It had been a moment Nik Stauskas dreamt about since he was just a child shooting hoops on his outdoor basketball court in the backyard of his Canada home.
On Thursday, that dream became a reality when Stauskas was selected No. 8 overall in the 2014 NBA draft by the Sacramento Kings.
“This is a huge honor for me,” Stauskas said afterward. “This is something I've been working towards since I was 7 years old. The fact that I'm sitting here in front of all you guys now is just -- I can't put this into words.
“I'm excited to be a member of the Sacramento Kings. I've only heard good things about the city and the organization. So I'm excited to get to work and help this team win.”
While some mock drafts had Stauskas possibly going as high as nine, most believing Stauskas wouldn’t fall past 12 leading up to the draft, being selected as high as he was didn’t come as a shock to the confident, three-point goggling former Big Ten Player of the Year.
“ I always believed it,” Stauskas said. “I believed in myself, and I don't think many other people did, but this is something I always felt is a possibility for me, and I just kept working my hardest to make it happen.
“It sounds -- it's a cliché’, but dreams really do come true when you put all your effort into it. So I'm just glad Sacramento picked me, and I'm not going to let them down.”
The Kings are coming off a 28-54 2013-14 season including a 3-7 mark in the final 10 games of the year.
Despite the obvious struggles, Stauskas sees talent on the roster and the opportunity to contribute right away with a skill set, elite shooting, that most considered to be the best in the entire draft this year.
“I haven't really watched a lot of their other games, but I know they got a strong young core,” he said. “I know they got DeMarcus Cousins, Isaiah Thomas, Ben McLemore, Rudy Gay, a lot of strong players on the team. I know they struggled with shooting the basketball in the past.
“Immediately, I think I can be a guy that comes in and helps stretch the floor and knock down shots for them. So I'm excited to do that.”
Last season the Kings averaged 6-for-18 on three-point attempts per game, good enough for 33-percent. With Isaiah Thomas, Ben McLemore and Marcus Thornton averaging the most three-point attempts per game, neither of the three managed to shoot over 35-percent.
In his final season at Michigan, Stauskas converted 92-of-208 attempts from beyond the three-point line, good enough for 44.2-percent.
Reflecting back on his time in Ann Arbor, Stauskas took the time to credit John Beilein and the rest of the coaching staff for their help, also asked what kind of an impact Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke had on him, noting he believes that same success can come his way at the next level.
“Playing with guys like Trey and Tim my freshman year, it helped me a lot because I saw the level of commitment and the talent and the work ethic and everything that they put forth,” he said. “To see them this year have all that success in the NBA just made me confident in myself because I know I can do what they did.”
Upon his arrival in Sacramento, Stauskas tweeted a special message to Kings fans excited to see what he can do with the franchise:
Stauskas will be introduced at a press conference in Sacramento later today.