Northwestern sophomore-to-be John Shurna was selected to the U19 USA National Team Thursday. One of 17 players to try out, Shurna was named to the 12-man roster after a three-day trial in Colorado Springs.
The team will stay in Colorado Springs until June 25 to continue training for the 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship, a 16-team tournament taking place in Auckland, New Zealand from July 2-12.
"It's just a tremendous honor and opportunity to represent your country," Shurna said. "Going against the best competition in the world – as far as basketball goes, I don't think you can ask for much more."
As a true freshman last season for NU, the 6-foot-8, 210-pound Shurna was fourth on the team in points and third in rebounds, averaging 7.3 and three, respectively. He had a season high of 20 and scored in double figures in eight games. Shurna had the second best field goal percentage of any regular last season at 46.6, he led the team in offensive rebounds and was second in blocks.
"Everyone here is extremely talented," Shurna said. "We all just gave our best effort. I just played as hard as I could and left it all out there."
Some of the notable names joining Shurna on the team – coached by Pitt's Jamie Dixon – are Kansas' Tyshawn Taylor, Duke's Seth Curry and Ashton Gibbs of Pittsburgh. No other Big Ten players were elected to the team.
"It's been a great experience, great to be a part of," said Dixon, who will be flanked on the bench by Chris Lowery of Southern Illinois and Matt Painter of Purdue. "A lot of kids playing hard and out here for the right reasons and giving up their summer to play in this event. And I think they understand the importance of it. I feel very fortunate to be a part of it."