Monday, June 24, 2024

Notre Dame men’s basketball star declares for NBA Draft, maintains college eligibility

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Markus Burton captivated Notre Dame fans throughout an otherwise difficult 2023-24 season. It could have been his only one with the Irish — but in all likelihood, it won’t be.

On Thursday, the freshman guard announced his intention to enter the 2024 NBA Draft, which will take place June 26-27. However, he left the door open to return to Notre Dame.

“Over the past few weeks, I’ve looked for ways to better my game for my sophomore season,” Burton said in a graphic that he posted to his Instagram page. “While maintaining my eligibility at Notre Dame, I will be entering my name into the NBA Draft. The valuable feedback I will receive from this experience will pay dividends on and off the court.”

This is not an uncommon decision for a college basketball player and, based on his statement, Burton’s expectation appears to be that he’ll play the 2024-25 season at Notre Dame.

Declaring for the NBA Draft will allow Burton to go through the pre-draft process — including the NBA Draft Combine from May 12-19 in Chicago — and receive feedback from scouts, coaches and executives. The deadline for early entries to withdraw from the draft and keep their college eligibility is 11:59 p.m. ET on May 29, 10 days after the combine’s conclusion.

Burton, a native of nearby Mishawaka, became an instant star in his first season with the Irish. He won Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year over Duke stalwart Jared McCain and ranked second nationally among freshmen with 17.5 points per game.

Burton also finished fifth in the ACC (second among freshmen) with 4.3 assists per game, and he came in fifth in the league (first among freshmen) with 1.9 steals per game as well.

Two things could prevent Burton from being drafted — for now. The first is his high volume of turnovers, in which the freshman led the ACC with 3.7 per game. His sky-high usage rate, which ranked 10th in the nation and led all high-major players at 33.9, did contribute to that number.

The second is his height. Burton is listed at 5-foot-11, but most agree that he’s likely shorter than that in reality. Burton would be one of the smaller players in the NBA, although he didn’t let that stop him from scoring with the Irish.

The last Notre Dame player to be selected in the NBA Draft was Blake Wesley, whom the San Antonio Spurs selected No. 22 overall in 2022. According to Real GM, Wesley is the only men’s basketball player ever to be drafted after his freshman year with the Irish, and he did so after going through the pre-draft process with his eligibility intact.

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