U-M’s Stauskas takes break from draft prep, throws out first pitch at Tigers game

On June 26, Nik Stauskas will become a professional basketball player when he's expected to be drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft.

Rick Osentoski

DETROIT — Michigan basketball star Nik Stauskas has a video showing him making 46 three-pointers in a row, so it was no surprise he was accurate with a baseball.

On Monday night before the Tigers game against the Astros, Stauskas threw a strike that Tigers reliever Justin Miller didn’t have to move to catch.

"I got like eight practice pitches, that’s all I needed," Stauskas said. "It’s cool. I’m used to being in front of a lot of people.

"Obviously, it’s a different sport, but it’s all fun and games at the end of the day."

VIDEO: U-M's Stauskas, Lions' Quin throw first pitches before Tigers-Astros game

Lions safety Glover Quin and Olympic speed skater Kelly Gunther also threw out ceremonial first pitches.

Stauskas said he played a little baseball with his brother, Peter, growing up in hockey country in Mississauga, Ontario, but basketball has always been his game.

On June 26, Stauskas will become a professional basketball player. He’s expected to be picked in the first round of the NBA Draft that day.

"I never thought it was unrealistic," Stauskas said. "From the moment I picked up a basketball, I always told myself I was going to be an NBA player.

"You have your doubts throughout the whole experience, but from Day 1 this has always been part of the plan."

There are currently six Canadian-born players in the NBA.

Stauskas said being a fan of the Toronto Raptors growing up made him think about basketball.

"I watched every single one of their games growing up," hes said. "I don’t know about all the other guys coming up out of Canada, but for me, definitely the Raptors were a huge part of that."

Just looking at the playoffs and imagining myself playing in that next year, it’s a lot of fun.

Nik Stauskas

Although the Raptors didn’t make it past the first round, Stauskas said watching this year’s NBA playoffs has him excited.

"Just looking at the playoffs and imagining myself playing in that next year, it’s a lot of fun," Stauskas said. "It’s the same kind of feeling I had when I was a senior in high school watching the NCAA Tournament, just kind of imagining yourself."

Stauskas said he’s not really nervous about the upcoming draft, just more anxious to find out where he’s going.

"I guess that’s just the biggest question mark," Stauskas said. "But just trying to enjoy this process right now. Going to the combine and starting to work out for teams should be a lot of fun."

Stauskas said he’d be happy if the Detroit Pistons took him in the draft.

"I would be cool with it," Stauskas said. "It would be a lot of fun being in Detroit, and obviously, I’d have a pretty big fan base with all the Michigan fans around. I’d definitely enjoy that."