Northwestern’s John Shurna named to Wooden Award Watch List

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Despite the departure of star forward Kevin Coble, things are looking up for the Northwestern hoops program. When was the last time a Wildcat player was named to the Wooden Award watch list? Evan Eschmeyer during one of his 12 years of college eligibility? Jim Stack in the 1960s?

Well you can add junior forward John Shurna to the list.

By Paul M. Banks

The Glen Ellyn, Illinois (Glenbard West) native has been named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 list. The list is comprised of 50 student-athletes who, based on last year’s individual performance and team records, are the early front-runners for college basketball’s most prestigious honor.

Shurna was a second-team All-Big Ten selection last season, pacing the Wildcats with averages of 18.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. His 619 points set a Northwestern single-season record and helped the team to a program-best 20 victories and its second straight appearance in the National Invitation Tournament.

Shurna’s scoring average ranked third overall in the Big Ten, while his norm of 20.1 points per game in conference play were one point shy of surpassing Ohio State’s Evan Turner (you know, the MOST WRITTEN/BLOGGED about individual in TSB history) for the scoring title.

In 2009-10, Shurna was named the nation’s Most Improved Player by Sporting News.

This summer he competed in Las Vegas as a member of the United States Select Team which helped the USA National Team train for the FIBA World Championships where the squad eventually won the gold medal.

Transfers, freshmen and medical redshirts are not eligible for the preseason list. These players and others who excel throughout the season will be evaluated and considered for December’s Midseason list and the official voting ballot released in March. The National Ballot consists of approximately 20 top players who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA. The Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced the week of the “Elite Eight” round during the NCAA Tournament.

Shurna and Wildcats host Robert Morris (Ill.) in an exhibition game Nov. 4 before opening the regular season Nov. 12 at Northern Illinois. Northwestern returns four starters and 12 letterwinners from last year’s squad.

Paul M. Banks is President and CEO of Fox Sports.com , a Midwest focused webzine. He is also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Chicago Tribune’s blog network, Walter Football.com, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com

He also does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports Radio.com

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank

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