Northwestern hoops check on Alex Olah and John Shurna
We will get back to more Big Ten Media Days and preparing for football season which is amazingly right around the corner. But I need a basketball aside.
Whatever little basketball we have to watch this summer has quickly come to an end. The NBA’s Summer League concluded Monday and FIBA EuroBasket is getting set to start, meaning all the junior national team competitions are coming to an end if they have not ended already.
Northwestern had a few guys of interest playing basketball this summer that we want to check in on right now:
Alex Olah was notably not in that Chris Collins’ “First 100 Days” video we have posted numerous times as he was playing for Romania as they hosted Division B of the FIBA U20 European Championship. Olah, as Kevin Trahan of InsideNU noted, put up some decent numbers in the early part of the tournament.
Olah averaged 16.8 points and 9.1 rebounds per game in 32.1 minutes per game during Romania’s eight-game run through the tournament. He shot 44.9 percent from the floor. Olah’s tournament included an 18-point, 22-rebound performance against Luxembourg and 21 points and nine rebounds against Slovak Republic. Olah at least statistically seemed to be back to his hook-shotting, scoring ways that made him such an interesting prospect entering his freshman year.
It never really clicked last year at Northwestern for him. Hopefully a new coach and a new system will help Olah unlock what made him so successful this summer playing for his national team. Also, it probably also helped to average 13 field goal attempts per game. Having the ball helps a lot. And the low field goal percentage for a center does not bode well for him coming back to the states and being able to dominate the low post.
Confidence is always a good thing though.
Romania finished 2-3 and fourth in Group A before finishing seventh or eighth in the tournament classification.
John Shurna signed up for another year of Summer League as he played with the Milwaukee Bucks in Las Vegas this past week. Shurna appeared in five games and averaged 18.2 minutes per game, including one start. Shurna’s shooting reputation certainly preceded him. He scored 9.4 points per game and shot 46.2 percent from beyond the arc, but only 38.2 percent from the floor. The majority of his makes were 3-pointers and he posted a 55.9 percent effective field goal percentage.
Again, nobody doubts Shurna’s 3-point shooting ability. He obviously can compete in the NBA with his shooting. The question for Shurna will continue to be what kind of defense he can play. That still looked to need some improvement to get to the NBA level. Shurna may never be a top-end defender, but he certainly has to continue working to improve in this area.
As teams finalize their rosters in the next month or so, we will see if Shurna gets another training camp invite.