Ambition can only take you so far, Christian Jurlina discovered three years ago. Sometimes you need a little luck.
“I wanted to do this since I was 10 or 11,” said Jurlina, whose journey to success at Whitworth was as unlikely as it has been rewarding.
Growing up in Sydney, Jurlina scored 19 points a game for his high school team, but that didn’t raise any eyebrows. Undaunted, Jurlina fed his dream on “blind faith” as he and his father sent film to colleges in the States.
A chance to play at Davidson – the alma mater of NBA star Stephen Curry – was foiled by a coaching change. Just in time, help came in the summer of 2013 from another Aussie, Philip Chircu, who had signed with Whitman.
“He recommended I give Whitworth a try,” said Jurlina, who made the initial approach.
“It was a unique recruitment,” deadpanned Pirate coach Matt Logie, who met Jurlina for the first time at the airport – on the opening day of fall term.
That was also the first time Jurlina laid eyes on the Whitworth campus.
The 6-foot-4 Jurlina fit in immediately, helping Whitworth continue its regional dominance in Division III. Last year, he led the Pirates in scoring and made all-conference. This season he’s averaging 14 points for a team that’s ranked fifth in the nation.
Said Jurlina: “I wouldn’t trade a thing, although people are still making fun of my accent.”
That includes his teammates. “But I see them as my best brothers,” Jurlina said.
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