Northwestern’s John Shurna Declares for NBA Draft, No Agent

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Northwestern Wildcats junior forward John Shurna declared for the 2011 NBA Draft but hasn’t hired an agent. He’s eligible to return to NU for his senior year if he withdraws by May 8th.

“This is an exciting opportunity for John and I fully support his decision,” Northwestern head coach Bill Carmody said in a statement. “It’s a chance for him to pursue his dream and we look forward to helping him gather information throughout the process.”

Most likely, this is chance for him to get feedback from NBA scouts on what he needs to do to better prepare himself for the 2012 draft. He can find out what he needs to do to improve his game, and he be ready for the next draft. Shurna is not really listed in any of the NBA mock drafts out there, but his stock may rise a little given that this is likely to be the weakest draft class of all time. Eight sure-fire lottery picks have decided to return to school because the lockout is going to be on, and it’s going to get ugly.

Still, this is exciting, uncharted territory in Evanston. It’s been awhile since a college basketball player declared early for the NBA Draft at Northwestern.

A third-team All-Big Ten pick by the media, Shurna led the Wildcats with an average of 16.6 points per game. He averaged 23.3 points per game over Northwestern’s first 10 contests (against the softest part of the schedule) before suffering an ankle injury that limited him the rest of the season. Shurna was one of the nation’s top 3-point shooters in 2010-11, with a .434 percentage from beyond the arc.

Shurna has a great (although very ugly looking) shot, and his range, especially given his size, will certainly turn scouts heads. However, he really lacks size, especially for the four. He really has a lot of work to do in order to truly fit the mold to play either forward position at the next level.

Shurna’s 1,150 points over the last two seasons are the second most in consecutive campaigns in school history. He tallied a Northwestern single-season record 619 points as a sophomore while earning second-team All-Big Ten honors. Along the way, he was named the nation’s Most Improved Player by Sporting News.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of Walter Football.com. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Yardbarker, Fox Sports, and Chicagoland Sports Radio.com

He does a regular guest spot each week for Facebook You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank and Facebook

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