Morgan Park rising sophomore Nimari Burnett is one of the promising up-and-comers in the state, and he continues to improve after an impressive freshman showing.
Burnett averaged 11.4 points per game and shot 42.3 percent in his first high school season. And with Ayo Dosunmu out due to injury for the 3A state title game, Burnett stepped up with a team-high 24 points while knocking down six threes in an overtime victory.
Playing on a winning varsity squad as a freshman would be an accomplishment for most. But this sharp-shooting guard was able to do much more than that.
"It was a great experience. Not a lot of people get to do that. It was great to be a part of the team and be a part of that win," Burnett said. "I have great teammates and coaches. Everybody pushed me to do well and I had a lot of fun."
After playing on the 15U EYBL circuit this spring, Burnett is fresh off the Super Soph Camp in Atlanta last weekend. He made the top-20 game along with fellow in-state 2020 prospects Adam Miller and Shon Robinson.
"I've gotten a lot better over the last couple months. I've played against a lot of good talent," Burnett said. "I just like that kind of competition. It makes me better as a player."
The 6-foot-2 guard is best known for his shot-making. He has a smooth style with a knack for getting buckets. Growing his game off the bounce is a big key to his development going forward.
"I feel like I've gotten a lot better shooting off the dribble. That has been a focus for me," Burnett said. "I'm rebounding it well. Just trying to take my time on offense and not rush anything."
Burnett is one to watch for the future, and the Illini already have eyes on him. He picked up an offer from Brad Underwood and the new Illini staff this spring.
"It meant a lot. I like Illinois. It's a great school," Burnett said. "It just showed me that I can do anything if I just keep working hard. They acknowledged me, and I appreciate that and I'm really proud of that. I'm just going to continue to keep working."
Burnett visited Champaign last fall under the old staff. He doesn't have any visit plans for this month, but he looks forward to getting back down to meet the new coaches.
"I've heard nothing but good things about the staff and I'm excited to get down there in the future," he said.