Juice Thompson bests John Shurna in France

While everyone was prepping for a fantastic Louisville-Michigan game Monday, there was a battle of the greatest, if you will, for Northwestern going on in France. Michael Thompson’s Asvel Lyon-Villeurbane defeated John Shurna’s Strasbourg AIG on Monday 84-81. The win helped Asvel Lyon-Villeurbane clinch a Playoff spot and was a big upset over the second-place Strasbourg.

Thompson scored nine points and four assists, hitting 2 for 5 of his shots and making 5 of his 7 free throws in 19 minutes. Shurna played 20 minutes and scored six points on 2-for-3 3-point shooting. He also grabbed five rebounds. Both played very well in this really competitive game — the first time the former Northwestern stars played against each other.

You will see Juice a few times in these highlights, and Strasbourg clearly made a mistake having Alexis Ajinca shoot for the game-tying 3-pointer with Shurna in the paint jockeying for the rebound.

The two met up after the game as Thompson posted on his Instagram page.

It was very clearly a big win for Thompson’s team in clinching a spot in the Playoffs. Thompson is averaging 11.0 points per game and 3.0 assists per game. Shurna has had a big year too, averaging 8.5 points per game and shooting 49.1 percent from the floor and 48.1 percent from beyond the arc. He has been a big player coming off the bench as a floor spreader and 3-point shooter. He certainly seems like he will earn some invite to a NBA Summer League roster.

Both should actually.

This is Shurna’s first year in the France ProA League and professional basketball. It has been a good year for him and Shurna still hopes to get back to the U.S. and play in the NBA.

Sean Merriman of BTN.com caught up with Shurna for a Q&A last week talking about his first year in France and playing at Northwestern:


BTN.com: Now that you have been overseas for a while and seem to have developed a bit of a feel for everything, is this something that you would like to stick with, or is the ultimate goal to make an NBA roster one day?


Shurna: I think my goal is to ultimately compete at the highest level possible, and I believe that is in the NBA. I’d like to keep playing this game as long as I can continue to improve and play at a high level. I’m not sure how long that is, but right now, I’m really enjoying myself at the moment because basketball is a game I really enjoy.


Since I went to Northwestern, I am fortunate because of its prestige and everything I learned while I was there. That allows me to have great opportunities outside of basketball. But as it stands right now, I’d like to keep playing as long as the game is still enjoyable.


Shurna should continue to get his chance and he has clearly made some impact in France and overseas. Northwestern should have a couple of pro basketball players for some time to come.