John Shurna Signs with Knicks!

Northwestern will have a player in the NBA when training camps open next month for the first time since Evan Eschmeyer retired. Howard Beck of the New York Times reports John Shurna has signed a one-year, partially guaranteed deal with the New York Knicks. Ian Begley of ESPN New York reports that it is a minimum deal that will become fully guaranteed should Shurna remain on the roster past January 10.

Either way, this is a fantastic opportunity for Shurna and an offense that could really fit his skills. New York treasures shooters in whatever remnants of Mike D’Antoni’s free-wheeling offense. More than that though, the Knicks need shooters to spread the floor around Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. Steve Novak, a similar player, found a lot of success in that offense last season. Shurna will certainly help if he can step up his defense and find a way onto the opening night roster.

Nothing is guaranteed. The Knicks have 16 players under contract and two other guys on partially guaranteed deals. Shurna will have to fight his way onto the roster. Teams can carry a maximum of 15 players.

Shurna is capable. Everyone has been doubting him his entire playing career, but he has silenced a lot of those doubters with consistently strong performances in the Big Ten. Last year, he had a career year posting 20.0 points per game and shooting 46.3 percent from the floor and 40.0 percent from beyond the arc. Those are incredibly good numbers for a player relied on so much to create offense. He should be able to fit into a role for the Knicks even if he does not have the ball in his hands as much as he did in Northwestern.

This is somewhat surprising after he struggled playing for the Hawks in Summer League. Shurna scored only 3.8 points per game in 15.5 minutes per game during the five-game run in Las Vegas. He shot 31.6 percent from the floor and 41.7 percent from beyond the arc. It was not an encouraging showing.

But obviously he was better than that in his four years at Northwestern and probably in practices with Atlanta (he started three of those five games after all). He will have a chance to prove himself again in training camp.

And Shurna is not afraid of the spotlight. In two games at Madison Square Garden in 2010, Shurna scored 27.0 points per game and shot 59.4 percent from the field and 7 for 12 from beyond the arc. He will not be afraid of the bright lights of the Garden.

So good luck, John! Even those that cannot stand the Knicks among the Northwestern contingent will be cheering for you!

Oh, and in other news, Michael Thompson signed with France’s Le Havre. Congrats to Juice too, we will follow you in France this year!┬áKevin Coble also has signed with a team in Japan.

  • Mark

    Congrats to John! Back to football: NU’s notes on BC posted on NU website says 37 of 44 on the two deep are underclassmen. Both kickers are Jr.s. Things are looking up.

  • cece

    congratulations to the talented and super nice John Shurna, a hard nosed player on the court, and a super fan in the stands of women’s hoops and lacrosse. watching him enter half time contests and having a blast like everyone else was almost as good as watching him in action on the court. can’t cheer for the Knicks, but will cheer for John. greatest of good luck, John! and good luck to the other players in pro hoops.

  • LouisM

    The Knicks are very very lucky to have John. May they use his talents wisely and prosper. Congradulations John!

  • Jimgocats93

    Go John!
    Just voted that I was with Fitz – gotta get to 1-0 this week. But really I want to think 7-0 going into Nebraska!
    Anybody with me?


  • Leland

    What a great story, Phillip. I am so happy for John. There is not another young man who is more deserving. He is a wonderful person and a great BBall player. However, how can you sully a great article with reference to Kevin Coble. He sold out the NU team when he left–oh my left foot. He is not a Wildcat and never really was. Juice–go for it. Best of luck..always loved seeing you play.

    • It was a news note that we have not addressed yet. Coble is still an alumnus and, most importantly, he graduated. He will always be a part of the Northwestern family. I think everyone forgets how good he really was. He just didn’t have a killer instinct. I wish him luck. Kevin is a really cool guy, I enjoyed watching him play. No hard feelings from me.

  • rhett

    I’ve never been so excited for preseason basketball.