But the chance to actually play against Shurna, as Nate Taphorn recently did, makes the Wildcats even more attractive. Taphorn, a 6-foot-6 junior forward from Pekin (Ill.) Community High School, holds an offer from the Wildcats and head coach Bill Carmody.
"I guarded Shurna in open gym, and the way he plays amazes me," said Taphorn, who visited Northwestern a couple weeks ago. He got the chance to compete against and befriend the Wildcats' all-time leading scorer. Taphorn currently plays for Shurna's former AAU team, the Illinois Wolves.
"Talking to [Shurna] about where he's going now and everything he did at Northwestern was nice," Taphorn added. "I can see myself doing the same things he did, maybe getting internships over the summer and just building friendships with everyone at the school."
During his visit, Taphorn and his family spent time with Northwestern associate head coach Tavaras Hardy, who gave them a personal tour of the school. Taphorn capped off his trip by meeting with administration and visiting the campus beach, and Northwestern's total package really stood out.
"Northwestern is a very prestigious school, I knew that coming in," said Taphorn. "It was all amazing to me, and it's a really nice campus. I want to keep my eye on them for a while and try and grow a close relationship with Coach Carmody and Coach Hardy."
Often lining up against bigger players on the AAU circuit, Taphorn will spend his summer getting stronger and working on his defense to go along with his already-deadly three-point stroke. Looking forward to his senior season at Pekin, Taphorn plans to commit to a school in the fall, before high school play begins.
"Hopefully I can decide before the season, so I can just be a basketball player and not worry about where I'm going," said Taphorn. "I'd like to decide early and relax through the whole thing. That way, I can focus on my studies and just keep getting better."