The 4-star shooting guard plays the purest form of basketball. He attacks when necessary, and with his considerable talent, that translates to ruthless offensive efficiency. He defends with precision, something nationally ranked players often ignore.
Burton also writes. After finishing his first paper in middle school, he developed this side interest.
"It's a little hobby of mine," he said. "I don't really tell anyone about it."
Though he's not usually open about this passion, Burton cannot separate his Northwestern interest from his academic interest. NU is home to Medill, one of the most prestigious journalism schools in the world.
"That's some great appeal," Burton said. "They talked to me about [Medill]. "I've been interested in journalism. Ever since middle school, it's been my thing."
Well, all right then. Patrick Baldwin continued to exercise his southern connections by recruiting Burton. The shooting guard ranks No. 74 in the Scout Top 100, but the NU staff refuses to settle on the recruiting trail. It's admirable.
Baldwin recently reached out to the Houston Defenders (AAU) product and introduced him to Northwestern basketball. Burton is familiar with some of the basics, but NU prepares to dig into his recruitment these next few weeks.
Through these recent interactions, Burton realized he wants to listen to NU. He's interested in the location and, of course, the academic prestige. After speaking with Chris Collins and Baldwin, he understood their interest, and now hopes to learn more.
"It's been great," Burton said. "I really got a good feeling for this coaching staff."
His recruitment is extremely interesting. Asked his primary list, Burton names just about every Big 12 school and then ends with Northwestern. Collins and his staff understand the nuances of recruiting. NU needs to find surprise fits from across the world. Ignore the pipeline, and find the unique guys.
It's early in the process, but NU is looking to rewrite its checkered past. Part of that might involve Joe Burton, a top 100 target that just makes sense.