It would make for a great narrative if not for the fact that Stauskas is A) Canadian B) of Lithuanian descent and C) has a running vertical that measured 35½ inches at the NBA combine this month. Put into more relatable terms, that leaping ability means he can throw down a through-the-legs dunk, something that -- just guessing here -- Steve Alford never could do. At least the part about scraping snow off the backyard court is true. Stauskas did that all the time in Mississauga, Ontario.
When Nik was a high school sophomore at Mississauga's Loyola Catholic, the coach quit early in the year. No one else among the faculty was willing or qualified to take over, so the season was in danger of being canceled. In stepped Nik, who again offered to coach. When that didn't fly, he went around school begging teachers for help until he persuaded his French teacher, Ms. Pichanin, to agree to be a staff presence while Paul Stauskas voluntarily led the team. And so it went each afternoon, Paul running practice and Ms. Pichanin grading papers in the stands.
Which is why maybe it's for the best that Stauskas never got to have that shooting contest. Sure, he might have beaten Curry. But he also might have lost, and on his home turf. And then where would he be? No longer undefeated, no longer king of his own backyard. Best to leave all things possible. To believe you can become an All-Star or the face of a franchise. That maybe, just maybe, you are better than the best shooter in the world.