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March 7, 2011

Juice, Shurna named to All-Big Ten third team

EVANSTON, Ill. - For the second time in three seasons, the Northwestern men's basketball team has placed two players on the All-Big Ten teams announced Monday. Senior point guard Michael Thompson (Chicago, Ill./Lincoln Park) was a consensus third-team selection of both the coaches and the media, while junior forward John Shurna (Glen Ellyn, Ill./Glenbard West) was a third-team pick of the coaches and was honorable mention by the media.

Shurna was a consensus second-team recipient a year ago, while Thompson was honorable mention.

Prior to the 2008-09 season when Kevin Coble was named to the second team and Craig Moore was a third-team pick, the last time Northwestern had two players named to at least the third team in the same season was the 1965-66 campaign (Jim Burns and Jim Pitts, second team).

Thompson has been stellar in his final season in a Northwestern uniform. He currently ranks as the Wildcats' career leader in assists, minutes played, games played and games started. He also ranks second in 3-point field goals, fifth in steals and sixth in 3-point field goal percentage. With four more points, Thompson will move into third place on NU's career scoring list. He is one of just five Big Ten players over the last 15 years to record at least 500 assists and 250 3-point field goals in their careers.

He ranks second on the team and 10th in the Big Ten with an average of 15.3 points per game this season. The mark goes up to 16.0 points per game in conference play, including 17.9 over the last 10 contests. Thompson is third in the league in 3-point field goals (2.6 pg), fourth in steals (1.5 pg) and seventh in assists (4.3 pg). His 124 consecutive starts are the fourth-longest active streak in the nation.

Shurna has battled through injuries throughout the 2010-11 season to earn his second All-Big Ten accolade. He was playing at an All-American level early in the season, averaging 23.3 points per game prior to the start of conference play before suffering an ankle injury. Nonetheless, Shurna leads the Wildcats and ranks eighth in the league with an average of 16.8 points per game. He topped 20 points in eight of NU's first nine games, scoring a season-high 28 points against American and again at St. John's.

Shurna led the nation in 3-point field goal percentage for a good portion of the season and is still shooting an impressive 47.4 percent from beyond the arc, second in the Big Ten. His 1,072 points over the last two seasons is the second-highest total in program history in consecutive seasons, trailing only Evan Eschmeyer (1,153).

In addition, senior forward Mike Capocci (Lombard, Ill./Glenbard East) was honored as the team's recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. The award is presented to individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. In addition, the student-athletes must be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.

Northwestern (17-12, 7-11 Big Ten) is the No. 8 seed in this week's Big Ten tournament being held at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The Wildcats take on ninth-seeded Minnesota at 1:30 p.m. Central time Thursday.



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