Player: Kasai Burton
High School: Sherman (TX)
Grassroots Team: Texas Dynasty (TX)
Hiding in plain site, 2022 guard Kasai Burton is one of the undiscovered talents in Texas prep basketball. Entering his junior season, Burton does not hold any offers and has received interest from only Sam Houston State and Loyola (MD). This offseason, Burton played in tournaments with grassroots program Oklahoma Hustle in lieu of his normal team Dallas Showtyme (TX). Even with a new group of players to adjust to, it’s easy to identify Burton’s pronounced impact on both ends of the floor. As a sophomore, he averaged 15 points, 5.4 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals per game last season.
Burton has repeatedly been tasked with guarding the best opposing player, but he is omnipresent on the court and he’s always in the play in some form or fashion. While his 3 steals per game are high production on paper, it’s hard to quantify his team impact causing havoc all over the floor. Burton is an opportunistic defender and constantly has great awareness about him to take advantage of his opponent’s missteps.
Burton’s production is not simply the result of teammates poking the ball loose, but his relentless pursuit of the ball and adjustments to put himself in the best positions to disrupt offensive flow. He is pesky defending ball-handlers and has to be accounted for especially on baseline inbounds passes where he picks up defenders all 94 feet.
Getting to the Rim:
The same traits that make Burton an opportunistic and productive defender translate very well to the offensive side of the court as well. His acceleration, change of pace and physicality with the ball in his hands make for a lot of possessions ending in and around the rim. His on-court awareness allows for adequate assessment of the defense, while on the move, and development of a quick plan of attack to score.
Burton penetrates the defense with good balance and navigates traffic around the paint to reach his spots in tight. Likewise he utilizes his physicality well to legally move defenders off his path and ensures he reaches the best possible shot attempt. His combination of these traits makes Burton a very effective player around the rim and it’s very much one of his scoring comfort areas.
Shooting Versatility and Touch:
Yet finishing in tight is not Burton’s only true scoring trait. He’s shown time and again that even without forcing the issue and operating patiently within the means of the offense, he’s inches away from scoring at a high clip. Due to his on-court awareness and speed, Burton is a big threat operating out of the pick-and-roll. He’s able to quickly separate himself from defenders and put them on their heels resulting in various options to score.
Additionally a threat to repeatedly produce from the perimeter is another area where Burton makes defenses pay. It’s rarely his first option offensively, as he looks to make defenses pay inside for lazy effort, but it’s a shot he consistently drains and attacks when opportunities present themselves. Burton has range on his shot and pairs that with excellent touch to step in comfortably all around the perimeter and knock down 3’s.