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MessagePosté le: Mer 17 Oct - 04:59 (2018)    Sujet du message: it. "I went in and told the players, I Répondre en citant

Nik Stauskas was nine years old and already thoroughly smitten with basketball when a chance meeting with Vince Carter sealed his fate. Stauskas and his family were at a Toronto Raptors open practice at the Air Canada Centre when he was plucked out of the crowd to shoot hoops with Carter and Morris Peterson. "He hit a three-pointer on Vince Carter, so Vince tackled him to the ground and gave him a noogie," dad Paul said, laughing. "We got pictures of all of it, it was great. That was the tipping point I think." The sweet-shooting 20-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., is one of six Canadians at the NBA pre-draft camp this week in Chicago, hoping to catch the favourable eye of league general managers and scouts. The others are Jordan Bachynski of Calgary (Arizona State), Khem Birch of Montreal (UNLV), Tyler Ennis of Brampton, Ont. (Syracuse), and Torontos Melvin Ejim (Iowa State) and Dwight Powell (Stanford). You can watch live coverage of the NBA combine on TSN2 and TSN GO on Thursday and Friday at 1pm et/10am pt. Canadian star Andrew Wiggins, considered a top-three prospect in the June 26 draft, isnt attending the combine. Stauskas is part of a growing crop of Canadian kids making their mark on the game. The six-foot-six guard earned Big Ten player of the year in his sophomore — and final — season with Michigan, leading the Wolverines to their second consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournaments Elite Eight. Stauskas, who had a career-best seven three-pointers at Illinois in March, is known for killing defenders with his quick step-back and release. Its ". . . so fast, youre not going to (defend it). Hes quick. Hes like a cat," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said of Stauskas after his teams loss to Michigan in January. Stauskass accuracy was developed over thousands of hours chucking up shots, first in their driveway and then on their custom-made backyard basketball court. The day nine-year-old Stauskas squared off against Carter, Paul Stauskas said his son already "had range. At the time he would shoot with two hands, he only developed his one-handed shot probably when he was 13, 14. So it was more of a chest pass. But he was very accurate doing it." Stauskas first played when he was seven, on a Lithuanian club team in Toronto coached by his uncle Vic Simkus. Even then, he was three inches taller than any kid on the court, so he played centre. He scored four points in first game — a 6-4 victory. "Nik had this big smile on his face, because we were all so enthusiastic, we were cheering for him, Go Nik go! He just had such a good time. Thats kind of what started it," Paul Stauskas said. "And if a kid enjoys doing something, whether theyre golfing or skating or whatever, when you do it enough times, you become really good at it." Stauskas became really good after the family moved to their Mississauga home when he was in Grade 5. His dad wanted to install either a pool, a putting green or a basketball court in the backyard. They went with the court, because Nik was "just so enthusiastic about basketball and went above and beyond the call of duty to work on his game," Paul said. The dad wanted the best for his boys — Nik has an older brother Peter — so had the court installed by a company that specializes in modular sports flooring. The backyard court, the first by this company in Canada, is made of interlocking tiles that both gives the feel of a real court surface, and help prevent ankle problems and shin splints. Good thing, because Stauskas would practically live on that court for the next several years. In the winter, he would plug in a space heater to warm his hands. Its also a good thing, Paul said, that he chose the court over the putting green. "Maybe Id be a much better golfer," he said. "But Im 100 per cent convinced Nik would not be where he is today if we had not done that. "This was just one of those things, he could be by himself and he was just happy as a lark, he didnt need anybody, he could be there for hours, flicking shots. And you know how kids get, they start playing games in their head and they start fantasizing that theyre hitting the last-second shot in an important game. Hed just play games with himself, just very happy." Stauskas shared his backyard shooting exploits online, turning into a bit of a YouTube showman. In one video, shot on Christmas Eve of 2012, Stauskas, in tuque and track suit, dropped 45 of 50 three-point shots. In another, shot on a rainy day last spring, he made good on 70 of 76 attempts — including 46 in a row — in the span of five minutes. That YouTube video has over 500,000 views, and even caught the attention of Stephen Curry. Golden States star guard retweeted the video, and wrote: "3pt contest sometime @NStauskas11 ? this is Impressive." Stauskas tweeted: "I