Sophomores John Shurna and Kyle Rowley helped Northwestern basketball reach new heights in 2009. Over the summer they did the same for their home countries.
After starting all 31 games as a freshman, Shurna was invited to try out for the U.S. under-19 world championship team. He made the team and competed in the U19 World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand, averaging 6 points and 3.9 rebounds. He helped the U.S. team to an undefeated record and its first gold medal in the event in 18 years.
"It was just a tremendous honor to represent the United States of America," said Shurna, a native of Glen Ellyn, Ill. "The first day of tryouts I came in and I was looking around, and it was all these players I had read about and who had done unbelievable things in college. It was an honor just to be invited, and then to have the opportunity to go overseas and play was an incredible experience."
Rowley, the Wildcats' 7-footer from Arima, Trinidad, was named to the Trinidad and Tobago senior national team. The squad finished fourth at the Caribbean Basketball Confederation Men's Basketball Championships, its best finish in more than a decade.
"The tutelage that I got from some of the older guys was priceless," said Rowley, the youngest member of the squad. "They taught me how to carry myself. They taught me that no matter what you do you're always an athlete and you have to carry yourself that way."
— Robbie Levin (J12)