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Marquette Shows Interest In Wichita State Transfer Jamarius Burton

Picking up the phone is easy enough to do during a pandemic.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 06 Cincinnati at Wichita State Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As we touched on in our “well, now what the hey do we do with this website?” article the other day, one of the things we can expect to talk about over and over is Marquette basketball recruiting. That came up a little quicker than expected, as Syracuse’s Brycen Goodine announced his departure from and before we could barely realize he had interest in/from the Golden Eagles, he announced his commitment to Providence.

Okay, so round two. Let’s jump on this one a little faster, shall we? Corey Evans from Rivals and Taylor Eldridge from The Wichita Eagle both mentioned Marquette’s interest in Wichita State transfer Jamarius Burton.

As you can see, he has a laundry list of high major squads checking in with him, including fellow Big East squads Xavier, Seton Hall, UConn, Butler, and Creighton. At this point, it’s safe to say that Burton is going to end up having options very much available to him. If he ends up at Marquette, it’s because head coach Steve Wojciechowski and his assistants really bowled him over.

Burton was listed as a 6’4”, 200 pound sophomore guard on Wichita State’s roster this past season. While he was ranked #408 in the country as a prospect in the Class of 2018, head coach Gregg Marshall had him in the starting lineup for his first five games of his collegiate career. He didn’t stay there, but he got his spot back and ended up starting 28 of 37 games for the Shockers as a freshman. He averaged 6.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game. He wasn’t much of a shooter that year, but in 2019-20, he attempted two triples per game and sank 38% of them. Burton started 24 of 30 games as sophomore, averaging 10.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game.

Let’s drop in the Marquette scholarship chart here and then move along to why Marquette is interested in him.... and maybe why they shouldn’t be.

With two years spent at WSU, Burton is a sit one, play two transfer prospect. That would make him a redshirt junior in 2021-22, joining Symir Torrence in terms of class eligibility. That makes a lot of sense in terms of balancing the classes right now. Right now, that team looks to have Torrence, Greg Elliott, and Dexter Akanno in terms of backcourt players, and you can throw a senior Brendan Bailey in the mix there as a wing given the incoming freshmen forwards in the Class of 2020. Proven commodities in the guard/wing department would be a welcome sight, and I think Burton would qualify there.

Here’s the good news: KenPom has Burton in the top 160 in assist rate in the country for both of his seasons as a Shocker. He was the only guy on the WSU in the top 500 as a freshman, and they had three guys in the top 450 this past season, and he was still getting his assists while on the court. That’s good news. He seems to get to the line pretty well, but doesn’t hit his throws when he gets there, connecting on just 68% of his FTs in two seasons.

Here’s the big problem for me: Turnovers. Freshman year, he had a turnover rate of 24%. Bad. It dipped to 20% this past season, which is better but still not great for someone that you’re looking at handing a sizeable chunk of the offensive control. It’s not a secret that one of Marquette’s biggest problems the last two seasons has been turnovers on offense, and I can’t help but wonder if inviting Burton onto the roster is just reintroducing the same problem into the ecosystem in 2021.

With that said, it’s not like Marquette has any immediately obvious solutions to that issue for 2021-22 on the roster right now, and all we’re doing as far as other additions is crossing our fingers that Karim Mane 1) decided to go to college instead of going straight to the NBA Draft, 2) picks Marquette, and 3) stays longer than one season before going pro. Burton is a proven player at a reasonably high level of basketball, so if he’s interested, it might work out in MU’s favor.