love waking up to a challenge by the best 3 point shooter in the world!!! Today might be a good day HA!" The Canadian quickly gained a fan following in his rookie year at Michigan. Paul Stauskas remembers it was a couple of tuba players on the school band that came up with the maize-and-blue version of the Maple Leaf that flew at games in Ann Arbor. The tuba players then created a T-shirt with the maize-and-blue flag. Underneath the Maple Leaf it read: "The best Canadian import since Molsons." For a pre-season game this past winter, Paul Stauskas and 50 friends, neighbours and family members chartered a Greyhound bus from Mississauga to Ann Arbor. They all wore the T-shirts. "We were the Nik Stauskas cheering section," Paul said. He and his wife Ruta were regulars at Wolverines games, attending about 15 games in each of Niks two seasons. "Weve followed him all over the country, to Atlanta, to Dallas, all over the place, and those road trips for us were a ton of fun," Paul said. "The whole point is, my wife and I, were financially secure. We never needed our kids to Oh youve got to get this good job to get me out of a bad situation, go pro. It was always just having family fun. And Nik just happened to be really good at what he was doing. "Its been fun, the entire ride. You think Disneyland is fun. This is a helluva ride." The family is happily buckling up for what lies ahead. Most mock drafts have Stauskas going anywhere from 11th to 14th (Denver, Orlando, Minnesota and Phoenix). Next seasons NBA rookie scale has the No. 11 pick getting paid just under US$1.9 million in the first year. "Its really exciting to think of the teams he might play on, and the players he might play with and against," Paul Stauskas said. "Nik has idolized LeBron James from the second LeBron stepped on the court. I was just saying to Nik Nik youre going to be playing against him! "The first time he steps out on the court, and he plays against LeBron, I think hes going to be shell-shocked. Hes probably going to go up to him and ask him for his autograph," he added, laughing. Paul Stauskas cant help but imagine the possible roster permutations. Hes heard the Chicago Bulls — who have the No. 16 pick — might like his son. "We were sitting there thinking Can you imagine Nik, youre playing with (Derrick) Rose? WOW. . . I can just hear it now: Rose to Skauskas, Stauskas back to Rose, OH AND ITS INNNN! That would be fantastic." He thinks Boston — which has both a lottery pick and the No. 17 pick — would be a good fit. "With Rajon Rondo there, I can imagine Nik playing with Rondo," Paul said. "When Rondo first came in the league, both me and Nik saw his very first game and we looked at each other and we go, Wow, is this guy good. So imagine we see this guy and a few years later (Niks) playing side-by-side with him. Its crazy." Rowan Barrett, the assistant GM of Canadas mens basketball program, saw Stauskas play in high school when he was a 15-year-old at Mississaugas Loyola Catholic School. "It was clear that there was talent, there was ability," Barrett said. "The keys you wanted to know were: What was his mind like? And how much would he be willing to work at it? The great thing is he is excellent in both of those areas. Tremendous work ethic and definitely has the mind of a winner. You put those things together with size and length and skill, and you can find yourself a pretty good basketball player. "Im very excited for him." Wiggins, Ennis and Stauskas are all projected lottery picks, which would make this years draft the most successful, in terms of numbers, in Canadian history. Anthony Bennett became the first Canadian to be picked No. 1 overall when he went to Cleveland last year. Canadian Kelly Olynyk (Boston Celtics) was the 13th pick last year. Barrett, 41, said the Canadian growth in the game is a product of opportunities and exposure that werent there when he was growing up in Toronto. "Night and day," Barrett said comparing the generations. Wiggins, Stauskas and Ennis grew up watching the Raptors. Barrett aspired to be a track and field athlete. "I played many of the sports but at that time in Canada, you just had some tremendous athletes in track and field who were bringing home medals from Olympics Games. So those athletes were the ones you wanted to emulate," Barrett said. "But a funny thing happened, I kept growing. "Its a tremendous environment right now for these kids." The 60 participants in this weeks NBA combine will be tested on skills such as vertical leap, shooting, lane agility, and speed. Each team is also allotted a half-hour interview with 18 players of their choosing. Pedro Jersey . Sundays game against the Colorado Rapids at B.C. Place Stadium has important implications in determining Major League Soccers playoff picture and will also mark the final game in the career of veteran South Korean defender Young-Pyo Lee. Thibaut Courtois Jersey .C. -- Cam Newton wasnt flawless on Sunday. http://www.chelseafcproshop.com/Kids-Olivier-Giroud-Jersey/ . The Ravens werent about to let it happen again. Carleton picked up its fourth straight national mens basketball title, and 10th in the last 12 years, with a 79-67 victory over its crosstown rival on Sunday. Jorginho Jersey . The Opening Day starter played 53 games this season hitting .192 with nine home runs and 25 RBI. Red Sox manager John Farrell has decided to start Jose Iglesias at third base as of late instead of Middlebrooks. Ross Barkley Jersey . The club announced on Wednesday that Malhotra signed a 25-game professional tryout contract. The 33-year-old suffered a serious eye injury when struck by a puck during a game versus Colorado in March of 2011.COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ben Smith had the closest look and he likened it to mayhem. Antti Raanta had the worst view on the ice and to him it was a thing of beauty. Smith tapped in a rebound with 3.7 seconds left on a wild scrum to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night. With time running out, Duncan Keith threw the puck on net and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky blocked it with his arm but it popped out of his reach. While he and two teammates scrambled to get to the loose puck, Smith got a stick on it and pushed it into the net. "(Keith) is so good at getting pucks through -- that first shot almost went in. I dont think he saw it," Smith said of Bobrovsky. "It was just kind of a mad scramble in front with people going to the net. Somehow, the puck found its way in." When the official pointed to the puck to signify the goal was good, it touched off a wild celebration from a large throng of Chicago fans in the capacity crowd. It also deflated the playoff hopes of the Blue Jackets, not to mention the thousands of their fans in a crowd of 18,695. "We came up 3 seconds short," said Columbus defenceman Dalton Prout, part of the pile of players trying to clear the puck as time sifted away. At the far end of the rink, Raanta, giving front-line netminder Corey Crawford a night off by making 24 saves, flashed a wide smile when Smiths inside work paid off. "You can imagine how that feels when there is only 3 seconds on the clock and we score the winning goal," he said. "The feeling was very, very nice." Jeremy Morin, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa also had goals for Chicago, while Keith had three assists. The reigning Stanley Cup champions have already locked up their sixth straight playoff appearance. But they had dropped three games in a row and were without superstar forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, both sidelined with injuries, heading into a home game with Minnesota on Thursday night. But a shootout win before the home crowd and then the late victory in Columbus -- against a team desperate for points in something akin to playoff conditionss -- has brightened the picture even more for the Blackhawks.dddddddddddd "You play the right way and you give yourself a chance," coach Joel Quenneville said. "You get balance and you keep yourself mentally aware of what you need to do, play the team system and everybody complements each other. The last two wins are very exciting from where we were just a couple of days ago." Columbus started the night with a tenuous grasp on the second wild-card spot in the East. But with games running out -- and opportunities for points slipping away -- all of the Blue Jackets realized how costly the late goal could end up being. "Its a tough one to swallow, but we have to move on," said Matt Calvert, also in the midst of the scrum at the end. Derek MacKenzie, Ryan Johansen and Artem Anisimov scored for Columbus and Bobrovsky had 34 saves. The Blue Jackets fell to 0-10-3 in their last 13 meetings with the Blackhawks. Midway through the third with the game tied at 3, Raanta made the stop of the game after Calvert intercepted a pass and zoomed in all alone. Raanta deflected his shot and the game remained tied. Bobrovsky then stopped a blast by Bryan Bickell and smothered Morins shot from his knees in the slot with less than 5 minutes remaining. Then came the wild finish after both teams had seemed content to get to overtime with a point. But Smith, at the edge of the goal cage, was able to get to the puck after Prout and Calvert were unable to clear it and Bobrovsky couldnt fall on it. "I went in and told the players, Its a hard loss but weve got to move past it," Columbus coach Todd Richards said. "You cant let your highs get too high. And right now we cant let the lows get too low. This group has been pretty resilient all year. Theres been times all year when people have counted us out and the guys have responded." NOTES: Blue Jackets D David Savard played in his 100th NHL game. ... Chicago returns home for games with St. Louis and Montreal before closing out the regular season at Washington and Nashville. ... Columbus opened a three-game homestand, then ends the regular season with three on the road. 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