This is Amelia Rayno's third season on the Gophers men's basketball beat. She learned college basketball in North Carolina (Go Tar Heels!), where fanhood is not an option. In 2010, she joined the Star Tribune after graduating from Boston's Emerson College, which sadly had no exciting D-I college hoops to latch onto. Amelia has also worked on the sports desk at the Boston Globe and interned at the Detroit News.

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JP Macura: 'I felt really comfortable with Xavier'

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball Updated: September 12, 2013 - 5:17 PM

For many kids, recruitment is fun. With fans from numerous programs fawning over them and coaches laying out the red carpets during official visits, the experience certainly offers a slice of the high life. Why not stretch it out? Each individual is allowed five of those pampering visits, after all.

But pampering as it may be, getting recruited can also be incredibly stressful, especially when it rubs up against the high school basketball season. JP Macura didn’t want to let it get there. And perhaps speaking to his laid back nature, he didn’t really need the circus anymore either.

So last week, feeling certain that Xavier was the place where he belonged, the Lakeville North guard – and first of the local 2014 Minnesota recruits to be taken off the board – committed.

“My dad and [I] talked about it and I kind of wanted to speed the process up and commit as soon as possible,” Macura said. “I didn’t want to extend it to the basketball season, because that’s just really long.

“I felt really comfortable with Xavier, so I just decided to go there.”

For a day, his phone vibrated and rang more than ever, but now things have settled back to normal, more or less, which Macura likes.

“With school and everything, it would just be too much if I hadn’t decided, just talking to coaches, and all the games,” he said. “So I was happy I got it over with so I could just focus on school.

“…The reason why I decided to go there was just that my relationship with the coaches is really good, and I think they’re going to push me to be the best basketball player possible and develop me in all aspects of life, and when I was there I felt real comfortable with all of their player. And most importantly, they win a lot of games, which I like.”

Macura had also officially visited Creighton and Butler – before former coach Brad Stevens was hired by the Celtics – and had been talking with Minnesota about setting up an official, although no date had been set. Macura said that choosing to go to school away from home wasn’t the easiest decision, but one he felt sure about, even if local Gophers fans made it known they don’t agree.

“It’s really hard to say no to a school that’s like 20 minutes from your house, but I felt like Xavier was the best fit for me,” Macura said. “I didn’t really get anything too bad [in reaction]. A lot of people just tweeted at me and said it was a bad decision, but I don’t really care what they have to say.”

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