North’s Hurray reaches 1,000 points as a junior
CRANBERRY TWP — Coaches often talk about players needing to elevate their game, but it’s never a sure thing.
Max Hurray took no shortcuts to improve and the result was a banner season for the North Catholic basketball team’s junior guard. He averaged 23.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game to help the Trojans advance to the WPIAL Class 4A title game and the state quarterfinals.
Hurray averaged 16.7 points as a sophomore.
“This was a breakout season for him,” said North coach Jim Rocco. “He’s grown in his skill level with his footwork and is adept at getting shots off in tight spaces. He can shoot with range and can finish at the rim.”
Hurray was an 81 percent free throw shooter this year and nailed 41 percent of his attempts from 3-point range. He reached 1,000 career varsity points in a state playoff win against Hickory, but says his biggest improvements came in other areas.
“I believe I became a better passer and defender,” said the Cranberry Township resident. “I played AAU ball for PK Flash the last two years and Coach (Joe) Lewandowski and the guys I played with helped make me a better player. The competition we played was very good.
“I’m a little surprised that I got to 1,000 points as a junior, but always thought that it was an attainable goal as long as I put the work in and worked well with my teammates.”
Though countless hours on the court have benefitted Hurray, his dedication does not stop there.
“In the gym and in the weight room, he works as hard as anybody,” said Rocco.
In his team’s last five games of the season — from a WPIAL semifinal against Laurel Highlands to a state quarterfinal clash with Uniontown — Hurray averaged 23.8 points per game.
“He consistently was able to shine at a high level, showed the ability to compete against the best teams in the state,” Rocco added.
Hurray has received an offer to play for the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, a Division I program that competes in the America East Conference.
“I’m open to any school, at any level, if it proves to be the best fit for me academically and athletically,” he said.
North Catholic will graduate four seniors later this spring, including starters Matt Ellery, Andrew Maddalon and Max Rottmann.
“It’s an awesome group of guys,” said Hurray. “It’s hard to think that I’m never going to play with them again.”
Hurray is currently preparing to play for the New York Jayhawks, an AAU program based in Brooklyn that competes in tournaments up and down the East Coast. Next winter, he will be back on the court at North, doing his part to uphold the Trojans’ incredibly strong tradition.“
“He’s already led the team with his play, but he needs to be more of a vocal leader next year,” Rocco said of Hurray. “There’s no doubt in my mind that he will be able to do that. He will develop the ability to command a gym with his voice.”