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Player Preview: JP Macura

JP Macura is one of the top shooters in his class. Will that be enough to get him into the rotation as a freshman?

JP's game face and my two-year-old's pouting face aren't that much different.
JP's game face and my two-year-old's pouting face aren't that much different.
Matt Jennings

JP Macura is a 6'5" freshman guard from Lakeville, MN who pours home buckets. He holds his high school's records for most points in a game, a season, and a career. He averaged 32.2 PPG as a senior while shooting 56.% from the floor and 81.1% from the line. He averaged 26 PPG as a junior. He was rated as one of the top 10 shooters in the 2014 class by FOX Sports. He can really fill it up is what I'm saying.

Macura has continued to look good since getting to X, scoring 24 points despite shooting only 14 times in the 3 games he played in Brazil and also being one of the few players who looked like he had seen a bat or glove before during the intrasquad softball game. The backcourt figures to be crowded, but Macura - like Liam Neeson before him - has a certain set of skills.

Best case scenario:
Bench gunner. Macura comes off the pine with instructions to lift early and often. With Matt Stainbrook and Jalen Reynolds demanding extra attention inside and Stainbrook in particular being a deft passer, Macura gets plenty of clean looks from three. With the ball being the same size and the rim being the same height in college as they are in high school, Macura's shot plays right away and he finds a role as instant offense of the bench for Coach Mack.

Worst case scenario:
Bench jockey. Keen students of the game have no doubt observed that there are two ends on a basketball court, and points garnered at one end aren't inherently more valuable than those surrendered at the other. Macura's defense "needed work" in high school, and everyone he'll play this year will be a D1 caliber athlete. If he can't hold his own on the defensive end, that will put more pressure on him to produce with every shot while also limiting when Coach Mack can put him in. Not a recipe for success, that.

Most likely scenario:
Lineups can be juggled to hide weak defenders, and Coach Mack is savvy enough to be able to pair Macura with stronger on-ball defenders and an eraser or two in the middle to clean up behind him. JP's range gets him on the floor right now and forces defense to account for him. If his defense isn't a total catastrophe - which I don't think it will be - he'll get his chances to make good. Look for him to land around 4-5 PPG, 35%-39% from deep, and one or two hot stretches that blow the roof off of Cintas or silence a hostile road crowd.

Almost no matter what happens, he's a lock to become my dad's favorite player.