Basketball news to feel good about

OK, so right now there is not a lot to feel good about when it comes to basketball. The team probably will not know the extent to Jared Swopshire and Alex Olah’s injuries until later in the day and may not even release much information before Thursday’s game against Ohio State. After the 16-point loss at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, things look pretty bleak for Northwestern.

Because we are all about positivity and spreading Wildcat-aganda, it is about time we find some good basketball news to talk about. Nostalgia is nice, right?

It is time to check in on our favorite professional basketball players. And since they are not in the NBA, we have to do a little digging to find them.

John Shurna did not get a contract from the Knicks after his training camp invite. He has spent his year in France playing for Strasbourg IG along with former NBA draft pick and French star Alexis Ajinca.

Shurna is averaging 8.5 points per game in 11 appearances for his team. He is shooting 47.7 percent from beyond the arc (21 for 44). That is a big boost off the bench, playing about 20 minutes per game for Strasbourg, for a team that is currently second in the ProA Standings in France. Shurna has been pretty solid for Strasbourg and even cracked the starting lineup recently.

Shurna joined the team back in November, and according to ProA League’s Web site, his contract will actually expire February 17 (one week from today!). I imagine there was some thought of potentially trying to come back to the NBA, but seeing how successful he and his team have been, I would suspect Shurna finishes the year in France.

Shurna recently scored 14 points in 23 minutes off the bench in an 85-73 win over Le Mans on Jan. 26. His season-high is 19 points in his lone start of the year on Dec. 28 in a 73-66 win over Chalon/Saone. Shurna put in a familiar performance, playing all 40 minutes and hitting 7 of his 11 field goal attempts.

Meanwhile Michael Thompson is still in France, joining Shurna in the ProA League.

Thompson plays for Lyon-Villeurbanne, who is in fifth place in the league. Thompson has played and started in 19 games this season, averaging 7.1 points per game and 2.8 assists per game. He is shooting 43.8 percent from the floor. His season high was a 19-point effort in a 78-72 loss to Poitiers where he shot 7 for 10 from the floor.

For those asking, Lyon played Strasbourg once already before Shurna had joined the Strabourg rotation. Both teams are currently in the quarterfinals of the DisneyLand Paris Leaders Cup. The two are set to play each other on April 6. We may have to find a French stream for that game.

You can follow Juice on his Website if you are interested in seeing what he is up to.

Finally, Kevin Coble is playing in Japan this year for the Sendai 89ers. The team is currently 10-16 and near the bottom of the Eastern Conference. However, Coble has had his stat page removed from the BJ League’s stats page and he is no longer listed on Sendai’s roster. Coble has played recently, however. He scored eight points in a 74-71 win over Albirex BB on Jan. 12.

Coble played in 24 games for the 89ers, averaging 13.0 points per game and shooting 38.4 percent from the floor. Coble has not played since that game on Jan. 12 and appears to have been let go or injured. His name is in grey on the team’s statistics page on the BJ League’s Web site. Can’t quite figure out what that means.

Best of luck to our three professional ballplayers.

  • Thanks for the diversion PRR. I recently requested an interview with Shurna through NU. Stay tuned.

  • labcat1

    More Shurna good news. His last game he scored 17 points (top scorer) in less than 17 minutes off the bench in a Coupe de France tournament game 2/5. His Strasbourg team is 10-2 (all games) since his arrival and they have won their last 9 straight. I have been trying to find a video feed of the sport+ TV network because his Monday game and Leader’s Cup tournament are being televised, but I have not had any luck. (Help appreciated). You can follow a live text feed of the game at and his team’s website is His contract expires 2/17 because he is a medical leave replacement, but Strasbourg would like to keep him if they can find the money. Fun to keep following our favorite Cats.

  • Coble was released by Sendai on Monday, January 14. Sendai was overloaded with forwards and Coble didn’t rebound or score as much as a couple of other guys on their team.

  • Stephen Zgrabik

    Funny, if short, story from ESPN Big Ten blog:

    “Pat Fitzgerald’s high school taunting

    It was funny. I was at a high school in a hallway talking with a family. All of a sudden, one of the kids comes walking by and sees me and goes, “Hey, go Penn State!” One of his buddies then goes, “Be quiet, that guy’s going to kick your butt.” I just said, “Keep walking.” So we have a lot of fun with some of the high school kids.”

  • PurpleHayes

    This comment doesn’t fit the story, only the title (“….To Feel Good About”). Was it just me, or did any other Wildcat diehard feel a little tinge of schadenfreude when Brust’s half-court shot for Wisconsin went in to tie the game on Saturday, and Wisconsin became an improbable winner in OT? The comparison to the Northwestern/Michigan football game in November, and the 50-yard Hail Mary to Roundtree, came immediately to mind. Remember, Wolverines, you live by the sword…

  • jb

    Real hard for to me care about coble – after skipping out on his senior year, abandoning his teamates and undermining our best ever chance at making the big dance. Morally he’s Rex Walters to me.

    • PDXCat

      Thanks for that. Couldn’t agree more.