Gophers recruit JP Macura says it would mean a lot to him to be the first to commit to the Gophers in 2014.
J.P. Macura, a 6-5, 185-pound wing from Lakeville North, visited Minnesota several times recently and has become a priority for the new coaching staff.
Macura was named second team College Basketball News’ All-Metro and first team Star Tribune All-Metro after averaging more than 25 points per game in his first season of varsity action. Macura helped lead the Panthers to the Class AAAA state tournament this past year.
GopherHole.com caught up with Macura Tuesday at Wear Out the Net Academy as he worked out with former Gophers Steve Esselink and Mitch Ohnstad and former local standouts Ryan Amoroso and Alex Richter to learn the latest on his recruitment and his recent Minnesota visits.
Gopher Hole: You went to Creighton this past weekend. How was that visit?
J.P. Macura: It was great. I had a lot fun. More importantly, most of their guys, like all of them are all great guys. They all bond together. I just like the system that they run and if I decided to go there, there will definitely be a chance for me to play right away. That is intriguing to me. Overall, I just had a great experience there at Creighton. The coaching staff is great also.
Gopher Hole: You are going to Purdue this weekend. What do you know about their program?
J.P. Macura: I don’t know too much. I just know that the history is pretty good there. I think that I am going to an Elite Camp and then I am going to meet with the coaches and stuff. Walk around campus and just get a good feel for the campus.
Gopher Hole: Have you set up any other official visits?
J.P. Macura: Yes. I think September 6th, I am going to Xavier. September 15th, I might go to Iowa State. Most likely, I will. I am going to the Minnesota football game against UNLV.
Gopher Hole: So you are going to go to that instead of the Lakeville North versus Lakeville South game, right?
J.P. Macura: Yes.
Gopher Hole: I know that you have visited Minnesota a couple of time recently. What has your relationship with Coach Pitino and the coaching staff been like?
J.P. Macura: I think that we have a great relationship. Every time, I go to the campus, either it is just visiting with the coaches or watching practice, I have a good time. I can tell that they really want me there. I think that it could be a good fit for me also.
Gopher Hole: Have you narrowed your list of school down yet? How many schools are you really looking at right now?
J.P. Macura: Five. Minnesota, Creighton, Xavier, Purdue, Iowa State and I am talking to Indiana a little bit, because (James) Blackman de-committed from there, so they have been talking to me a little bit. I am not going to be open to any more schools.
Gopher Hole: How hard was it to narrow it down to five?
J.P. Macura: It was extremely hard. There are a lot of good schools and I just decided with my dad, those were the five right schools to choose from.
Gopher Hole: Butler was a school that you had received a lot of interest from. Was that tough to take them out of the mix?
J.P. Macura: Yes, definitely. I had a good relationship with the new head coach and most of the players when I went on a visit. It is hard to say no to them, but I think it was a good choice because Brad (Stevens) is not there and that is a huge, huge thing for him to be there.
Gopher Hole: What do you like about the various schools? What do you like about Xavier?
J.P. Macura: The most intriguing thing is that they are always in the tournament. They are constantly in the tournament, beating teams, making it far. Just the relationship that I have with the coaches. That is the main thing.
Gopher Hole: How about Iowa State?
J.P. Macura: What I like is the way that they play. They have freedom to shoot. Fast-paced game and I just like the way that they play.
Gopher Hole: What about Minnesota?
J.P. Macura: Same goes. I haven’t really seen Pitino’s last year stuff. He showed me practice film from when they were practicing and everybody has the ability to go off ball screens, which is nice, because the 1, 2, 3 can all take the ball and create space and try to get to the hoop. I like that because I don’t want to be sitting in the corner shooting threes the whole game.
Gopher Hole: What about Creighton?
J.P. Macura: Same goes. Ball screens. They run a lot of plays for shooters coming off doubles, which is nice.
Gopher Hole: What about Purdue?
J.P. Macura: I don’t know too much about their system. I know that they are trying to get a few guards in my class. That is the one thing that I know.
Gopher Hole: What about Indiana?
J.P. Macura: I like the way that they play, but I kind of feel that if I were to go to Indiana, I would be just a spot-up shooter. They already have their high major guards getting and creating space and going to the hole.
Gopher Hole: You are working out with some talented players who are playing in college and professionally overseas. How much do you think that working out with those guys helps you as a player?
J.P. Macura: A lot, because they have a lot of experience and most of them give me advice, which helps me out a lot. Playing against bigger guys, strong, physical guys, just makes me better.
Gopher Hole: Have you thought about when you are going to try to decide on a school? Would you sign in the early signing period?
J.P. Macura: I am just going to take all these visits. I am going to go to the UNLV football game for Minnesota and I might take an official after Iowa State and then once I am done with those, I’ll decide.
Gopher Hole: Do you think that you are going to take an official visit to Minnesota then?
J.P. Macura: I think so.
Gopher Hole: Do you know when that will be yet?
J.P. Macura: We haven’t set up a date. Coach Johnson just said that he wants to be at the football game and then we’ll set something up after Iowa State.
Gopher Hole: They are bringing in a point guard. Lourawls Nairn Jr. for an official visit that week. He plays on the Nike circuit, but do you know anything about him?
J.P. Macura: I don’t know anything about him. Coach Johnson said that he is excited to meet me and hang out with me.
Gopher Hole: What would it mean to play in front of your family and friends at Minnesota?
J.P. Macura: It would be great. If it works and it is the right fit for me, I think that it would a good spot because it is just easy for everyone to get there and they could watch every home game for sure.
Gopher Hole: No one has committed to Minnesota yet because of the new coaching staff and players wanting to make visits. What would it mean to you if you decided to be the first player to commit to Minnesota?
J.P. Macura: I think that it would mean a lot. I think that it would mean that I was the first one to trust their coaching staff. That would mean a lot of them, too.