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    Shurna Heads to Colorado for World University Games Training Camp

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    John Shurna has been here before. Very few basketball players are fortunate enough during their careers to have the opportunity to represent the United States once on the hardwood, but as the NU rising senior heads to Colorado Springs, Colo., this weekend for tryouts for the World University Games it marks the third consecutive season that he'll have the chance to don the Red, White and Blue.

    Shurna is one of 20 individuals who will be competing to earn the 12 roster spots for next month's event in Shenzhen, China. Unlike many of the others making their way to the U.S. Olympic Training Center, this won't be a new experience for Shurna. Two years ago, he was a member of the USA team that captured the gold medal at the FIBA Under-19 World Championship in New Zealand. He then earned a return invite from USA Basketball during the summer of 2010, competing as a member of the USA Select Team of collegiate players who trained against the USA National Team en route to their winning the FIBA World Championship in Turkey.

    To put Shurna's experience playing for USA Basketball into perspective, Syracuse guard Scoop Jardine is the only other player at camp who was a member of the Select Team last summer. Pittsburgh guard Ashton Gibbs and Kentucky guard Darius Miller are the only other two individuals beside Shurna at camp who were members of the Under-19 squad.

    Few could debate the notion that the opportunity to play for USA Basketball has helped Shurna become the player that he is today. Following a solid freshman season during which he averaged 7.3 points per game, he took his game to another level in 2009-10, vaulting his scoring average to 18.2 points per game while earning second-team All-Big Ten honors. He began his junior year playing at an All-America level before being slowed by an ankle injury and was still able to earn third-team All-Big Ten accolades. 

    The fact that Purdue head coach Matt Painter is serving as the head coach of the World University Games team likely can't hurt Shurna's case to make the team. Painter hasn't only had the opportunity to see Shurna compete against his Boilermakers in Big Ten play, he also served as an assistant coach for the USA Under-19 team back in 2009.

    Shurna is being joined by two other Big Ten players at this weekend's tryouts as forwards Draymond Green of Michigan State and Trevor Mbakwe of Minnesota are also making the trip to Colorado. Wisconsin guard Jordan Taylor was invited to try out but was forced to withdraw due to injury.

    The squad is set to have one practice Friday evening, two sessions on Saturday and one more on Sunday morning before the finalists are selected. Those who remain will continue to practice through Aug. 7 before departing for China the following day. Competition at the 2011 World University Games is slated to run from Aug. 13-22. Of the four groups in the tournament, the United States is in Group D along with Finland, Hungary, Israel, Mexico and South Korea.

    For more information, please visit the USA Basketball website.

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