It’s always great to see former Michigan Wolverines pursue their dreams and make a career out of the sport they love. That’s exactly the case with Stu Douglass, a former Wolverine who was with the program for four seasons.
Playing under John Beilein, Douglass appeared in 136 games for the Wolverines, which at the time broke the record for most games played in program history (he’s now fifth in the category). In his collegiate career, he averaged 6.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game while shooting 47% from the field, 34% from three and 69.7% from the free throw line.
Since leaving Michigan, Douglass has enjoyed a lengthy career playing professionally overseas. He played in Spain for one year (2012-13 with Navarra) before playing in Israel’s national league (2014-15) and Israel’s winners league (2013-14, 2015-20). He’s continued to be a three-point marksmen overseas, shooting over 40% for an entire season twice while steadily averaging anywhere between 4-15 points per game.
When reflecting on playing professional basketball for almost a decade, Douglass is satisfied with how everything turned out.
“It was quite the experience, to go through that and accomplish my childhood dream,” Douglass said. “Ever since I had my little Fisher Price goal, I wanted to play for the Pacers, but I really I just wanted to play basketball for money anywhere. And I didn’t even know what that looked like until senior year. I honestly didn’t think about it too much until we lost against Ohio (in the NCAA Tournament).”
Douglass was eventually able to get his citizenship in Israel, and he said that sense of stability — something a lot of Americans playing overseas don’t get — meant a lot to him.
“Luckily, Israel felt like a second home for me for so many years, even though I was moving around the country. (It is) only the size of New Jersey, so it was easy to see every place and get a feel for every place,” Douglass said.
As Douglass got older, he really started to miss home. That homesickness hit even harder when the COVID-19 pandemic began, pushing Douglass to move back home and be closer to family.
“That childhood dream, you kind of keep going because your childhood dream kind of turns into other goals and aspirations, it turns into more of a business call,” Douglass said. “Three or four years ago, I realized, ‘Oh, yeah, this isn’t doing it for me anymore.’ Like, I’m not getting out of basketball what I wanted to, and I could have kept playing but it just wasn’t really worth it for me. Then when COVID hit, I found myself alone in my apartment in Israel, and a few months felt like a year.”
Douglass’ pro career is now over and he’s back in his home state of Indiana, working in insurance near Carmel, where he grew up. He’s happily married, meeting his wife, Chelsea, after moving back home and getting married this past April.
With Douglass finding happiness back home, he chose to end his pro career overseas.
“Within like three months of knowing her, being with her, it was like, ‘Alright, we’re gonna get married, I’m probably not going to be playing basketball much longer,’” Douglass said. “It kind of all real happened real quickly. And so I kind of appreciate COVID being able to speed up that process. And I’ve really looked back, I’ve been happy with that decision. But overall, I learned a lot and it was really good to see different cultures.”
Douglass still remembers his time at Michigan fondly, and he still tries to keep in touch with Beilein and his former teammates as much as he can.
“We’re trying to organize a reunion of sorts for next year for a football game,” Douglass said. “They’re honoring the 2013 runner-up team at that alumni weekend against Michigan State (on Feb. 18), I’m going to that, I think (Zack) Novak’s going to that. But a lot of those guys are going to that, but we’re trying to reunite a little bit.”
When he’s not working or spending time with his wife, Douglass has been keeping tabs on the current Michigan basketball team and talks about it on his two Michigan podcasts: Go Blue with Stu through The Field of 68 and Men of Ann Arbor with Nik Stauskas through New Amendment, Evan Turner’s production company.
“It’s cool to get back connected with the program a little bit from a distance,” Douglass said. “I don’t know Juwan, I’ve talked to Saddi Washington a little bit and some players here and there. But it’s just kind of cool to start that process over. We’ll see where it takes us.”
This is Part 1 of a two-part interview with Stu Douglass.