Ask John Shurna where he’s living these days, and the Glen Ellyn native will reply, “The airport.”
Northwestern’s all-time leading scorer will have worked out for 13 teams by Thursday’s NBA draft. He missed graduation to show his game to the L.A. Clippers. He nailed 36 of 40 from 3-point range for the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday.
Not that he was all that impressed with himself: “You’re trying to make every one you shoot, right?”
Last week he hit the Berto Center in an effort to impress coach Tom Thibodeau and execs Gar Forman and John Paxson.
“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?”
But the NBA is for big studs, not nice guys, and the 6-foot-9, 222-pound Shurna hopes his four years in coach Bill Carmody’s Princeton offense will show he belongs.
“I think sometimes you get labeled as a system guy but in this system you have to dribble, pass, shoot and read defenders,” he said. “I think it shows that I’m a well-rounded player with a strong skill set and plenty of room for potential.”
Shurna switched to center in mid-season and finished third in the Big Ten in blocked shots, at 1.6 per game. But to make it in the league, he’ll probably have to be able to guard perimeter players.
DraftExpress.com ranks him 70thamong draft-eligible NBA prospects, and ESPN.com has him 80th with the analysis: “For a team that needs a shooter late in the second round, he might be worth the risk.
DraftExpress said his “best case” comparison is Steve Novak.
One NBA talent evaluator told the Tribune that Shurna could find a home in the league because he “has a skill”: shooting.
Another said he sees a parallel between Shurna and Notre Dame alum Matt Carroll, who has logged 458 games over nine NBA seasons, shooting 38.4 percent from downtown.
Shurna will watch the draft with his family, saying he’s hopeful a team will view him as “a versatile player that’s willing to do anything to help the team win.”