Nik Stauskas has something to say for fans who have been doubting his and other Lithuanians’ ability to shoot the ball. KIROLBET Baskonia’s shooting guard is of Lithuanian origin and is proud to be one.
Stauskas grew up in Canada, but knows his true heritage and roots. He missed the chance to play his first game as a pro in Lithuania when he was out as the team visited Zalgiris Kaunas in the first round of the EuroLeague season.
Stauskas shared his family’s journey from Lithuania to Canada, and how he went to know the game while being outside of his true country.
‘On my dad’s side, both of his parents were from Lithuania and they moved over to Canada during (World War II). On my mom’s side, her mom is from Lithuania as well, so three of my four grandparents are from Lithuania’, Stauskas recounted those stories. ‘The whole reason for my first experience with basketball was being with the Lithuanian club team in Toronto when I was growing up because my uncle was coaching that team. As an eight-year-old, he wanted me to play for the team’.
Stauskas told his time in playing for the Toronto-based squad. He also said that his size and his family’s love of the sport brought him into basketball when he was young.
‘I had never played before but he said I was tall and should play with them. After one tournament with them, I fell in love with it and never looked back’, he said. ‘We spoke Lithuanian sometimes on the basketball court so that the other team couldn’t understand what we were saying!’.
Lithuanian players aren’t that popular in the world, but they are one of the game’s best shooters and are feared whenever the FIBA or the Olympics come into play. They do pack a punch into their opponents with effective shooting and hard defence.
‘The one thing that stands out to me is that Lithuanians are great shooters. As a kid, shooting kind of ran in my family. My father and my uncle, they really knew how to shoot the basketball, so they began teaching me’, Stauskas said. ‘It became something that I was very passionate about in practice every day, and eventually helped me get to this point where I am at’.
Stauskas also remembered the time when the Lithuanian team won over the United States back in the 2004 Olympic Games in Greece. The United States was one of the best teams in the sport and was known to win at most.
‘Jasikevicius was the player I noticed most because of his performance. I loved his ability to shoot the ball and the way he came out of screens’, said the guard. ‘No matter how far away he was from the basket, he was automatic every single time. He could get to the rim, handle the ball and finish’.