Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Willie Schurfranz to Continue Family Tradition by Walking On at Bellarmine University

Former DeSales graduate Willie Schurfranz will continue a long family tradition as a member of the Bellarmine University men's basketball.

The 6-foot-6 Schurfranz will become Bellarmine's first-ever third generation basketball player, following the footsteps of his grandfather (Jim) and dad (Tom).

Here's a release from BU:

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—With the recent announcement that Willie Schurfranz will walk-on the Bellarmine University basketball team this coming season, it means the DeSales graduate will become the first-ever third generation basketball player for the Knights, following in the footsteps of his grandfather Jim Schurfranz and his father Tom Schurfranz — both of whom are in Bellarmine's Athletics Hall of Fame.

Despite his family history and his 6-foot-6 frame, Willie said it looked as if he were destined for the college soccer field instead of the basketball court when he was a high school junior. "I was being recruited by several Division III schools for soccer, but then I had my best basketball year as a senior. This summer I started coming to open gyms at Bellarmine and sort of did what Corbin (Maynard) did," he said referring to fellow DeSales graduate Maynard earning a walk-on spot in the summer before his freshman season.

In his final season as a Colt, Willie averaged 9.6 points and 4.5 rebounds a game and helped DeSales to a strong season that ended in the Sixth Region title game.

Willie is well aware of the lofty family history at Bellarmine. In addition to a father and grandfather playing basketball at the school, an older brother (Chris) already has a Bellarmine diploma as do at least four aunts and uncles, including Mollie Niehaus Schurfranz, who earned honorable mention All-America honors from the Women's Basketball Coaches Association in 1987.

The Schurfranz family roots first sprang to life on the Bellarmine hardwood in 1964 when Jim started his playing career for Coach Alex Groza. The eldest Schurfranz averaged 10.7 rebounds over his three-year career that spanned 69 games, which makes him one of just three Bellarmine players to average double digit rebounds in their careers (Rudy Montgomery and Mike Holmes are the others). Jim also played on some of the Knights' most successful teams and appeared in the 1965 NCAA Tournament. Tom followed with a stellar career that began in 1987 and finished in 1992. Along the way, the 7-footer was named a first team All-American by NABC and earned academic All-America honors as well. He was a 3-time All-Great Lakes Valley Conference performer and is No. 3 on BU's all-time scoring and rebounding lists. The Trinity High School graduate still holds the Bellarmine record for highest career field goal percentage, making a whopping 70.2 percent. He also found team success, helping lead the Knights to NCAA tourney berths in both 1989 and 1991. Jim also was on the sidelines for those tourney games as he served as an assistant coach on Joe Reibel's staff for nine years and worked under Coach Charlie Just for another three seasons.

Complete Release

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