April 15, 2014, ANN ARBOR, Mich. (ISN) – Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III are skipping their last two seasons at Michigan to enter the NBA draft and chase a dream they’ve had since they were kids.
Stauskas, who is from Mississauga, Ontario, set his sights on joining in the world’s best basketball league when he started playing the game in an organized way at the age of 7.
“From that point on, I pretty much committed myself to doing whatever it took to get to this point,” he said. “I don’t think many Canadian kids had that same dream. I think most of them were trying to go to the NHL, but I think the rise of Canadian basketball has been unbelievable. You see a lot of kids now making that jump from Canada and I’m glad to be a part of that group.”
Robinson, meanwhile, might have looked at the league a little earlier because his father — nicknamed “Big Dog” — was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1994 NBA draft.
“My dad has been through this whole process, so that was definitely a big help,” he said. “He stayed an extra year in college when he thought he wasn’t ready.”
Robinson, who is from St. John, Ind., said the NBA’s undergraduate advisory committee informed him he would be a first-round pick if he entered the draft and he chose to make the leap Monday night.
Stauskas wouldn’t say what he was told, but he obviously liked the feedback.
“I heard from the advisory board in the middle of last week, a couple days after that I really decided,” he said. “The information I got from them was kind of what I wanted to hear.”
Mitch McGary has not announced his future plans.
“Mitch is still gathering information,” coach John Beilein said. “He has all the way until the 27th to make a decision, so he’s looking at all the possibilities right now.”
McGary was not made available for interviews after his teammates had a news conference. He turned down a chance to enter the draft last year as a likely first-round pick and ended up having back surgery last season, putting his standing as an NBA prospect in doubt.
The Wolverines lost Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway to the NBA last year as underclassmen, but retooled well enough to win the Big Ten title and advance to an NCAA tournament regional final.
Stauskas said he’s confident Michigan is strong enough to keep winning next season.
“I think we’re leaving this program in great hands,” Stauskas said as he looked toward his former teammates, who gathered to show their support for him and Robinson at their news conference.
The 6-foot-6 shooting guard became one of the nation’s most well-rounded offensive players, averaging 17.5 points and improving defensively and earning Big Ten player of the year honours last season.
The 6-6 Robinson came on strong toward the end of the season and finished with a 13.1 point average.
The pressure will now be on improving guard Caris LeVert to have another big season for Michigan next season. Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin — who both had their share of impressive moments as freshmen — will also have a chance to take on more leadership.
The Wolverines also will lose fifth-year senior Jordan Morgan, and Jon Horford is transferring.
Early departures have become the norm at Michigan now that the program has become a Big Ten power again. After going without a regular-season conference title since 1986, the Wolverines tied for first in 2012 and went on to reach the NCAA finals.
Thanks in part to Stauskas and Robinson, Michigan won a school-record 59 games over the last two seasons and lost just 17 times.