So tonight, John Shurna will compete in something called the 2012 Hampton Hotels 3-Point Championship in New Orleans, as a thing for ESPN to show since it's two days before the Final Four and they need stuff to show, I guess. I've watched this event officially once: when Craig Moore competed in it three years ago. You see, the NBA has the awesome All-Star Saturday, with the 3-point shootout and Slam Dunk Competition and all that stuff, but the NCAA doesn't have an all-star weekend, you know, because it's amateur, and instead we have this, with a 3-point shootout, slam dunk contest, and a women's 3-point shootout, presumably from the tinier line. Afterwards, the winner of the men's competition and women's competition have a shootout in a competition to see who gets to win "The Hunger Games", I believe.
So, it's kind of silly, but, here's some reasons to pay attention: first off, barring him playing summer league ball with the Sacramento Kings or a turn as a pimp, tonight will be the last time we see Shurna in purple. Sure, it's in a dumb competition, but whatever. Secondly, in googling the event, I found that Knicks sensation - go New York go New York go - Steve Novak won the 3-point shootout when he was in college. This made me think a bit: before Novak's explosion with the Knicks this year, I'd always been a fan of Novak. He really can't do anything besides drain threes, but he's always been arguably the best player in the NBA at that, so good that teams kept him on rosters to sit on the bench for 47 minutes and 57 seconds and then stand in the corner knowing that teams would have to guard him. And due to his height and defensive liabilities, he reminds me a lot of Shurna. Shurna is a much more talented scorer - Novak has no offensive repertoire outside of gunning, maybe a few times he can hit a moving jumper - but isn't as polished a shooter. It would be cool to see him show anybody watching that he can nail threes better than pretty much anybody in his class. After seeing Novak's name, I got curious to see who else had won this competition, and sure enough, a few guys who caught on with NBA teams as gunners were in there. Last year was Andrew Goudelock from College of Charleston, who is currently a bench scorer on the Lakers. In 2009, it was Miami's Jack McClinton, who got drafted by the Spurs, but is currently in Europe. In 2007, it was Aaron Brooks, who you might know from his time running point for the Houston Rockets. And the year before was Novak. So, dudes who win this occasionally make the league, I guess is what I'm saying.
After the jump, I run down and crap on the competition.
John Shurna, Northwestern, 44.0 percent: YUH!
Juan Fernandez, Temple, 43.1 percent: Hasn't this white Argentinian dude been playing for Temple since like 2004? Fernandez has led the Owls to two NCAA Tournaments, causing the Chilean government to name a series of lightly inhabited islands in the Pacific Ocean after him. His Wikipedia page has the great tidbit that he wore gloves to his first ever training session "drawing the laughs of his teammates" and that opposing fans chanting "Messi!" at him inspires him, although that's a really stupid chant since, you know, it's like a compliment - go with "EVA PERON" or "ESCAPED NAZI WAR CRIMINALS" next time, racist chanters.
Chace Stanback, UNLV, 45.5 percent: Stanback - Stand back! - is probably the second player you think of when you think of UNLV, behind Mike Moser, but the senior pulled off the remarkable feat of shooting exactly the same percentage from the field and from three. I prefer to imagine he just has some weird OCD obsession with the number 45.5, unsuccessfully petitioning the NCAA allowing him to use 45.5 as his uniform number and him upping Craig James by (allegedly) murdering 45.5 legal Vegas-area professionals. (It's up to you what you decide the ".5" stood for.)
Bradford Burgess, VCU, 36.7 percent: I'll call him Brad, rather than doing him the benefit of calling him "Bradford", which is a last name, although I well revert in the off-chance he gets same-sex married to Moneyball star Chad Bradford.
Casper Ware, Long Beach State, 35.6 percent: Casper, the friendly 5-foot-10 point guard from the city called Long Beach, has a low shooting percentage, and it springs from his remarkable chucking abilities, shooting a remarkable 7.8 shots from deep per game - Shurna shot 6.5 by comparison.
Ryne Smith, Purdue, 43.2 percent: I don't think I need to give you reasons to dislike Ryne Smith. He's the worst.
Nick Barbour, High Point, 48.4 percent: Jesus. We've already touched on Nick Barbour in the Never-Made-The-Tourney posts - it will be an interesting battle of never-made-the-tourney gunners wearing purple, I suppose.
So, that's that. If you're watching, comment along, or, you know, don't, because it's stupid. Best of luck to Shurna, it's on ESPN at 7.