|NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Northwestern F John Shurna||06.14.12 at 6:16 am ET|
As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2012 NBA draft, we are profiling all players considered likely candidates to be drafted June 28. The Celtics own three picks: 21, 22 (from the Thunder in the Kendrick Perkins trade) and 51.
Position: Small forward/power forward
Weight: 210 pounds
Achievements: 2012 AP All-America honorable mention, 2012 All-Big Ten first team, 2011 All-Big Ten second team, 2011 Sporting News Most Improved Player, finished first in Northwestern history in career points (2,038), career games played (130) and career blocked shots (136)
Key 2011-12 stats: 20.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, 44.0 3P%, 1.66 blocks, 37.3 minutes
What he brings: Shurna is the prototypical player at the NBA level who can come off screens and hit 3-pointers with regularity. Shurna was asked to be “the man” at Northwestern and succeeded, leading the team in scoring year in and year out, but will no doubt take a step back at the next level. Because of the thinness of the Northwestern frontcourt, Shurna was forced into a power forward role, but he’ll need to bulk up a little if he wants to do that in the NBA. He’ll likely be used as a small forward.
In addition to putting on weight, Shurna will need to redefine his ball-handling ability if he wants to become anything more than a 3-point specialist in the NBA. He doesn’t possess a quick first step, and although he was able to get by defenders in college, he likely won’t have that same success at the next level. While his ball-handling does lack, Shurna does plenty of work off the ball through cutting to the rim and receiving passes for easy looks inside, something NBA scouts will be pleased to see.
Shurna will need to put on some weight to hold his own defensively, especially against bigger and stronger NBA athletes. His quickness is not something that can be easily improved, so he may be a liability on the defensive end, but his shot-blocking ability (first in blocks in school history) can be something to build on.
Where the Celtics could get him: Shurna expected to be picked in the middle of the second round, so he might be available when the Celtics pick at 51.
Notes: Shurna was plugged immediately into a starting role when he entered college as he started all 31 games as a true freshman. He led the team shooting 46.6 percent from the field and was second on the team with 18 blocks. … Further illustrating Shurna’s 3-point shooting ability, he won the 2012 College 3-Point shootout in March. He sunk nine of his final 10 shots in the final round to beat Temple guard Juan Hernandez and claim the championship. … Following his junior season, Shurna decided to leave school and enter the NBA draft, but he ultimately changed his mind and returned for his senior year.
Video: Here’s a look at some of Shurna’s most memorable moments during his career at Northwestern.