When’s the last time Minnesota had a great shooter? Every year in the Big Ten you see great shooters knocking down shots and breaking the hearts of the opposing team. Minnesota’s own JP Macura is the answer the Gophers are looking for.
Macura is a basketball standout for Lakeville North High School and has received less publicity in his home state than any nationally ranked recruit that I can remember in recent history.
The state has been focusing their attention on the trio of Tyus Jones, Reid Travis, and Rashad Vaughn, which has more commonly been referred to as the “Big Three.” I think we should change this term to the Big Four because everything I’ve seen and heard about Macura suggests he’d be a big time commitment for the Gophers.
Macura is an athletic wing with incredible range that has been described as a taller, more athletic version of former Gopher Blake Hoffarber. His athelticism would allow him to fit into the fast paced system of Pitino and probably allow him more opportunity to create his own shot.
The Gophers took a huge step in the July recruiting period by extending an offer to Macura. He was on quite the hot streak this summer adding more and more offers in every AAU event he played in.
It seemed like every game there was a new coach in attendance to watch him play. At one point in the summer it appeared that Macura held Butler as his front-runner school until Brad Stevens accepted a head coaching position with the Boston Celtics. After that coaching change, the recruitment opened up.
The Gophers were the first Big Ten school to offer Macura a scholarship and continue to consistently be one of the schools mentioned by Macura when talking about recruitment. He’s taken five or more unofficial visits to Minnesota since Memorial Day.
Now, we’re approaching crunch time. He has said that he plans to commit sometime in September after all the visits are made. It appears to be down to Minnesota, Xavier, Creighton, and Purdue. Butler has been ruled out and I haven’t sensed as much interest in Iowa State as of late.
Creighton – His trip to Creighton went well. I worry this might be the school that has the most momentum heading into his decision. There has been some Twitter conversation between him and current Creighton basketball star Doug McDermott lately. Mcdermott is a potential lottery pick in next year’s NBA Draft.
Purdue – He recently took a trip out to West Lafayette for an official visit. It sounds like there was some positive feedback about the trip. Purdue is a Big Ten school with a great coach in Matt Painter so I’m sure there was a very good pitch. Even so, I expect Minnesota to remain the favorite over this conference rival.
Xavier – JP is visiting Xaiver on Sept. 6. Expect them to flaunt their success at making the NCAA Tournament as well as their arrival in the Big East — a more competitive conference. I consider Xavier a dark horse but will be interesting to see how his visit shakes things up.
Minnesota – The Gophers have a lot to sell. They are they only D1 program in JP’s home state and have the basketball community rallying around their newfound hope — Richard Pitino. It’s an exciting time where the coaching changes and new facilities plan leaves lingering thoughts on a possible future powerhouse. I hope JP sees the possibilities at Minnesota and how he could be a part of the climb of Minnesota basketball as a perennial contender in the Big Ten.