On July 14th Joe and I sat down with Michigan Basketball’s Stu Douglass and discussed a variety of topics with the senior guard. What follows is the first in a three-part series centering on Douglass. This first segment will focus on Stu’s background, in the second edition Joe will explain the part Stu played in bridging the gap for Michigan Basketball, in the third segment Stu will provide some insight on his teammates and coaches.
Stu Douglass is a consistently positive and upbeat person. Win or loss he will gladly answer questions in the locker room and is always able to put a positive spin on any situation. He is also able to quickly focus his attention on the next game and take any lessons learned from the most recent game and use them in the future games. He credits his positive attitude to his mom, Nancy. “I’ve always been hard on myself, it’s always killed me,” Douglass explained. “My mom has always pointed out that you’re your own worst critic, that’s one of your big faults. So I always try to be positive and try to learn how to look forward to the next thing. Something it’s taken me a while to do.”
Stu told us that neither of his parents played basketball and his earliest mentor was the dad of one of his best friends, Xen Small. “He coached us throughout elementary school until we started playing school basketball in 5th grade,” Douglass said. “He really helped my love for basketball grow. A lot of those guys can over-coach it’s tough to be a dad and coach your son and his friends, but he did as good of a job of doing that as I’ve ever seen. I give a lot of credit to him.”
Douglass started working with Mark Baker in 8th grade. Baker transformed his shot and that is when Stu started to develop his sharp-shooting skills. “He’s done a lot for me, he still does a lot for me,” said Douglass. “I go back to see him every summer. I probably wouldn’t be where I’m at without both of those guys [Small and Baker]. My parents too.”
He was a point guard when started working with Baker and as he explained had long hair. People used to joke with him and say he was Pete Maravich or Steve Nash. Baker told Douglass that they better work on his passing if he was being compared to Maravich and Nash. “We worked on a lot of stuff like behind the back, wrap-around, just different stuff,” said Douglass. “Even if you wouldn’t throw it in a game you’re still developing that feel with your left hand and that’s helped me a lot even with shooting I like to warm up a lot of times left-handed.”
While other kids at camp would be practicing half-court shots and not even finding the rim, Douglass was working on his left hand and passing.
As has been noted many times at isportsweb.com, Douglass is easily the best left-handed bounce passer in college basketball. He also has a pretty good left-handed jump shot. In a game at Illinois this past season he almost nailed a left-handed, game-winning triple at the buzzer.
Douglass’ parents might not have played basketball or mentored him in the sport, but they are very supportive of him and never miss one of his games. Stu explained how much it means to him to have such supportive parents. “It’s huge,” he said. “They’re road warriors. Every game my mom, she’s a very emotional mother, doesn’t want to leave when the games over. So many games she’ll say we have to get back so we probably won’t see you after the game. Every game she’s there just waiting for me, to talk to me. It means a lot just to have them there and the support.”
Douglass said in high school as he started to realize his potential in basketball he knew no matter what he had the support of his parents. “They told me if you quit basketball tomorrow we will still love you just the same,” he said. “That’s always stuck with me. Just to know that they’re always there no matter what I do, it’s helped a lot.”
Now Stu is on the doorstep of his senior season and finds himself in open gyms mentoring his younger teammates and serving as an extension of his head coach. Keep your internet tuned to isportsweb.com for part 2 with Stu and find out how he has helped bridge the gap for Michigan Basketball.