A Northwestern player winning the Big Ten Silver Basketball award? We’re a long way off from that and there’s a ton of college basketball left to be played, but it might just happen. NU junior forward John Shurna (Glen Ellyn, Ill./Glenbard West) earned his second Big Ten Men’s Basketball Player of the Week honor this season and the fourth of his career.
Shurna led the undefeated Wildcats to a pair of victories last week, averaging 27 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2 blocked shots per game. He shot 76 percent from the field in the contests in helping Northwestern to its first 7-0 start since the 1993-94 season.
Shurna leads the Big Ten and ranks ninth nationally with an average of 23.7 points per game. He’s also third in the nation with a .622 3-point field goal percentage and sixth with an overall field goal percentage of .643.
Shurna is certainly one of the most underrated players in the nation this season. He’s doing great things on the court, but not really receiving much hype. Last year he started to break out a little during the preconference, and when NU won the Chicago Invitational, the team’s first tournament championship in 16 years, I asked NU Head Coach Bill Carmody what the key was to John’s growth.
“Coaching,” he responded jokingly before continuing “Nah, seriously we was underrated when he came out of high school.”
Another reporter asked if Shurna might start to develop a big head after scoring 23 and 25 points on back-to-back nights against top notch competition in the Chicago Invitational. Coach had a candid and hilariously unique reply. “No, he’s such a humble kid. It’s hard to get that kid to be confident. You know that guy, he looks like he’s 14 years old. He’s a little goofy, God bless him.”
Shurna’s 10-for-11 (.909) performance from the field in Monday’s 81-65 win over Long Island ranks as a tie for the second-best single-game effort in school history. He tallied 26 points in the contest to go along with seven rebounds and a career-high seven assists.
In Thursday’s 78-62 victory over American, Shurna scored 28 points and surpassed the 1,000 career point mark in the process. He was the 31st in Wildcat in school history to reach the mark, and just the 17th to do so in three seasons.
Northwestern returns to action at 6 p.m. Central time Monday facing St. Francis (N.Y.) on the opening day of the Madison Square Garden Holiday Festival. On Tuesday, they’ll face either St. John’s or Davidson.
By the way, this is a pretty funny video, it’s Shurna and teammate Michael “Juice” Thompson doing our job at Big Ten Media Day. Highlights include Jon Leuer (jokingly) saying that Juice is the dirtiest player in the conference and also Shurna’s comments: “chances Juice will be asked about Kevin Coble- 95%, chances he’ll be asked about the NCAA Tournament- 100%”
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest webzine. He’s also a regular contributor to the Tribune’s Chicago Now network, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com
You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank
He also does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports Radio.com
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