In search of John Shurna replacement, Northwestern eyes Nate Taphorn

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PHILADELPHIA–Bill Carmody will be losing Northwestern’s all-time leading scorer, John Shurna, next season, and he is looking for a player to step in.

Just by the looks of him, 2013 forward Nate Taphorn fits the role.

Taphorn, a 6-7 forward from Pekin, Ill., is from the same mold as Shurna: a larger small forward who can spot up from the outside, a good fit for the system at Northwestern.

The Wildcats offered him last week.

“Academically, [Northwestern is] overpowering. They succeed in everything they do over there,” Taphorn told NBCSports.com. “The program is growing, from what I can see, so I’ll take a better look at them.”

Carmody and assistant Fred Hill watched Taphorn Saturday afternoon, while Taphorn’s Illinois Wolves competed in the Hoop Group Philadelphia Jam Fest.

Northwestern is his first high-major offer, but he claims over 10 offers, with those coming from schools that include Bradley, Southern Illinois, Wisconsin-Green Bay, and Creighton.

It would be lofty to equate Taphorn to Shurna just yet, considering Shurna averaged 20 points per game and shot 44% from three-point range in his senior season, but Taphorn has a similar set of skills.

“I look how hard they okay and what they do and look at what I can do to get better,” he said of using the comparison to improve himself.

Taphorn has yet to set any visits, but is looking to visit Northwestern in the future.

With interest continuing to build, moving into the summer, he says there is no rush on his decision.

“I just want to see how things turn out. Hopefully I can make my decision at the end of the summer, late August,” he said. “So right before my senior year starts I can relax and just play.”

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_