Shurna Took His Shot, Fate Out Of His Hands

First things first. Matt Grevers qualified for his second Olympic games with a stunning 52.08 time in the 100-meter backstroke. It is one of the fastest times in that event’s history. With Aaron Peirsol retiring from the Olympics, Grevers is the favorite to turn his silver from Beijing into gold. Congratulations Matt on taking the next step to accomplishing that incredible feat!

Another Northwestern alum has a chance to do something that is incredibly rare in Northwestern history. Like, something that has only occurred 14 times in NBA history, and has not happened since 2000. In fact, Evan Eschmeyer is the only Northwestern player to crack the NBA in 26 years — Billy McKinney’s 1979-1986 run of 476 games is the longest tenure for a Northwestern player in the league’s history.

John Shurna has a long way to go to reach Billy McKinney status in that respect. But we said that after Shurna’s freshman year and, well, look what he did.

Thursday is a big day for John Shurna. Years of work and months of practice and work outs will culminate to some degree in Newark, N.J. It will not be the end of Shurna’s journey, but it will be a major step in his basketball-playing future.

Shurna has put the work in and has shown what he can do. His fate rests with the 30 general managers and NBA teams.

His latest individual workout is a thing of legends. Shurna reportedly hit 36 of 40 3-pointers during his individual workout with the Bucks. And then, in pure John Shurna fashion, he shrugged the feat off.

“You’re trying to make every one you shoot, right?” Shurna quipped when asked about it.

Indeed you are, John, indeed you are. But Shurna’s shooting is the one skill NBA scouts knows he has. It is his elite skill and the one that will get him an NBA roster spot at least for Summer League in Las Vegas (or Orlando… or both).

The question we all want to know is whether Shurna will hear his name called Thursday night for the Draft. That would be something.

It still seems like a dream that is far off. DraftExpress and still do not have Shurna in their full draft predictions. Neither does Marc Stein of

Somehow, it does not seem like Shurna cares much about this. Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune probably wrote it best to describe Shurna’s preparation for the Draft these last few months:


“I put on the Bulls jersey and it was a dream come true,” Shurna said. “I was telling Mr. Paxson how I was such a big Bulls fan from the early ‘90s.”


That’s Shurna. If he makes the NBA, he will lead the league in gee-whiz and immediately make the league a nicer place. He’s incapable of completing an interview without asking, twice: “How’s everything with you?”


Again, quintessential John Shurna.

The long work for Shurna is not anywhere close to over. He would still have to make a roster if he gets drafted. He still has to show that he can keep up with the athletic wing players and the stronger post players of the NBA. While Shurna did show improved strength and drew some raves for that improvement in individual workouts, NBA scouts clearly want to see more. Otherwise we would be talking about which team will draft Shurna rather than whether he will get drafted at all.

His shooting though will be the reason he will continue to get a look at the NBA and will find a roster spot somewhere in the basketball world. It is simply too good for every team to pass up three or four times. Shurna will have his chance.

For now, the first part of that dream is out of his hands. We will have to wait and see what the future has in store for Northwestern’s all-time leading scorer.

  • Chasmo

    Believe it or not, Shurna’s chances of making a final NBA roster in November might improve if he is NOT drafted.
    The NBA draft used to be several rounds long and while there were fewer teams at the time, it still resulted in more players being drafted. The players pushed for fewer rounds because they realized that would give players coming out of college more freedom to pick a team that had a real need for their talents and thereby increasing their chances of making the team.
    If Shurna is one of the last players drafted in the second round by teams with the talent level of the Heat or Spurs or Thunder who are just taking him because they felt he was the best player left on the board, his chances of making the team are low.
    However if he signs as a free agent with teams with the talent level of Charlotte or Brooklyn or Washington, his chances improve.
    Shurna is not good enough for lousy teams to waste a draft pick on. He would be a perfect free agent signing for them.
    Most NBA teams these days have one or two guys on the roster who were not drafted. If Shurna can sign with the right team, he just might have a chance to be another one.

  • Chris

    Good Luck John! You are now in control of your destiny.

  • cece

    wherever he goes, whatever he does, John Shurna will always be the nicest and most present guy in the room. not only good at his sport, but always fun to be around as he watched others play sports.