My girlfriend wants an Allen Iverson sweatshirt.
I want a Nat Burton jersey.
With one shot, Burton stopped being the best 6’4” player that doesn’t ever shoot three pointers and became everybody’s hero.
After the shot, my roommate said he was going to give Burton a big hug the next time he saw him. His teammates didn’t have to wait; they all hugged him?at the same time.
Several females declared their love for him. (Of course, I still think that has more to do with his biceps than the one shot.)
Truth is, though, one shot does make a hero in my mind. I’ve been a big Nat Burton fan for a long time, and I’ve wanted a Burton jersey since I got a chance to interview him, Anthony Perry and Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje before this season began. Shot or no shot, everyone should want a Georgetown Hoyas No. 25 jersey. If it had his name, that would be even better.
Those three players have been through a lot the past four years. And, even though I am deluding myself, after covering the vast majority of the home games for four years, I sort of feel like I’ve been through it with them.
Burton, however, is the only real four-year senior. Perry and Boumtje-Boumtje didn’t miss out on the 1997-98 season by choice, but it’s important to remember that Burton has been the only constant during my time at Georgetown.
Burton has played in every single Hoya game during his four years. He’s also played hard every minute he’s been on the floor?2692 of them and counting. It’s about time people noticed.
So, what makes Burton so inspirational?
For starters, it doesn’t matter whether or not he starts or even how much he plays. You probably noticed that it took a little while for Perry to get used to his reserve role. Not Burton. His play as a reserve early in the season (11 assists in the first two games) was a big reason the Hoyas didn’t stub their toes with a starting lineup featuring two rookies.
You might have also noticed that he almost never takes an outside shot. Result: Burton led the team in field goal percentage this season. Burton’s complete sacrifice is the single best example of a player understanding his role as part of a team.
Until this year, Burton was one of the team’s better three-point shooters. This year, though, the team has five other guys to bomb away from deep; Georgetown doesn’t need a sixth. So, Burton has literally stopped shooting from the outside. Unfortunately for Arkansas, he still shoots inside.
The heart of the matter, though, is that Burton has a super-star-level combination of intelligence (brains) and intensity (heart). Usually smart players look like they’re kind of floating through the game picking their spots. Intense players usually try too hard.
Burton is the best of both worlds. Maybe that’s why he’s been such a constant. That’s also why I’m not worried about his new-found fame.
I couldn’t be happier that Burton is finally getting the attention he deserves. Four years of brains and heart gets an exclamation point and a few hugs. Maybe the bookstore will get some jerseys.