NBA Draft Blog Interview with John Shurna

While truly great NBA teams are regularly built on star-power, what usually separate them from other teams are highly-skilled players who can fill multiple roles.  The ability to be, on any given night, a scorer, rebounder, defender, passer, or all of them at once, is rare, but the recent rise in Northwestern hoops can be attributed majorly to a player just like this. John Shurna may not be physically imposing or the fastest player you have seen, but he knows how to play basketball at a very high level.  His stat line (averages of 20 points, over 5 rebounds, almost 3 assists, and over a steal and block per game) would be the envy of most, but it is how he did it that is more impressive.  At 6’9, he can play around the basket, but he is also a deadly 3-point shooter.  And while not very fast, he defended multiple positions and used his knowledge of the little things to his advantage.  He played a vital role in Northwestern’s 76 wins and 4 straight NIT appearances, which are even more impressive when you look at their basketball history.  I had the chance to talk to John recently about his game, playing in the Big 10, and more:

John on his development at Northwestern:

“I became a better overall basketball player, making my game complete all-around.  I learned how to play in different match-ups, handle the ball more effectively, and improved my shooting.  I love to compete and being in that environment really worked well for me.”


John on his strengths as a player: 

“Shooting definitely, but also I love to compete and I love to win.  Because of that, I always try to make the little plays that make a difference, and also bring a lot of energy and effort when I step on the court.”


John on what parts of his game he still wants to improve:

“Defensively, I will need to make some adjustments because of the strength and speed of the players at the next level.  I am working on increasing my foot speed and continuing to work out against NBA level competition as much as I can.”


John on what role he could fill immediately at the next level:

“I can come in and be an energy guy off the bench, knocking shots down from the perimeter.  Whatever plays I can make to help the team win, I will go out there and do that.”


John on the talk around how he shoots the ball:

“It’s just the way I have always shot the ball, back to when I started shooting on one of those Lil’ Tyke hoops.  I’m not concerned about talk that I could have trouble getting my shot off at the NBA level.  I have faced a lot of very good and different players, and I could always get my shot off.  I am competitor, so I will find a way to make it happen.”


John on how competing in the Big 10 shaped his game:

“I think it really helped me develop as a player.  I had to face very tough competition every night.  I had to be at the top of my game and focused every game, and playing against so many great players, made me improve as a player as well.”


John on what he wants teams and fans to know about him:

“I have proven a lot and have had a very successful career so far.  I was part of the winningest class in Northwestern history.  I love to win and I love to compete, and I am never satisfied.  I can always work on getting better, and will do everything I can to help my team win.”


I want to thank John for his time and I wish him the best of luck as he looks to fulfill his dream of getting to the NBA.  John was often overshadowed by the bigger “Will Northwestern make the NCAA Tournament” story, but realistically, the story probably wouldn’t have existed without his play during his college career.  As an all-around player, there may not be many better than John in this class.  A look at the numbers tell part of the story, but watch some Northwestern games and the amount of times you hear his name being said, in just about any situation, is astounding.  He knows the game very well and he knows what he needs to do on any particular play to help the team.  No matter who he plays for in the future, I know John will be doing what he can to make that team a winner.


Check back in the coming weeks for more great interviews and scouting reports as we head towards the 2012 NBA Draft.  Follow me on Twitter – @NBADraftBlog – for updates, leave your comments below, or feel free to email me at