Nik Stauskas grew up in Mississauga, Ontario – a Toronto suburb better known for its neighborhood hockey games than for a Lithuanian kid spending thousands of hours shooting on his parents’ backyard hoop.
This year, Stauskas was named Big Ten player of the year. It worked.
Glenn Robinson III took a completely different route to the NBA: His father is Glenn Robinson Jr., also known as “The Big Dog,” and was the first pick in the NBA draft twenty years ago. If Stauskas had to work to get attention, Robinson had to work to avoid it.
They became strong candidates to leave college early for the NBA draft, which is their right. This week, both decided to make that jump, and file for the draft this spring. Stauskas is projected to be a high first-round pick, and Robinson not too far behind.
Good for them. They’re both nice guys, hard workers, and serious students. If a violinist at Michigan was recruited by the London Symphony Orchestra, no one would begrudge her for jumping. I might have done it myself.
But I do object to the pundits and fans claiming if the NBA dangles millions of dollars in front of a college player, “he has no choice. He has to go.”
This bit of conventional wisdom is based on one gigantic assumption: that the pursuit of money eclipses all other considerations, combined.