Colorado‘s Alec Burks is the best in a weak crop of shooting guard prospects in the 2011 NBA Draft. He is a lottery lock and due to a relationship he built in Boulder, has a connection to the Charlotte Bobcats who hold the ninth overall pick.
By: David Kay
During his two years at Colorado, Alec Burks often shared the court with fellow shooting guard Cory Higgins. The tandem served as the Buffaloes dynamic duo accounting for nearly half of the team’s points last season. It was because of that, that Burks built a relationship with Cory’s dad, former NBA player and current Charlotte Bobcats general manager, Rod Higgins.
“I know his dad a lot because he came to a lot of games,” Burks said at the NBA Draft combine. “I’ve got a great relationship with both of them.”
Burks acknowledged that he had a meeting scheduled with the Bobcats during his stay in Chicago for the combine. Having prior knowledge of Burks’ game and personality off the court might entice Higgins to use Charlotte’s ninth pick on the lengthy two guard who measured 6’6″ in shoes with a 6’10″ wingspan. One source at the combine confirmed Charlotte’s interest in Burks, telling me that he heard Burks would not get past the Bobcats if he was still on the board when they were picking.
Burks does not exactly fit a need for Charlotte who already has decent depth at the two with Stephen Jackson and Gerald Henderson. Plus, the ‘Cats have a huge hole at small forward and center, though Burks could possibly play the three at the next level even though he thinks he is more of a combo guard. So selecting Burks would certainly fit into the “best available player” theory rather than filling a need. However, the Bobcats hold a second first round pick, 19th overall, and could look to fill a need with that selection if they landed Burks early on.
Burks displayed his athleticism and versatility at CU, using ability to get to the rim and average a Big 12 best 20.5 points per game during his sophomore season. The biggest knock on his games comes with his jump shot as he only connected on 29.2% of his attempts from three.
“I feel like I was always a shooter,” Burks stated with confidence. “I just went to the rack a lot more than I shot it. I’m just showing people I can shoot it.”
Playing at Colorado, Burks did not get the national exposure that most of the other prospects at the combine received. “It didn’t really hurt me but it didn’t help me either. I feel like if you’re talented enough, they’ll come find you and that happened in my case.”
That has certainly been the situation for Burks who was not a major recruit coming out of high school. Still, Burks has put himself in a great spot heading into the draft and admitted having a long list of teams wanting to meet with him at the combine.
“Coming from two years ago, nobody knew me so it’s great to be in this position,” Burks said. “Keeping that chip on my shoulder, staying hungry, wanting to get better, and prove to everybody that I can play at this level.”
That type of attitude combined with his skill has a lot of people enamored with Burks’ potential at the NBA level. With Bobcats GM Rod Higgins almost certainly part of that group, do not be surprised if Charlotte snags Burks with the ninth overall pick.
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David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.
You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.