The drive for more

Winters Mill senior Brett Burrier wants to step up his game even higher - until it attracts Division I college recruiters

Boys basketball

January 14, 2007|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

College coaches are calling, but Winters Mill's Brett Burrier isn't ready to answer. Not yet, anyway.

Sure, the 6-foot-5 senior, who is probably the most versatile basketball player in Carroll County, could sign today with a strong Division III school and put an end to the draining college recruiting process. Burrier, however, wants more.

"I've gotten Division I interest, but I just haven't gotten what I think would be the right offer yet," Burrier said. "I'm just not exactly sure what that is."

So unsure, in fact, that the county's leading scorer is strongly considering delaying his college choice for a year and spending next season honing his skills at a prep school, hoping to raise his stock in the eyes of college coaches.

Winters Mill coach Dave Herman remembers Burrier as a tall, skinny freshman, who was capable of little else but shooting perimeter jump shots. Now, he can not only consistently hit three-pointers, but can also make strong moves to the basket and successfully battle underneath for rebounds.

"He's become a lot more of a rugged player," Herman said. "He can go in and mix it up on the boards."

A swing player, he even filled in as the team's backup point guard for a month earlier this season when junior Devon Lesniak was forced to the sideline with injuries.

"He's improved a lot," said Tom Strickler, a senior correspondent for the National Recruiting Report, a national scouting service. "One thing about Brett - nobody works harder than he does on his game. He gets the most out of what he has. He's a big, strong kid, and I think he's a scholarship player. Whether he's Division I or not, we'll see, but I wouldn't bet against him.

"If he continues to improve his jump shot and his perimeter game," he said, "he has a definite chance."

Burrier entered this weekend's play averaging a county-best 20.5 points per game for the 9-2 Falcons, shooting 38 percent from three-point range while grabbing an average of 7.1 rebounds. His best overall game came against Easton in the Salisbury Lions Club Tournament, when he had 28 points - despite taking just 18 shots - and 11 rebounds.

He also scored 25 points against Linganore and Williamsport, and 24 against North Carroll.

Burrier is his school's all-time leading scorer and is closing in on the 1,000-point milestone. He had 959 heading into Friday's game against Walkersville.

Burrier and slick guard Jimmy Dorsey, The Sun's Carroll County Player of the Year last season and an early signee with Binghamton University, make Winters Mill a heavy favorite to return to the Class 2A state final four in College Park. The Falcons fell in the semifinals a year ago.

Few teams in the metro area have a more potent tandem.

"Most teams prepare for Dorsey, but I think Burrier is the biggest matchup problem," Liberty coach Steve Johnson said. "At his size, he has no problem stepping out and shooting threes. Or, if you put a smaller guy on him, he's going to take you inside. "

Burrier and Dorsey have played together on Winters Mill's varsity for three years as well as on the same Amateur Athletic Union team during the offseason. They also attended the prestigious Eastern Invitational Basketball Camp together last summer.

"We've got a little connection," Burrier said. "We've played a ton of games on the court with each other, and we seem to know exactly where the other will be going."

Herman said that the players help boost each other's games. Dorsey often gets Burrier good looks at the basket by driving and dishing back to the outside, and the hot-shooting Burrier takes some of the heat off Dorsey, allowing him to focus on other aspects of his game like distributing the ball.

"Usually a team has one main scorer around here," Dorsey said. "If you have another person to go to, it's so much easier on you and everybody else. They can't really strategize on just me. They have to strategize on him, too. His shot will always be there for us, even if our shots aren't going down."

Even so, Burrier has yet to receive much Division I interest, except for some overtures from Bucknell. Most of the attention has come from Division III schools such as Catholic University.

Somewhat ambivalent about his current crop of college choices, Burrier said that he might opt to attend a prep school - most likely either The Hill School in Pottstown, Pa., or Mercersburg (Pa.) Academy - in an effort to broaden the list.

"I feel that if I keep working and going on the path that I'm going ... I definitely can play at that [Division I] level," said Burrier, who credits hours in the weight room for his improved play.

Burrier has loved basketball since elementary school. Though he briefly played lacrosse, he said he never had the same passion for it.

Now, his mission is clear - to convince others that he's ready to take the next step.

"He has a vision, and he's working toward it," Strickler said. "When a kid does that, who knows?"

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