Bloomington – Tom Crean made a lasting impression on Avon (Ind.) H.S. freshman Austin Burgett over the weekend.
About an hour about Crean's Hoosier team dropped a hard-fought 67-63 decision to Minnesota in front of Burgett and a host of other talented recruits, the Hoosier coach was able to spend some time with the blossoming freshman big man. Crean's mood wasn't dampened by his team's result – he instead was in high spirits, applauding Burgett's recent 16-rebound against Danville one day after he and Assistant Coach Tim Buckley had come to watch him practice at Avon.
"He was talking to Austin and said, ‘you must have done the things during the Danville game that you worked on the night before when I watched you practice,'" said Avon Coach Jason Young, who made the trip to Bloomington with Burgett. "How does he remember that, just an hour after his team lost a tough game? I was so impressed with the IU staff."
It's understandable while Burgett's play would be on the mind of Crean and plenty of other college coaches. This 6'7", 200-pounder is rapidly emerging as one of the top freshmen in the state, and someone who figures to get plenty of recruiting attention from IU and others for the next several years.
In his debut season Burgett is averaging 7.9 points per game and a team-best 6.7 rebounds for Young's youngster-laden team, which is currently 7-7. Burgett moved into the starting lineup eight games ago, and Young doesn't expect him to lose his starting spot anytime soon.
"I'd suspect he'll start the rest of them for the next three years after this," Young said.
Burgett is already drawing interest from IU, Purdue, Xavier, Notre Dame and Northwestern, all of whom have had coaches come to an Avon practice this year to watch him as well as talented sophomore wing Kendall Griffin.
While his size as only a freshman sets him apart, his skill set stands out as well. As an eighth grader Burgett played point guard on his middle school team, and he'll bring some of those skills to the post now that he's at the high school level.
"He sees the floor really well and is a very good passer," Young said.
Young said Burgett could wind up adding another couple of inches in the next several years, and he has a frame that should allow him to add plenty of weight as well. He's been a regular in the high school weight room and that added weight should make him an even more formidable big man over the course of the next three-plus seasons at Avon.
"He's a tireless worker in the weight room, and we have a really good strength and conditioning coach," Young said. "I think he'll put the time in and become much stronger, especially in the lower body, and become a really good high school basketball player."
As he continues to develop, the recruiting attention figures to only intensify. Young said both Burgett and Griffin have been very good at handling the early recruiting interest, realizing that they'll need to continue to improve and that nothing is guaranteed this early in the process.
But Sunday's trip as an invited guest was still a very exciting day for Burgett, knowing that Indiana is keeping an eye on him and his development.
"I know Austin's grandfather has been a season ticket holder for 25 years for IU basketball, and we talked about that on the way down yesterday how excited his grandpa was," Young said. "It was a neat experience and a fun day."
Avon's Burgett Worth Remembering
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