Sports

Former St. Mary’s star Burton impresses in finale for Endicott

When the Endicott College men’s basketball team lost to Curry College Tuesday in the Commonwealth Coast Conference quarterfinals, it marked the end of the season for the Gulls and the end of Todd Burton Jr.’s college basketball career.The St. Mary’s High graduate went out firing, scoring a team-high 17 points and dishing out five assists in the 63-53 loss. The Gulls closed out their season with an 11-15 record.Burton’s road to Endicott started when he was a sixth-grader playing on the Pickering Middle School basketball team. It continued through St. Mary’s, where he played on back-to-back Division 4 state championship teams, and then hooked a left to the Canterbury School in Connecticut for a post-graduate year.”Every good thing has to end at some point,” Burton said about his college playing days. “Things are winding down. I’m about to graduate in May.”Burton, a sports management major, did his senior internship with Hoop Mountain Basketball New England, a business that runs camps and events that showcase talented high-school basketball players hoping to play at the college level or get into a prep school to improve their chances of playing in college.Burton’s career plans may get put on hold for a time, however, because he’s hoping to continue playing basketball after he graduates, possibly overseas.”My main focus now is to see if I’m able to make the jump from here to overseas. I’ll probably start at the bottom, but hopefully I’ll find a niche and keep improving,” he said.Although he leads the Gulls in several categories, including scoring average (11.1 points per game), total points (289), assists (2.2 per game), steals (1.1 per game for 28) and minutes played (28.4 per game), Burton, a 6-0, 180-pound guard/wing, thought he could have done better.”It wasn’t the best year I could have had,” he said. “I guess I expect more out of myself.”Burton said his mother, Gina Grandberry, and father, Todd Burton Sr., have always been very supportive, but sports have always come second to getting the job done in school. His father played football at St. John’s Prep, and after taking a year off when he (Todd Jr.) was born, he went on to attend Central Connecticut State University.Burton said the biggest adjustment he had to make came in the transition from high school to prep school.”Prep school helped me grow as a man. It helped me become more responsible and it helped me learn how to manage my time better,” Burton said.When it was time to go to Endicott, Burton had already adjusted to the academic workload and living away from home. He credits his parents with instilling in him the importance of sticking with things, especially during the hard times.Burton’s first bump in the road came in prep school. He was leading the Tri-Valley League in scoring when he came down with mononucleosis late in the season. He still took home MVP and first-team all-star honors.Burton saw significant playing time as a freshman reserve at Endicott, and by his sophomore year, he was starting and averaging 6.8 points per game. As a junior, he averaged 8.2 points and 3.4 rebounds.

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