We continue our state-by-state look at the origins of Coach Mack's players by taking a peek at Minnesota. Not a traditional hotbed of basketball talent, Minnesota is known primarily as the home of Kevin McHale and pretty much nobody else. Rarely do you hear a fanbase hoping for a coach to reload the program with talent start out the conversation by saying, "We need to swing north and sign a couple of those Minnesota boys," but that's exactly what Coach Mack did when he brought JP Macura into the program.
Scout and Rivals each called JP Macura a four-star shooting guard when he signed with Xavier, while ESPN bucked the trend to label him a three-star small forward. On-ball defense and physical strength were cited as concerns, but any reputable service agreed that Macura had the ability to flat-out get buckets. Everybody and his mum wanted to sign JP, with Iowa State, Purdue, Butler, Miami (FL), and Kansas State leading a lengthy line of offers. The consensus would seem to be that defense can be worked on; there's always room on the roster for a guy who can put the biscuit in the basket (unless you're Cincinnati).
Incidentally, can you imagine how much you would have hated a Butler team with Kellen Dunham and JP Macura on it? I would have needed a sedative.
Macura has obviously been a success so far for the Musketeers. He was guaranteed action off the bench last year; for better or worse, he was always going to make something happen. He has the kind of range and ability to get hot that always makes opponents account for him, and he showed a flair for the (sometimes overly) dramatic in setting up his teammates. If we revisit this feature a few years down the road, I'd wager real money that Minnesota will appear much higher on the scoring chart if JP sticks around.
I feel like JP Macura probably represents a one-off opportunity more than a real effort by Mack and the Xavier staff to get established in Minnesota. I like the idea of Xavier having a strong footprint in the Upper Midwest, but I think the land of 10,000 lakes (I blanked on the state nickname and had to Google it) is always going to be lower down the priority list when the staff identifies top targets.