Stauskas Talks Big Ten Player of the Year

STORY: Nik Stauskas scored 24-points, as he made his case to be Big Ten Player of the Year this season. ***Read the full story inside***

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- If there was any doubt about who would win the Big Ten player of the year this season, the verdict is unofficially in after Nik Stauskas' memorable effort Tuesday night. The sophomore poured in 24 points -- including a career-high seven three-pointers -- as he led No. 12 Michigan to a 84-53 win at Illinois.

And oh yeah, he helped win Michigan its first outright Big Ten regular season conference title in 28 years, too. Not bad for a player who wasn't even considered Michigan's best heading into the season. But as pleased as Stauskas is with his performance, he's not letting anyone know whether he thinks he will receive the award.

"I'm not sure. That's for you guys to decide," said Stauskas, when asked if he was the Big Ten player of the year.

"I just feel like I worked extremely hard over the summer to put myself in this position to lead my team," Stauskas said. "I think I have done a good job mostly all year of staying consistent with that. I've had some ups and downs, but like I said, it's up to you guys to decide. I'm just happy that I was able to lead my team to win."

To put Stauskas' night in perspective, he shot 4-of-5 from three in the first-half, including a deep three-pointer as the clock expired in the first half to give the Wolverines a comfortable 52-30 halftime cushion. It also caused a resounding silence amidst an Illinois crowd taunted the Canadian with chants of "U.S.A."

"As I was inbounding the ball, they were chanting, ‘U.S.A.' And so, I got the ball back and hit it," Satuskas said. "I kind of just stared at them."

"That was pretty good," Beilein said on Stauskas' performance. "I think Nik likes to do things the right way if you watch his practice habits, it's all about perfection. You're not always going to get open that much, you got to shoot it anyhow. (He's) good enough to do that."

But is he the Big Ten player of the year? After his sixth 20-point performance in Big Ten play it would be hard to argue against that.

"When we needed him to really come up big throughout several times this year, he's been very, very good," Beilein said. "He loves basketball. He loves practicing. When you worked hard as he is, this is a good reward that he is in that picture for all-league, player of the year type candidate."

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