|Team: Holy Cross, PRO|
H: 5' 9"|
W: 165 lbs
Current: G |
High School: Potomac
Hometown: Dumfries, VA
Justin Burrell is coming off a solid, not spectacular freshman season where he averaged 10.8 points and 5.9 rebounds in heavy minutes in one of the toughest conferences in the country. Playing for a depleted St. Johnís squad, Burrell was forced to play big time starter minutes (32 mpg) Ė perhaps more than he was ready for. Even though he is older than his class (He played a 5th year of high school at Bridgton Academy Prep) Burrell looked inexperienced and outmatched fairly often. With that said, however, Burrellís potential is unquestionable as he displays the physical gifts of an NBA power forward. Itís going to be interesting to see if the experience he gained last season will translate to improved production this season.
As mentioned previously, Burrell is blessed with a strong physique. At 6Ē9 and 225 lbs, he uses his strength well - whether it be establishing position in the post or attacking the boards. Additionally, he has shown willingness to run the floor as he appears to be well conditioned and plays with a good amount of energy. Furthermore, he is a good athlete, but not an incredible one.
On the offensive end, Burrell is fairly raw right now, but has shown signs that he can become effective. Currently, the majority of his offensive game is with his back to the basket (32.14% according to Synergy Sports Technology) where he will have to make major improvements if his stock is going to rise. He has a tendency to force up shots when in the painted area Ė playing far too rushed, which contributes to him squandering easy opportunities under the basket. He is also unwilling to pass out of the post to re-establish better position. Other times he seems a bit indecisive Ė almost as if heís thinking about what move to make instead of reacting to what the defense is giving him.
All these factors contribute to his extremely low shooting percentage (42.9 %), along with his poor footwork as well. He has a propensity to make a move and then get stuck, which consequently forces him off balance and often leads to a turnover. Turnovers are another area which he will need to improve, as he commits nearly three a game. This is due in large part to his lack of hand strength in the post and his poor decision making abilities. When heís balanced and plays off of his instincts, he can be very efficient and a definite low post presence.
Despite the low shooting percentage, Burrell displays a nice shooting stroke with range that extends to about 15 feet. To improve that range, Burrell will have to get more arc on his shot, which will inevitably raise his percentages, as itís presently rather flat. He has shown a soft touch and if he can consistently knock down mid range shots, his inside game will open up. Additionally, his lack of a pump fake inside contributes to point blank misses and only 3.3 free throw attempts a game. With patience heíll be able to draw more fouls and make things easier for himself inside. If he can consistently maintain his balance and play at a pace heís comfortable with, his shooting percentage will increase considerably.
On the defensive end, Burrell has a lot of room to grow. He doesnít have terrible lateral quickness, but he does struggle with versatile bigs who can take him away from the basket. He has a long wingspan and that helps with his ability to contest outside shots, but is not enough when he is in close out situations. His post defense must improve as well. He allows his opponent to get good position on him in the post as he is often found behind his man which makes for easier post entries. The physicality that he has shown on offense is yet to be seen on defense. Heís often the one getting muscled around inside and is not a shot blocker either. He must work harder in the post and make his man catch the ball outside of the paint and away from the block.
Even though Burrell is a project right now, there is definite potential in him. With the physical tools and the ability that he has shown, itís clear that he has upside. Itís going to be up to him as to how good he can be.
Burrell was the most impressive player of the weekend, leading the Juice All-Stars-JR to a second straight IS8 title. With 220 pounds packed onto his 6í8Ē frame, Burrell has the body and explosiveness to make an instant impact for the Red Storm.
Burrell played almost exclusively in the post on offense all weekend, and while he showed some nice touch on his jump shot during warm ups, he still has a way to go before he starts stepping out during games. When he had the ball on the block, though, Burrell was a man amongst boys. He dominated in one-on-one situations, mixing in drop steps and spin moves, overpowering opponents with his strength. In cases where defenders didnít body up strong against Burrell, he was able to elevate over them for thunderous dunks. He didnít exhibit any real passing skills out of the post, mainly due to that fact that when the ball was entered into him he almost always went to the basket with the mismatches he had against him. Burrell did show off his solid open court speed, beating the defense down the court several times for uncontested dunks.
Defensively, Burrell did exactly what you expect a player of his stature and ability to do; block shots and rebound. Anytime an opponent did not go strong to the basket Burrell would at the very least alter the shot, but also came away with plenty of very impressive blocks in his two games. He was a tremendous force on the boards, often pulling rebounds right off the rim or backboard and outletting the ball quickly to his guards.
Burrell already has a nice post-up game, and if he can extend his range, he will become a force for St. Johns.
If you want to know one of the nationís more underrated big men, look no farther then Bridgton Academy power forward Justin Burrell. Holding only offers from St. Johnís and Hofstra last January, the jumping jack blew up nationally this past season, but still honored his verbal commitment to the Red Storm. He is a force on the offensive glass, has an NBA body, and is a downright freak athlete who causes nightmares for big men who choose not to box out. The NYC native is not overly skilled, but makes up for that with his hustle plays ability to finish inside against bigger opponents. While he is not an immediate NBA prospect at the moment, that could certainly change if he is able to extend his shooting ability and improve on his low post moves.[Read Full Article]
One of the less heralded players in the game, Burrell came out and surprised many with his inspired play down low and ability to hit the fifteen foot jumper. His freakish athleticism and nose for the ball allowed him to be one of the more productive players throughout the practice session. Justin is an absolute steal for the Red Storm, committing to them when he was an unheralded and undersized post out of New York City who only held offers from St. Johnís and Hofstra. Look for Burrell to be an immediate impact player next year for St. Johnís with his gritty, athletic style of play.[Read Full Article]
The best player on the floor in Bridgtonís surprise upset win over Patterson School, Justin Burrell went above and beyond showing that he is a much better player than his recruiting rankings would initially indicate. Burrell was an essential cog in his teamís offense and defense all night long, being super aggressive using his body and athleticism to wreak havoc wherever he had the chance.
Burrell was energized and extremely active on the defensive end in particular, moving his feet superbly to stay in front of smaller players, using his length and quickness to bother bigger players into contested shots, drawing charges and rebounding the ball with purpose. Offensively he showed some nice signs of a post game, establishing position in the paint, running the floor like a mad man, taking contact and displaying nice touch around to finish smoothly, even off the glass at times. He finished the night with 22 points. When faced with a double team he was extremely patient seeing over the top of the defense and delivering some beautiful passes on his way to 3 assists.
From what we saw tonight, it looks like St. Johnís may have gotten a huge steal in Burrell. Weíd like to see him one more time before we decide for sure, though.