Top basketball players of the century: Boys No. 6, John Shurna of Glenbard West

  • Glenbard West's John Shurna reacts after a basket late in a 2008 game against Naperville Central.

    Glenbard West's John Shurna reacts after a basket late in a 2008 game against Naperville Central. Daily Herald File Photo

 
 
Updated 6/1/2020 3:07 PM

Editors note: The Daily Herald is counting down the Top Ten boys and girls basketball players of the century in our coverage area. We continue today with No. 6 -- John Shurna of Glenbard West and Darrione Rogers of Lake Park.

John Shurna never ceased to amaze.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

At 6-foot-8, maybe 200 pounds soaking wet, and not a mean bone in his body, the Glenbard West superstar diced defenses to score the basketball and grab rebounds.

No trees were too tall, no double-team too thick to deny Shurna's inevitable double-double, with a few blocked shots to boot.

He credited hard practices under coach Lee Maciejewski, whose "football coach-type mentality" was aided by real football types like brothers Kevin and Chris Watt, Nate Burrows and Brandon Venson, and 6-8 Duncan Lawson.

"Going against those big, physical guys in practice, I think those were probably the toughest matchups, no real fouls called, and you tried to hold your own," Shurna said.

Hold his own? He held Hilltoppers records for scoring and rebounding when he graduated in 2008.

As a junior he averaged 19.2 points and 10.3 rebounds to lead Glenbard West to its first sectional title since 1938, in Maciejewski's finale.

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Under Tim Hoder as a senior, Shurna averaged 22.9 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.2 blocks. He earned Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Class 3A/4A first-team all-state, won the Class 4A slam dunk championship and was named captain of the Daily Herald DuPage All-Area Boys Basketball Team.

At Northwestern, Shurna unleashed his 3-point shooting skills to set its career scoring record, which still stands, plus records for 3s and blocks.

As a senior he was an Associated Press All-American, the first Wildcat to lead the Big Ten in scoring since 1951. Shurna was inducted into the Northwestern Athletic Hall of Fame in 2017.

He's now in his eighth year playing overseas, with Herbalife Gran Canaria in the Spanish Liga ACB, whose season resumes June 17.

Married July 5, 2019, to high school classmate Mallory Livingston, the couple's first baby is due in August.

Shurna will have a lot to tell that child.

"It's memories of playing with your friends, the people you grew up with, and also having the support of the student body. A lot of fun memories," he said.

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