Position changes key for Michigan
October, 9, 2013
By Jeff Goodman | ESPN.com
Gregory Shamus/Getty ImagesNik Stauskas, a long-range threat last season, will play shooting guard in 2013-14.ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Trey Burke’s presence certainly will be missed, his ability to lead and use ball screens to both score and move the ball to his teammates for easy looks. There’s a reason why he won just about every national player of the year award last season.
But the Michigan Wolverines -- and particularly Nik Stauskas -- will also need to adapt to the early departure of Tim Hardaway Jr.
It shouldn’t be long before freshman Derrick Walton Jr. grabs hold of the starting point guard spot from gritty Spike Albrecht, who backed up Burke last season and became a 20-minute sensation when he kept Michigan in the national title game.
But it won’t be Walton, the small, pass-first floor leader, who will necessarily have the most difficult adjustment on the court in Ann Arbor. That might be the 6-foot-6 Stauskas, the Canadian trigger-happy sharpshooter who is capable of much more than just drilling 3s.
Stauskas is widely regarded as a one-dimensional long-range shooter, and the numbers from his freshman campaign support that theory. He was 80-of-182 from beyond the arc in 2012-13, and 61 percent of his field goal attempts came from 3-point range.
But that was his role last season as the small forward in John Beilein’s offense.
“In a normal set, the 3-man goes through the play and then stands in the corner,” Stauskas said. “You wait and get the ball when it’s kicked to you.”
Now the plan is for Stauskas to play the majority of his minutes at shooting guard. In the span of two practices last weekend, Stauskas attempted a total of just two shots in the 5-on-5 segment.
“It’s still taking time for me to get used to it,” Stauskas said. “I’m still trying to find my spots.”
“He’s doing things he hasn’t done before,” Beilein added.