Blue and Gold Illustrated


Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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58 PRESEASON 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY PATRICK ENGEL The first Notre Dame men's basket- ball 2023 commitment is the latest star from the program's backyard. Misha- waka (Ind.) Penn point guard Markus Burton committed to the Irish July 29, making his announcement during a cer- emony at his school. Burton picked up an offer from Notre Dame July 26 following a visit to cam- pus. Two days later, he teased a commit- ment announcement for the following afternoon. It all came after an impressive June and July showing that grabbed the Notre Dame staff's attention. He scored 35 points in a mid-June tournament game against Class 4A state champion Indianapolis Cathedral, which has five- star forward and one-time Irish recruit- ing target Xavier Booker on its roster. Notre Dame was on hand to see Booker that day, yet couldn't help but notice Bur- ton. The Irish made a point to watch him in July on the EYBL circuit with his AAU team, Mac Irvin Fire. Burton averaged 19.5 points, 3.3 assists and 3.2 rebounds in the EYBL's Kansas City session July 7-10. He averaged 12.3 points and 3.3 assists in six games at Peach Jam. Head coach Mike Brey saw him during both July live periods. Three days after Burton's final AAU game, Notre Dame hosted him for a visit and offered him before he left. It was his 11th Division I offer but first high-major chance. "I was waiting patiently," Burton said of Notre Dame's offer. All of those offers have come since a breakout junior season at Penn, where he averaged 27.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 3.2 steals per game. His season raised his recruiting profile from entirely off the radar to clear Division I prospect. He was named to the Indiana Junior All-Star team and was the MVP of the Northern Indiana Conference. What's responsible for his rise? For- mer Purdue guard Brandon McKnight, a mentor to Burton who has known him since grade school, has an idea — and a bold prediction. "Just his natural instincts, ball-han- dling ability," McKnight said. "He can score, but the fact he makes everyone better is special. I think that's what Coach Brey sees in him, too. "I look for him to be a top player in the ACC as a freshman. No pressure." Purdue Fort Wayne gave the 5-foot-10 Burton his first offer in March. Western Michigan, Ball State, Illinois Chicago, Missouri State, Drake, SIU-Edwardsville, Southern Indiana, Appalachian State and Miami (Ohio) followed later in the spring and summer. His scoring skills look like they're high-major worthy. Why, then, was Notre Dame the only major-confer- ence program to take the plunge and offer? "I believe it's my size," Burton said. "Honestly, I just play. I can't really con- trol that." Maybe there would be more high- major overtures if he were 6-1. But Bur- ton isn't worried about that anymore. He found the one high-major program that fits and the one that wanted him. The one that has proven in recent years it will pay attention to ascendant play- ers in the Golden Dome's shadow. Burton is the third South Bend area player to choose Notre Dame since 2021. Guard Blake Wesley came to Notre Dame from South Bend's Riley High School in 2021, led the Irish in scoring in 2021-22 and became the program's first one-and-done player. The San Antonio Spurs chose him with the No. 25 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. Notre Dame also signed wing J.R. Konieczny from South Bend St. Joseph High School in 2021. Notre Dame's 2013 class also included two Mishawaka products: guard De- metrius Jackson (Marian) and forward Austin Torres (Penn). Wesley was a sounding board for Burton, who reached out to ask for ad- vice from someone who had been in the same spot just a couple years earlier. Wesley preached patience, which had served him well while he navigated a recruitment during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. It helped Burton, too. And now he's where he wants to be. "He'd just tell me to work and that Notre Dame was looking at me," Burton said. "Keep doing what you're doing. It happened." ✦ COMMITMENT PROFILE MARKUS BURTON Notre Dame Dips Into Its Backyard To Snag First 2023 Hoops Commitment Burton is the third South Bend-area player to commit to Notre Dame in the last three recruiting cycles. PHOTO BY ASHTON POLLARD "Just his natural instincts, ball-handling ability. He can score, but the fact he makes everyone better is special. I think that's what Coach Brey sees in him, too. I look for him to be a top player in the ACC as a freshman. No pressure." FORMER PURDUE GUARD BRANDON MCKNIGHT ON BURTON, WHOM HE HAS MENTORED

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