Two-sport star concentrating on pigskin

While most high school football players were working out and doing summer team and college camps, Brandon Burmeister was playing hoops - a lot of hoops. The 6-5, 190-pound athlete from Mercer Island played on the elite Rotary Select squad that played at a number of top tournaments in July, including the Adidas Big Time in Las Vegas and the Elite Eight x 2 in Oakland. Now it's September, and Brandon has turned his attention to football.

"I spent most of July playing hoops," Burmeister told His Rotary Select I team was a veritable who's-who of in-state talent - Franklin's Aaron Brooks, O'Dea's Lyndale Burleson, Clarkston's Josh Heytvelt and Bremerton's Marvin Williams. "We did really well at the Big Time tournament. We made it to the Sweet Sixteen. We went 6-1 in the tournament."

After being swamped with basketball, Burmeister took a little time off, and then started hitting the weights again in preparation for playing football with the Islanders. At some point Brandon will have to make a choice when it comes to the sports he plays, and whether or not he'll be able to play both in college. "It really depends on the best situation for me, but I don't even need to play basketball in college," he said. "I'm having a great time playing football right now." He didn't play at all last year, and was contemplating giving football up for good but re-emerged at this summer's NIKE camp in Oregon and put together some nice numbers; 4.84 40 and 4.21 shuttle.

It's his speed that will determine whether or not he receives a D1 offer. He's heard that from at least one college coach. "I talked to Coach (Rick) Neuheisel on Saturday," Brandon said, referring to a conversation he had with the Washington Head Coach before the Huskies took on the San Jose Spartans. "He told me that he would be watching me and that he feels I am a good receiver but I have to show him if I have the speed to get open and get away from people."

Washington was the only school to call Burmeister about football on September 1st. "One of the Mercer Island coaches knows the coaches at Washington State, but I haven't received anything in the mail from them. I haven't gotten any calls from them."

For basketball, Boston University is hot on his trail, followed by Cal Poly, Cal-Riverside and San Diego State. Brandon does not have an offer yet for either sport, but Washington has indicated that a ride is there if he shows his wheels this fall. "Coach Neuheisel said that if I show him speed that a scholarship is waiting for me," he said. He doesn't have any official trips set up for either sport, but is planning on taking one to Boston either this month or next.

Would he accept it? "If they offered in the next couple of weeks I would probably wait," Burmeister said. "Just because I would want to see if anybody else was interested." There's no question he could see himself playing for Neuheisel. "He's an amazing guy. I have a lot of respect for him. In person or on the phone, he doesn't change. You can see it. When he was talking to the team on Saturday you could tell that his personality doesn't change at all."

Brandon's father, Bob, was a two-year letterwinner ('69,'70) for the Huskies, so Husky Stadium is not unfamiliar territory for the younger Burmeister. However, he was impressed by how he was treated at the San Jose State game. "I really didn't know what to expect," he said. "I figured we would just get the tickets and then sit down and watch the game, but we were able to go down to the field and we had a hostess that took us to our seats and answered any questions we had. It was a good experience."

The Islanders go right from the frying pan into the fire this Friday, as they take on Skyline. "We had a jamboree this weekend at Shelton," Burmeister said. "We played Battle Ground and Olympic." He'll be playing both receiver and safety for Mercer Island this fall. Top Stories