, and then Massachusetts. He attended St. Mark’s School in Southborough, Massachusetts where he excelled at high school basketball for two years, leading the school to back-to-back New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) Class AA Championship Games. The team won the NEPSAC championship in Stauskas’ 2012 senior season, and he was the championship game’s Most Valuable Player (MVP).
Stauskas has excelled in the game during both his freshman and sophomore years at Michigan. He’s received many accolades and All-American honors, including being named Sports Illustrated national Freshman of the week, Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Week, Big Conference player of the week, received the national player of the week recognition from CBS Sports and United States Basketball Writers Association, and has been listed on numerous watchlists.
And just recently, on Tuesday April 16th, Stauskas announced at a news conference in Ann Arbor, Michican that he will declare for the upcoming NBA draft on June 26th.
Move over Valanciunas….dare I say there could be two all-star Lithuanians on the Raptors team come fall?
Edited by A.Benotas