J.P. Macura stepped into the national spotlight Thursday night after taking a leading role in No. 11 seed Xavier's upset of No. 2 Arizona in the Sweet 16.
The former Lakeville North star and two-time All-Metro selection scored 14 points, pulled down seven rebounds and dished out seven assists while playing 38 minutes in the 73-71 victory.
The stats were enough to earn Macura the attention, but it was his hustle, vision, defense and overall versatility on that court that impressed the game's broadcast team and opposing coach Sean Miller.
"Wow, this guy has got heart," play-by-play broadcaster Brian Anderson said on the call after one of Macura's buckets in the second half.
"Xavier asks Macura to do a lot," Anderson added. "And of all the players that Sean Miller talked about [Trevon] Bluiett was certainly on his mind. [Bluiett] was the first on the game plan to be discussed, but [Miller] was raving about Macura and what he does for Xavier. Last year, he was the Sixth Man of the Year in the Big East and now he's in that starting role for Xavier ... and one of the toughest kids you'll see in the game."
Even former NBA All-Star Chris Webber, Anderson's broadcast partner Thursday night, was impressed, but wants to see even more from Macura.
"Do not want to overemphasize this point, but only because he's so talented, Macura needs to get the ball more," Webber said. "And he needs to get it more inside so that then he can space the floor. But right now, a little bit predictable in how he plays and it's just a physical game. … Macura don't care, though."
Cameras caught Miller embracing Macura after the game telling the Minnesota native how much he respects his game.
Basketball fans proclaimed their newfound love for Macura through social media. Here is a sampling: