Rising Junior: Lyndale Burleson

The Seattle Rotary Select has one of the nation's top rated players, 6-8 forward Marvin Williams. But while most of those in attendance came to see Williams, one other player stood out as well. Lyndale Burleson's stock is on the rise.

While I was at the Las Vegas Big Time Tournament checking out Marvin Williams, a 6-8 super-junior combo-forward who plays for the Seattle Rotary Select, I happened to notice Lyndale Burleson.

My first impression: My God this kid is fast.

Burleson is so quick with the ball in hands he simply leaves defenders glued to the floor as he uses a lethal crossover to blow by them. He needs to learn how to finish better, but I didn't see a single player that could get the ball from end to end quicker than Burleson.

Burleson is the fourth of four boys in the Burleson family. His father, Al Burleson, knows all about the recruiting process having gone though it himself before attending the University of Washington on a football scholarship.

"I was a free safety at UW," the elder Burleson said. "But Arizona recruited me hard and they were actually my second choice."

After completing his college career, Burleson was selected by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1976 NFL draft but was cut during training camp.

"I was the last player cut (by the Rams)," he said. "But I went to Canada and played for Calgary. I was an All-Canada selection and played seven years in the CFL."

Burleson has helped three of his sons choose a school. Al, Jr. played three years at UW and finished his college career at Western Illinois on a football scholarship. Kevin is a senior point guard for the Minnesota Golden Gophers and Nathaniel is a wide receiver at Nevada Reno.

Next year, Al will help Lyndale select a school and he already has a game plan that includes sending Lyndale to a college that pushes the ball up and down the court.

"Lyndale plays for O'Dea (HS)," Al said. "And the coach there is of the old school. He wants to play a more controlled game. But Lyndale is much better when he can get out and run. I hope he gives him a little more freedom this year."

At this point in the recruiting process most juniors haven't thought much about the college they might want to attend.

"I haven't really thought about schools yet," Lyndale said. "But UW, Kansas and Tennessee would probably be my favorites."

I asked how Tennessee got on the list, and Lyndale responded, "Because they send me the most mail."

This was Burleson's second trip to the Las Vegas Big Time and his game has progressed since his first appearance last year.

"The first year I didn't play much," Burleson said. "This year the ball is in my hands more and last year I was playing the two and this year I'm playing the one (point). I can do a lot more with the ball playing the point."

Williams and Burleson make up a dynamic duo for their Seattle Select team.

Williams can play on the inside or out on the perimeter. He has great moves in the post and he's a very good rebounder. He can also step out hit the perimeter jumper out to the three-point range. He has outstanding ball handling skills and can create his shot. Williams will be a dominating wing forward at the college level.

Burleson needs to work on his perimeter game a little, but his ability to create for himself or others is and will be the trademark of his game. At 6-3, he's big enough to see the court and he's lightning quick with the ball in his hands. That's simply a lethal combination.

And what could be more disconcerting to opponents?

"Me and Marvin (Williams) want to go to the same school," Burleson told me.

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E-mail Doug Carr at cattraxdc@aol.com

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