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Ennis, Stauskas hope teams see true colours at NBA Combine

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TSN.ca Staff
5/16/2014 7:37:49 AM
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Before the 2013-14 NCAA season began, CBSSports.com listed Syracuse point guard and Toronto native Tyler Ennis at 69 on its "Top 100 Players in college hoops."

Michigan guard and fellow Canadian Nik Stauskas was one ahead at 68.

With 42 days before the NBA Draft in New York City, two of three analysts of the same website have Ennis getting selected in the top 10, while all three have Stauskas going in the 10-14 range.

"I've played against some of the best players in the world and I've played against some of the best players in my class," Ennis said at the NBA Combine, which began Thursday. "I just have the confidence and I know how hard I work and I know my abilities."

Played is the operative word in that sentence.

For as much as the 19-year-old Ennis and 20-year-old Stauskas did to get noticed on the court, they both understand to fulfill their NBA dreams they'll have to impress potential employers off the court just as much.

"People know how I play and I think the main thing for teams is to get to know me and know if they are going to draft me, what they're going to deal with," Ennis said. "They want to see, as a nineteen-year-old coming out of college, if you're able to lead grown men in the NBA and I think they are able to get a feel for that in the interviews."

The process is something all players have to go through and Stauskas is doing his best to combat the expected nerves.

"The main thing for me is to just try to be myself and let teams know what kind of person I am and how I grew up and how I got to this situation right here," the Mississauga native said.

Stauskas's upbringing could serve him well when talking to NBA clubs. His family originally hails from the basketball-mad Lithuania.

"I'm a good person, really hard-working, and I come from a great family. I think that's important for people to know and I just want them to know that I'm not doing this because I want money or anything like that," he said. "Obviously, the money's great, but I'm really doing this just because I love the game of basketball. This is what's made me happy since I was seven or eight-years-old. I feel like if teams really get that vibe from me, they're going like that."

Both Stauskas and Ennis sat out the first day of the combine. Each player was officially measured - height, weight and wingspan - but neither participated in any of the on-court drills.

"Before the combine started, knowing what the drills were going to be, I felt a lot of it was just jump-shooting," Stauskas said. "Obviously, that's the strongest part of my game and I feel that teams already know I can shoot the ball, so coming in, I felt that even if I had a great day shooting the ball, it wasn't really going to do much for me because teams already know that's my strength."

Both Canadians, however, will participate in physical testing and the aforementioned team meetings.

And although the footage of their abilities is likely endless at this point, both players say there will be a few surprises awaiting any and all who will be watching.

"I'm not the one dunking all the time but I'm able to jump pretty high and I'm a lot faster than people think," Ennis said. "Going through the combine I think my numbers will show that it's more surprising than people expect.

"I don't think people realize I can jump the way I do or run the way I do," Stauskas echoed, "so I'm really looking forward to tomorrow, getting in there and working."

Tyler Ennis (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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Big Tour

A Historic Event

It was Canada's night at the NBA Draft as four players from north of the border were selected.


1. Andrew Wiggins - Cavaliers

8. Nik Stauskas - Kings

18. Tyler Ennis - Suns

45. Dwight Powell - Hornets


2014 NBA Draft Tracker

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