“There are some games where he matches up better, some where he doesn't,” Ford said. “There have been some games going in that I thought he'd struggle and subconsciously didn't play him as much as I should have. I maybe should have thought there were some things he could do to help us, too.”
Considering the Achilles injury, and the implications of such an injury to a big man, his contributions might be considered a minor miracle. Ford didn't expect Jurick back in the lineup until January, if at all.
Instead, Jurick committed himself to rehab, dropping 30 pounds to aid his recovery and working long and hard to make it back. And he's beaten the odds and the expectations, starting 27 of OSU's 29 games, ranking second on the team in average rebounds (5.9) and blocked shots (31). He doesn't hoist up many shots, yet picks his spots well, shooting 64.6 percent from the floor (42-of-65).
“Not knowing if I was going to play this year, and finally getting out there and helping my team, it's been really rewarding,” Jurick said.
Finally, Jurick's journey delivers reward.
For Saturday's Senior Day presentation — where Jurick stands alone in the spotlight — he'll have a group of 10 friends and family members on hand, including his mother Barbara, who will see him play at OSU for the first time.
It could have been so different, had things worked out at Tennessee, where this adventure first began following a standout career at East Ridge High School in Chattanooga.
And yet, different may not have been better.
“Going to Tennessee out of high school, I would have never thought I'd be this far from home and comfortable,” Jurick said. “But with the coaching staff here and the community, it was an easy transition.
“I've loved it.”