For the first time in a long time, Deonte Burton will take in basketball from afar.
More specifically, Burton will watch from the baseline at Hilton Coliseum for the good part of the next year after he transferred from Marquette this semester.
“I’m trying to prepare for it,” Burton said. “[The hardest part is] just being able to watch. I have to be the best cheerleader there is, I would say.”
Burton, a 6-foot-4 guard/forward, chose Marquette over Iowa State out of high school, and played in the first eight games this season (after averaging 6.9 points per game over the course of last season), averaging 6.4 points per game before choosing to transfer. Burton’s decision was made largely to get farther away from home after the passing of his mother this fall.
“It’s a perfect fit,” Burton said. “Iowa State, it’s a lot of transition, and it feels like a new family. I wanted to get further away from home.”
“It wasn’t too far away from home, but it was far enough away from home where I could leave the troubles of home. At home, my mother just died, so I didn’t want to be around the whole atmosphere of that.”
At Iowa State, Burton, who is a left-handed shooter with a wingspan of nearly seven feet, will sit out this season and the first semester of next season before becoming eligible at the Big Four Classic in December. Burton will have 1 1/2 seasons of eligibility unless the NCAA grants a waiver.
Burton is an athletic player with an ability to make plays above the rim, but his key area of focus remains consistency with his jumpshot. Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg has had the conversation, and Burton is keen on improving.
“He’s really athletic and he can play different spots on the court,” said Jameel McKay, who also transferred from Marquette and is friends with Deonte. “With this year sitting out, I feel like he can develop his jumpshot to keep improving. Once he develops that — he’s already tough to guard — I think he’ll be impossible to guard once his jump shot is falling consistently.”
As for sitting out, Burton plans to rely on teammates for help during the process. McKay thinks it could ultimately help Burton improve.
“You get to see the game from a different view and you just get to get better,” McKay said. “Sometimes he’ll forget that he’s not playing because it’s such a family environment. He’ll be treated the same regardless if he’s playing or not.”