EVANSTON, Ill. – Northwestern senior John Shurna is likely one game away from breaking the school’s career scoring record, but he’d be fine with never reaching it if the Wildcats achieved something else.
“I think I’d like to say I’ve never focused on individual goals from the start,” Shurna said Friday. “It’s not a big deal for me. If I don’t score the rest of the season and we win the rest of the games, I’d be even more happy. I just want to go out there and win games.”
It’s a nice statement to say when the cameras are rolling, but not all players would mean it. Shurna’s close friend and teammate Drew Crawford assured everyone Shurna’s statements weren’t artificial.
“Being the leading scorer in school history is a huge accomplishment,” Crawford said. “I think what’s more impressive is that it doesn’t matter to him. He just really cares about the win column.
“I know how Johnny feels about it. He just wants to win. That’s really just shows what kind of teammate he is. He’s a great guy, great teammate. He honestly couldn’t care less about beating the record.”
Either way, the record will likely fall against Minnesota on Saturday. Shurna needs 17 points to surpass all-time leader Billy McKinney’s record of 1,900 points, which was set from 1974-77.
For Shurna, 17 points would be an off-day as of late. In the last five games, Shurna has averaged 25.6 points a game. He’s averaging 20.3 points for the season.
“Johnny definitely does have a killer instinct,” Crawford said. “It just looks different than other people. He just has fun while doing it. The last few games he’s been playing great. It shows it’s really coming out at the end of the season.”
Northwestern coach Bill Carmody doesn’t think the record or the spotlight would get to Shurna come Saturday.
“Generally speaking, I’d say he doesn’t like to be the center of the attention,” Carmody said. “He sort of deflects it a little bit. That’s why he’s such a likeable guy, I think. It won’t affect him once the game starts.”