Boston High School: Deonte Burton

Finkelstein on recent local commitments

September, 8, 2011
ESPN's Adam Finkelstein weighs in today on his recruiting blog on the commitments of three local high-major recruits, Brewster Academy (N.H.)'s Deonte Burton (Marquette), Notre Dame Prep's Ricardo Ledo (Providence), and King Philip's Jake Layman (Maryland).

The full article can be found here, and is excerpted below:


Short term: Any time you can lock up a Super 60 prospect before his junior year has started you don't hesitate, especially if he's a local product. So while the commitment was significant for Marquette, it was equally special for Burton who will return home in the fall of 2013 after spending three seasons attending prep school in New Hampshire.

Long term: Burton and Buzz Williams are the perfect pair. Burton is a highly-talented 6-foot-5 forward with power and athleticism, but he isn't without his faults. He was essentially a player without a true position a year ago and while he's really expanded his skill set in the last year his critics will say he still doesn't defend or compete as consistently as he needs to in order to maximize his potential. Enter Williams, one of the top young coaches and motivators in the game today, whose teams are known for their intensity. If he can get that out of Burton on a consistent basis, this could be an even bigger commitment than we realize.


Short term: Providence coach Ed Cooley has made a huge splash by landing Ledo and Kris Dunn in less than a month. Together they could form the top backcourt duo in the Class of 2012. The commitments also gives the new Providence staff some major credibility on the recruiting trail, especially in local New England circles where it has all of a sudden become fashionable to consider the Friars.

Long term: The naysayers have been coming out of the woodwork since Ledo's commitment, questioning his attitude, effort, and ability to win games. I for one think the criticisms have become a little overblown. There's no denying that Ledo has quite a bit of maturing to do, but there's also no denying that he is one of the most talented players in the country. And here's another factor that most have missed. Ledo has shown himself to be much more comfortable in a supporting role. For example, while his teams may have gone 1-10 this summer, Notre Dame Prep went to the finals of the National Prep Championship when he was in a complementary role to Todd Mayo. At Providence, Ledo will return to the complementary role. The much more prudent questions include his ability to qualify and if he does, how long will he stay at Providence before exploring the NBA Draft.


Short term: Another definite recruiting victory for a suddenly very hot Mark Turgeon. Layman is the No. 53-ranked player in the ESPNU 100 and his commitment boosts Maryland's class into the top 10 in the country. Here's the thing with Layman though, Terps fans are going to need to be patient. While incredibly talented, he's still fairly raw and not used to high-level competition outside of the AAU circuit. Consequently, his learning curve may be a little longer than most would expect from a borderline top 50 prospect.

Long term: Layman may take some time to adjust to the college level, that's the downside. The upside is that his long-term potential is through the roof, and he's really only starting to tap into his tools. He's built like a prototypical NBA 3-man with good size, at 6-8, high-level athleticism and soft shooting touch out to 22 feet. There may not be another member of Maryland's incoming 2012 class who benefits more from being part of a college strength program next year, nor someone likely to benefit more from one-on-ones with the coaching staff. He'll be ready for primetime by his sophomore year I suspect and potentially a big-time prospect as an upperclassman.

For more recruiting updates on New England's top high school basketball talent, be sure to check out Finkelstein's ESPN blog as well as his New England Recruiting Report.

Report: Brewster's Burton commits to Marquette

September, 3, 2011
The Marquette Tribune reported on Friday night that Brewster Academy (N.H.) small forward and Milwaukee nativeDeonte Burton verbally committed to his hometown Marquette for the 2013-14 season.

Burton chose the Golden Eagles over Illinois, Wisconsin, Rutgers and Memphis. He is the first recruit for Williams and his staff in the 2013 class.

Although he saw limited time for the Bobcats last season, the 6-foot-4, 228-pound Burton is ranked the No. 36 overall player in the Class of 2013, and the No. 11 small forward.

The four-star recruit, who transferred into Brewster in August 2010 from Milwaukee's Vincent High, currently has the following evaluation from Scouts Inc.:

Deonta is a strong and athletic wing. The lefty is explosive and tends to hunt dunks on the offensive end. He is a slasher that is devastating in transition. He is a streaky shooter with range to about 17 feet. Most of his points come inside 10 feet as he is too strong and athletic to keep out of the paint. Burton plays above the rim and is an excellent rebounder for his position.

Deonta is a streaky shooter that needs to improve his accuracy and range. The main part of his game is the dunk and that needs to change over time. Burton is very left handed and needs to improve his game using his off hand. He needs to improve defensively but is strong and athletic and should improve as his game matures. Basically, he needs more versatility to his game.

Bottom Line:
Burton is one of the most powerful and explosive players in the 2013 class. He's a very good prospect that simply needs to improve his skill base in order to realize his enormous potential.

