Future King awaits his chance Burns star at home

Sacramento next?

August 12, 1993|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Staff Writer

Evers Burns has not let being an NBA second-round draft pick affect him, because he has not felt the impact yet.

"It hasn't hit me the way I expected it to," said Burns, a former Maryland Terrapin, who was picked by the Sacramento Kings as the 31st player overall.

"I think I'll start believing it when the game starts and I'll be playing against all-stars like Michael Jordan or Charles Barkley. Then it will hit me."

Burns, very involved in the community, has worked about 20 summer basketball camps from Baltimore to Washington since being drafted.

The 6-foot-8, 260-pound forward is the featured star in this week's Baltimore County All-Star Camp at Woodlawn High School, where Burns became a high school All-American in his senior year.

The camp, which includes boys and girls from ages 8-17, ends tomorrow.

At these camps, Burns looks to motivate players and stress the importance of carrying over the passion for basketball into all aspects of life.

Burns discusses his struggle with academics in his freshman year of high school to his coping with sitting on the bench and being out of shape in his sophomore year at Maryland.

After the short lecture, Burns picks up the tempo as he playfully competes one-on-one with players, whether they are 6 feet tall or only come to his waist. Tuesday, Burns and Clemson senior forward and Baltimore native Devin Gray engaged in a full-court game with several camp members.

Burns enjoys the opportunity to help others improve at the game. After Tuesday's session closed, Burns stayed to relay the techniques he learned through four years in the Atlantic Coast Conference to some youngsters.

"It's all about giving back to Woodlawn and the community," Burns said. "Putting a smile on some kid's face puts a smile on mine."

Burns frequently comes back to the gym where he played his most memorable game. Scoring 23 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, Burns led Woodlawn over Gaithersburg for the 1989 regional title and a trip to Cole Field House.

"I can remember every shot I took in that game," said Burns, gazing at the red-and-black-trimmed regional title banner that hangs on the gym wall.

Burns attends two Woodlawn basketball games a year and relives his glory days on the Woodlawn hardwood every chance he gets, which includes a summer league at the gym twice a week.

"He knows where he got his success, and is not going to forget these things," Woodlawn coach Rod Norris said. "Whether it was when he was at Maryland or when he is going to Sacramento, he'll always be back.

"It means a lot to everyone when he's here. He gives everyone hope that they can make it."

The only time Burns has left the area was for a summer minicamp in Sacramento for veterans and rookies two weeks ago.

Burns left a lasting impression in two rookie scrimmages, totaling 61 points and 18 rebounds.

With the Kings, Burns rejoins former Terrapins teammate Walt Williams -- a fact no one has seemed to miss.

"When people come up to me, the first thing they ask is, "How does it feel to be playing with Walt again,' " Burns said. "If someone asks me that again, I'll scream.

"But seriously, Walt has kept me focused. He has been telling me how to be ready and be a good player in the NBA."

Unlike his last years at Maryland, Burns is sporting a full head of hair. Why the change?

"As soon as I sign [a contract], it's gone. I'll shave it off," Burns said. "It will be a sign of getting back to business."

Burns honestly does not consider an NBA career a lock and has not ruled out playing in Europe professionally.

For now Burns waits, looking for a chance to break out the razor and play with old teammate Williams again -- against NBA all-stars.

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