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The highest-rated recruit in program history, future NBA player, potential starter, and at the same time, Nimari Burnett might not get as much run early in the season as he should. We all know that this basketball program is much more suited to veteran players than it is to freshman. Coach Beard has put more stock into veterans than a flashy freshman. Burnett is a great offensive player no doubt, but what people will learn this year is that his defense is what will ultimately get him looks as an NBA Prospect next year.
Burnett grew up in Chicago, Illinois, a city known for making great basketball players. According to his Wikipedia page, his mom is an amazing entrepreneur that had a real estate business and two different lines of clothing.
His prep basketball career started with a State Championship at Morgan Park High School in Chicago. He then transferred to Prolific Prep in California and played three years there. Prior to his Senior Year, he represented Team USA in the FIBA 3 vs. 3 Basketball Championship in Mongolia. He was the Tournament’s 5th leading scorer and led Team USA to a gold medal.
His recruiting was a big deal as he was shaping up to be a high-end 4-star or even a 5-star prospect. Alabama, Oregon, and Michigan were the other contenders for Burnett. He ultimately picked Texas Tech and I know the program is very happy to have him.
His play on the court will be incredible to watch, as I feel his skill set matches what Coach Beard wants to do. You may have seen some of his offensive highlights, and those speak for themselves. He’s a three-level scorer, meaning he can drive to the basket, pull-up in the midrange, and splash it from deep. With teammates like Mac McClung playing point guard, Burnett will get a ton of opportunities from three-point range.
His defensive potential is nothing to scoff at either. Burnett may only be 6’3, but he has a giant wingspan of 6’10. With help from strength and conditioning coach John Reilly, Burnett will be able to become quicker and stronger, allowing him more ability to use that frame on the defensive end of the floor. Most people know the defensive prowess that Assistant Coach Mark Adams brings to the team, this will help Burnett further.
Burnett will most likely start the season coming off the bench, but don’t be surprised if he gets more playing time and even begins starting games before too long. He has great potential to be a one and done player. Burnett could very well help lead this team on a potential National Championship run before his time in Lubbock is over.
What are you expectations for Nimari in his first season as a Red Raider? Let us know in the comments below!