Nerlens Noel No. 2 in latest Super 60

August, 11, 2011
ESPN's basketball recruiting section has updated the Super 60 rankings for the Class of 2013 today, and it should come to little surprise where Tilton (N.H.) big man Nerlens Noel comes in.

After an explosive summer on the AAU circuit with the Boston Amateur Basketball Club, the 6-foot-11 Everett native comes in at No. 2, ahead of Prestonwood Christian (Texas)'s Julius Randle but behind Simeon (Ill.)'s Jabari Parker.

South Kent (Conn.) shooting guard and Denver native Chris Thomas comes in at No. 13, while Northwest Catholic (Conn.)'s Kuran Iverson continues his slide down the list. Once a top five prospect on ESPN's list, the Windsor, Conn. native fell to No. 30 on the list.

Brewster Academy (N.H.) small forward and Milwaukee native Deonte Burton also comes in at No. 36. ESPN's Dave Telep also lists Tilton (N.H.) forward Goodluck Okonoboh as one of the players "knocking on the door" of the Super 60.

The full Super 60 can be found here.

Telep goes on to explain his placement of Parker, Noel and Randle:

After the summer, if you polled recruiting analysts and college coaches, there's a good chance SF Jabari Parker (Chicago/Simeon) would prevail as the top overall prospect in high school basketball, regardless of class. When an underclassman draws reviews like that, it's a big deal. Parker is a smooth operator with NBA bloodlines, poise and an overall package that features a competitive game with grace and skill. The fact that he's in the conversation about the best prospect in high school basketball is an achievement. The fact that he's ranked ahead of C Nerlens Noel (Everett, Mass./Tilton School) and PF Julius Randle (Dallas/Prestonwood) is almost as big of a statement. The three have separated themselves from the pack as high school players, similar to what O.J. Mayo, Derrick Rose, Michael Beasley, Kevin Love and Eric Gordon did in the 2007 class.

Entering the summer, our rankings read Randle, Parker and Noel, in that order. After Parker continuously set the standard, the question became: Who's No. 2? Enter Noel. Not since Greg Oden has high school basketball had as dominant a shot-blocker in its ranks. He's an elite rim-protector and his summer team's accomplishments were aided by this enormous presence at the rim. You couldn't have asked for a more successful summer run.

Randle, our former No. 1, also had a tremendous summer. From his work at the Nike Skills Academy right on through July, his game was in bloom. A powerful 4-man with a perimeter skills package, he's a matchup problem in different areas of the court. These guys -- and the order may one day change -- could easily go 1-2-3 in a future NBA Draft.

Brewster takes down New Hampton to stay unbeaten

January, 9, 2011
NEW HAMPTON, N.H. -- "Let's go son!" Mitch McGary yelled to his frontcourt-mate on the bench, beating his chest and extending his free hand for a high-five at the sideline.

The big man, Markus Kennedy, was happy to greet him with a slap as their teammate Elijah Carter went to the line for two free throws that would further cement Brewster Academy's forthcoming win over their hotly-contested rivals on the other side of Lake Winnipesaukee. They were just as happy to get out of this cramped, over-capacity gym with a win over New Hampton as much as the next kid in maroon and blue.

McGary had plenty more reason to be jubilant, though. The 6-foot-10 junior from Chesterton, Ind., provided pivotal spark off the bench -- especially when the 6-foot-9, Villanova-bound Kennedy got into foul trouble -- to total 16 points, and helped the Bobcats stay ahead of the Huskies and then hold off a furious comeback, to win going away 86-77.

"Mitch gave us great energy, great energy," said Brewster head coach Jason Smith, whose team improved to 13-0 and now 1-0 in the Evergreen League. "He's a consensus Top 50 player in the Class of 2012, he's got tremendous motor for somebody who's 6-10, plays physical, very athletic. He's gonna have his pick of schools. He's gonna be able to go wherever he would like."

Said senior point guard Naadir Tharpe of McGary, "He played great. You know, the first half Markus had a couple fouls and he wasn't playing so well, but Mitch came off the bench and helped us out alot."

Not to mention, the momentum coming away from the Smith gymnasium -- filled with nearly 1,000 fans in a gym that at first glance probably seats alot less -- goes without saying, too.

"The atmosphere was crazy," Kennedy said. "I love playing away. I've got to give New Hampton fans their props. They really brought their A-game."

Kennedy, facing up New Hampton's Zach Auguste (14 points, five rebounds), racked up his second foul with 9:54 left in the first of two 20-minute halves, and surprisingly without the girthy big man and with the wealth of long-range shooters for the Huskies (9-4), the game slowed down.

Smith admitted he "should have speeded it up a little bit, made them play faster", and for good reason -- the Bobcats, as shown in the possessions following Kennedy's benching, can put on a show in transition.

First, McGary came up with a steal on the perimeter and lobbed an outlet pass down court to Pitt-bound Durand Johnson, who was fouled hard and made one of two at the line. Then, Carter came up with a steal the next possession down and threw it deep to Tharpe, who flipped it behind his shoulders to McGary. The forward charged through the lane and laid a thunderous two-hand slam.

The game's YouTube-worthy gem, though, came at the 7:50 mark, when Carter fed St. John's-bound forward Jakarr Sampson with an alley-oop from halfcourt, making it 30-20.

"I just looked at my man Eli, I see his eyes, and I gave him the finger up," Sampson said of the play, grin growing wide. "He just tossed it, so I just went up and got it."

New Hampton battled back to trail 43-37 headed into the break, only to watch as Brewster scored the first eight points of the second half, and held the Huskies to just three field goals the first eight minutes. The Bobcats took their largest lead of the game, 63-46, off of a McGary block of Olivier Hanlon, with Tharpe pushing downcourt all the way to the blocks before kicking out to Max Hooper for a three-pointer from the left baseline.

In a recruiting climate where point guards are sometimes judged primarily on their scoring ability, Tharpe signed with Kansas for next fall after head coach Bill Self fell in love with his fluid method of distribution -- especially when it comes to pick-and-roll's. So while he once again didn't blow up the stat sheet (10 points, five assists), he controlled the tempo in the second half to big gains.

"Naadir is just a winner," Smith said. "The most important thing to him is for the team to get the win. He doesn't care if he scores two points, he knows that his job as a point guard is to distribute the ball, keep people happy, don't turn it over, keep his man in front of him. So, I think that's why he's going to a place like Kansas, because his basketball IQ is tremendous."

The Huskies mounted a comeback late behind hot shooting from UMass-bound Jordan Laguerre (20 points) and Joey Ptasinski (4 of 7 three-pointers), and point guard Carter Trent cut it to 77-72 with 1:48 to go with an NBA-range three from the left wing. But after a few turnover-filled possessions, Sampson (13 points) forced the Huskies into a fouling strategy after taking a reverse pivot from the baseline and sinking a floater, for a 79-72 advantage with 59 seconds left.

"I think we tried to spread the floor, and we have guys that can really shoot it," said New Hampton head coach Peter Hutchins, whose Huskies were 13 of 31 on three's (just three days after hitting 16 in a win over Vanier Prep). "Ideally, we're trying to get the ball in certain guys' hands, and hopefully we can get some open shots and make them."


Teammates of the 6-foot-8 Sampson, currently No. 33 in ESPN's Class of 2011 rankings, say they're accustomed to these kinds of nights from him. Sampson's other big dunk came with eight minutes left in the game, when he got nearly his whole right arm above the rim and tomahawked home an errant shot in the lane from Tharpe, to make it 71-59.


"I mean, we go crazy for it, but we see it every game," Kennedy said. "He gives us something special every game, every day in practice he does something. We just go crazy for it, get our fans hyped too, but we expect that out of him."

According to Tharpe, getting dunks -- and dunked on -- is often routine at Brewster practices. Best dunk? Tharpe jokingly volunteered one of his own, a dunk on McGary, before explaining the one that 16-year-old sophomore Deonte Burton laid on Kennedy in a practice.

Burton, a 6-foot-5 Milwaukee native who played on the sub-varsity tonight but is considered one of the team's strongest players, put a move on Kennedy "pretty bad", Tharpe said. Allow him to explain: "He was coming from the left side, and he made a move on the dude, cocked (his left arm) back, and Markus shot back to jump at him, but it was already too late. Left hand. It was nasty, it was real bad."

N.E. talent high on new ESPN rankings

September, 3, 2010
Could New England be turning into a high school basketball hotbed?

ESPN released its new basketball rankings today, and some of the region's premier talent ranks highly on the list.

In the Class of 2011's ESPNU100, St. Andrew's (R.I.) shooting guard Michael Carter-Williams is ranked 18th overall. The Hamilton, Mass. native is committed to Syracuse. Meanwhile, Brewster Academy point guard and Worcester native Naadir Tharpe comes in at 66th; St. John's Prep two-sport star Pat Connaughton was one of the players who just missed the cut.

Four New Englanders are in the top 25 of the Class of 2012's ESPNU Super 60, including St. Thomas More's Andre Drummond at the top overall spot and Notre Dame Prep's Khem Birch at No. 2. St. Mark's stars Alex Murphy and Kaleb Tarzcewski are ranked seventh and 24th, respectively.

Kuran Iverson of Northwest Catholic (Conn.) ranks No. 2 in the Class of 2013's ESPNU Terrific 25, with Tilton (N.H.)'s Nerlens Noel right behind him at No. 3. Brewster's Deonte Burton, a Milwaukee native, is also ranked No. 14 on the list.