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JM junior makes verbal commitment to Minnesota

Had you told Michael Hurt three years ago that he'd wind up playing basketball for the University of Minnesota, he would have laughed.

Michael Hurt
John Marshall junior forward Michael Hurt has verbally committed to play basketball for the University of Minnesota.
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Had you told Michael Hurt three years ago that he'd wind up playing basketball for the University of Minnesota, he would have laughed.

No way did he see this coming.

But on Friday, the Rochester John Marshall junior basketball star made it official. He informed Gophers coach Richard Pitino — who was in Rochester for the JM-Faribault game — that he was accepting his scholarship offer.

Hurt will be a Golden Gopher in two years, the first Rochester player to suit up for the Big Ten Conference program.

"It's kind of a surreal feeling," the 6-foot-7 forward said. "If someone had told me three years ago that I'd be going to the Gophers I'd have laughed at them. I was just hoping back then that some smaller schools would be in there, recruiting me."

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After endless hours in the gym working on his game, varsity minutes since his freshman year at JM, and a stellar showing this summer at a national camp in Chicago, Hurt has outdone himself.

Not only did he become a local boy who the Gophers became hotly interested in, but he evolved into a national recruit. Hurt is ranked as the 59th best junior in the country by ESPN, and had a horde of Division I colleges offering him scholarships.

Feeling at home

A few ended up on his short list: Minnesota, Northwestern, Stanford and Vanderbilt, though the last two had not officially offered him a scholarship yet.

In the end, Hurt — also a stellar student — picked the place that felt most like home when he visited there. That was Minnesota.

"I went up there (to Minnesota) several times, and compared to the other places I visited — being around the (Gophers) coaches and players — it felt the most like home," Hurt said. "That and I really like coach Pitino. He's a young guy who knows what he's doing and he plays a style that I think suits me — very uptempo."

Hurt is putting up big numbers for JM again this season, averaging 23 points, eight rebounds and three assists. He's shooting 54 percent from 2-point range, and 45 percent on 3-pointers.

Though he doesn't possess elite athleticism (something he says he will be working on heavily this next summer), there is no question that he owns an all-court game. He handles the ball well for a player of his size, and has a knack for making the right play.

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"I can be a floor general," Hurt said. "I do a good job of reading the floor against teams. When they start to double-team me, I find my teammates and get them opportunities to score. I think I make the right choices."

His father, Richard, thinks Michael has made the right one in picking Minnesota. It's a school that is bringing in a top-25 ranked recruiting class for next season, one that includes explosive DeLaSalle point guard Jarvis Johnson, as well as Maryland four-star point guard Kevin Dorsey. And it's one that has gotten off to a nice start for 2016, reeling in Hurt.

"When I played (at JM), had someone told me I'd end up playing at the University of Minnesota, I would have thought that was cool beyond words," Richard said. "He's living a dream that most basketball players never get a chance to experience."

Related Topics: BASKETBALL
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