J.P. Macura is a 6-4 junior guard at Lakeville North High School with a reputation for a high basketball IQ and the ability to score in a number of different ways. He currently has 13 scholarship offers from colleges, as well as interest from the Gophers.
J.P. Macura’s phone rings quite a bit these days – the constant side effect of being a pretty good ball player.
But still, when he got a call on Tuesday evening – the voice on the other end being that of new Gophers coach Richard Pitino – Macura could only react with surprise.
“Mainly I just wasn’t expecting to hear from Pitino this early because he just got the job,” Macura said. “I wasn’t completely surprised, but I would expect not to have heard from him so soon. I would think maybe like months from now, but I’m glad that he got out to me already, and that just shows that he’s interested.”
By all accounts, Pitino, has been working the phones early in his tenure – his first day in the office was April 10 – and while the Gophers haven’t yet offered Macura, they’ve expressed significant interest already.
Macura was first contacted by Mike Balado (who has since resigned from his brief position with the Gophers) and assistant Kimani Young about a week ago. Ben Johnson – who had started recruiting Macura when he was under Tim Miles at Nebraska last season -- has texted with him regularly, the junior said. When Pitino called, he indicated that he’d like to get the Lakeville North guard up to Minnesota for a visit and to talk with him further. Macura said he expects to do so sometime in May.
“I’m just blessed and happy that I’ve even gotten the opportunity to talk to him and I’m looking forward to building a relationship with him and the coaching staff and getting to know them a lot better, Macura said.”
Macura – who currently has offers from 13 schools, he said – doesn’t have any official visits planned yet (the only ones he’s taken so far have been unofficials), but he already has a timeline in mind of how quickly he’d like to make The Big Decision. During his AAU season, he plans to formulate a short list of schools he’d like to officially visit. By the fall, he thinks he’ll have a winner.
“By that time, I’ll have a feeling where the right school is for me, and I’ll be able to decide,” he said. “I’ll know where the perfect school is by that time, I’m pretty sure.”
If he finds that special something on his first official visit, he won’t take anymore, he said, noting that the “feel” was going to play a huge role in his decision.
“Just the type of relationship with the players and coaches. I’m looking for a family type of relationship with the coaches and the players. I want the college to feel like home.”
- No one from Minnesota has visited Macura either at home or at school yet, but he says Pitino told him they wanted to see him soon. In the past week, Macura has had visits from Creighton, Dayton and St. Louis (at home) and Drake, North Dakota and Ohio (at school).
- Macura’s 13 offers so far, according to him: Dayton, Drake, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, North Dakota, North Dakota State, Northern Colorado, St. Louis, South Dakota, South Dakota State, Toledo, Utah State, Vermont, Wyoming. The two most recent are Dayton and Drake, which each offered in the last couple of weeks.
- Macura hasn’t taken any official visits yet. Unofficially, he has visited St. Louis, North Dakota, Milwaukee and Utah State in the last year.
- Macura on his biggest strength: “Definitely being able to shoot the ball and being able to see the floor … the last thing I want to do is just sit in the corner and shoot threes. Because that’s not who I am. I think I’m an all-around player that doesn’t need to be sitting in the corner shooting threes.”