Mississauga’s Nik Stauskas shoots Michigan into Final Four after adapting to ‘weird’ setting for hoops

Neate Sager
March 31, 2013

What is it about Nik Stauskas being pathologically unable to miss on holidays? The Mississauga baller became Internet famous for a backyard shooting video he made on Christmas Eve. On Easter Sunday, the basketball whiz from a hockey country had the biggest shooting night of his young life in a football stadium.

Cowboys Stadium was built extra large to accommodate plutocrat Jerry Jones' ego and, on alternate weekends in the fall, Dallas Cowboys football games. The shooting performance that Mississauga's Nik Stauskas, in the wake of three quiet games to his first NCAA Tournament, had during the Michigan Wolverines' Elite Eight win over Florida on Sunday is all the more remarkable because of the setting. The freshman guard scored 22 points, making all six of his three-point shots, to help fourth-seeded Michigan outclass the third-seeded Gators.

[Michigan rolls into Final Four, beats Fla. 79-59]

In a venue with no shooting background to help perimeter threats with their depth perception — imagine major-league hitters without the blacked-out hitter's backdrop in centre field — Stauskas couldn't miss. Honing his form by taking 1,000 shots on a day on his backyard court in Mississauga paid off.

And it just went on like that ...

[Michigan saves the day for the Big Ten beating Florida to reach first Final Four since 1993]

So it's three Canadians in a Final Four that features a semifinal matchup between Michigan and Syracuse, who each have a large following just over the border in Ontario. Along with Stauskas, who averages 11.3 points on 42.9 per cent three-point shooting, Halifax's Noel Jones is a reserve forward for the 'Cuse. Concord, Ont.'s Nick Wiggins, the elder brother of projected 2014 NBA lottery pick Andrew Wiggins, is a backup guard for Wichita State.

It turns out we didn't need Gonzaga or New Mexico State, each with multiple Canadians in their starting five, to make a deep tournament run.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to btnblog@yahoo.ca.