CHICAGO — Michigan sophomore Nik Stauskas was one of the best shooters in college basketball last season, but the 6-foot-6 reigning Big Ten Player of the Year wanted more recognition for his shooting prowess outside of the college hoops world.
After posting a video of himself shooting in the rain last summer in his backyard in Canada, buzz began to generate on social media regarding Stauskas knocking in 46 straight three-pointers and 70 of 76 three-pointers overall. Stauskas was a 44 percent three-point shooter in his two seasons at Michigan, so the shooting display wasn’t much of a surprise.
Enter Stephen Curry, the former Davidson star who is one of the best shooters in the world with the Golden State Warriors. Curry is a 44 percent career three-point shooter in the NBA and noticed Stauskas’ video and challenged him to a three-point shooting contest over Twitter.
Stauskas responded to Curry’s challenge on Friday at the 2014 NBA Draft combine by recounting the story of what happened.
“I put out a video on YouTube and it was me hitting 46 threes in a row in the rain,” Stauskas said on Friday. “I posted it on YouTube and that first day a lot of people were seeing it and it made a little bit of a buzz and all of the sudden I just saw my Twitter feed going crazy and I’m like, ‘who tweeted about this?’ And I look and Steph Curry had retweeted it and he challenged me to a three-point contest on Twitter. So then it progressed from there. I responded to it and I’m like, ‘sure.’ I got in contact with his people and we tried to make it happen but it never worked out.”
According to Stauskas, the three-point shooting contest nearly happened. And it was nearly a televised event.
“He challenged me!,” Stauskas said. “We tried to do it and the NCAA had some restrictions with playing against a professional and having a competition. It was going to be a televised event but it couldn’t happen. Hopefully we can make it happen one day.”
Leave it to the NCAA to ruin something fun. Stauskas maintains that the competition would have been held in his backyard, giving the Canadian a distinct homecourt advantage.
“It was going to be in my backyard. TSN — the Canadian ESPN — was willing to broadcast it. His people set a date for mid-July. (That’s) when they wanted to do it. Of course, I checked with Tom Wywrot, our media guy. Of course there were some NCAA violations so we couldn’t do it.”
Stauskas in confident that he could still beat Curry in the contest and wants to see it happen eventually.
“Yeah, he’s not beating me in my backyard. That’s my court, man,” Stauskas said with a laugh.
In an ironic twist, the Golden State Warriors interviewed Stauskas on Thursday and the Michigan wing spoke with legendary shooter and NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West.
“I interviewed with them last night. Jerry West was there,” Stauskas said of the Warriors. “It was one of those things, I walked in the room and saw Jerry and was immediately a little starstruck. He’s a legend.”
Although Stauskas knows West’s reputation as a shooter — the man is The Logo, after all — he’s still confident enough as a shooter that he believes he could beat the former NBA legend.
“He couldn’t take me anymore,” Stauskas said laughing. “Maybe back in the day.”