The seven-year-old Nik Stauskas can stop dreaming.
It's time for (little whatever-his-parents-called-him) to wake up and start living out that wild, never-going-to-happen childhood fantasy of playing in the NBA.
The Michigan sophomore isn't a pro yet.
But he inched one step closer Tuesday at the Crisler Center, announcing that he'll forgo his final two years of eligibility, sign with an agent and enter the 2014 NBA Draft.
It takes careful planning to turn dreams into reality, and Stauskas wasn't about to gamble his future. No, he spent way too many hours in a slumber-induced paradise to compromise his ultimate goal.
"You know, I remember when I first committed to Michigan--I was 17 at the time--and I was thinking to myself 'is this the right decision?' You know, 'is this the best decision to achieve my dream of playing in the NBA?' Looking back at it now, I don't think I could have made any better decision than to come here," said Stauskas, who bid a fond farewell to the program that made him a collegiate superstar.
"These coaches have done wonders for me. On and off the court, I've made unbelievable relationships with my teammates and students at my school. I've got a first-class education here. My two years couldn't have gone any smoother than they went. I'm just so happy for everything that I've experienced and I'm really excited to see what these next years in the NBA will bring for me."
The 6'5," 220-pound Canadian Sharpshooter entered Ann Arbor with a storied history with the long ball. His YouTube videos served as proof--and there aren't many truer shooters than the kid from Ontario who ended up developing a well-rounded skill set complete with drives, dishes and dunks.
"We saw glimpses last year, " coach John Beilein said. "We thought he could be a special player. What he needed was an opportunity. With Tim and Trey going pro, he had a great opportunity."
Stauskas is projected to be a mid-first-round-pick in June's draft. In 2013-14, he averaged 17. 5 points per game and was named the Big Ten Player of the Year by coaches and media.
There was no doubt that he was No. 1 in the league. He proved it by playing some of his best ball against the top competition. He lit up Michigan State with games of 19, 25 and 17 points. As a result, the Wolverines won two of the three meetings (stats via ESPN).
In the tournament, he didn't dip below 14, and he put up 24 during a losing effort to Kentucky, which lost to UConn in the national title game.
Stats (via UM media release)
75 games, 69 starts
Career averages: 14.1 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists per game
61 double-digit games, 17 with 20-plus
83.16 free-throw percentage (No. 2)
44.1 three-point percentage (No. 5)
172 three-pointers (No. 8)
390 three-point attempts (No. 10)
1,060 points (No. 43)
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