From Illinois to California, that was the move Nimari Burnett and his family made heading into his sophomore season. It’s never a bad thing to turn in windy and gloomy days for year-round sunshine. Both locations value their basketball like the mecca of basketball, New York, but this move was about so much more than hoops.
Sure, the offers have started to pile up for the 2020 guard after moving to California, but that could have happened for him in Illinois. Burnett talked about the move allowing him to be “free” as well as granting him the chance to be just a kid. It’s not every day one gets the chance to be a regular teenager where he came from.
In Chicago, it’s a little tougher to focus on basketball and being a teen as the activity in the inner city will find its’ way to your door step. We have seen it happen over the decades as it affected basketball stars like Benji Wilson, Derrick Rose, and Dwyane Wade. Wilson lost his life before even making it to the collegiate level while Wade lost a family member. In addition, Rose and Jabari Parker have both been known for speaking on how tough it was growing up in certain areas of Chicago. It is easy to see what Burnett is referring to when he talks about why his family uprooted him.
The rising star left Morgan Park to play for Prolific Prep this past season as his new school offers him the chance to get ready for college. Off the court, he describes himself as funny, strong minded, and intelligent. On the hardwood, he says he is as intelligent as they come.
At 6’3”, Burnett plays with a lasered-focused approach on the court, displays patience in letting plays develop, and a high level of IQ. His jumper is so pure that it barely touches the net. He will camp out at the three-point line and make you pay. Furthermore, Burnett is an unselfish player as he will make the extra pass on drives. His play is versatile as he can play in a seven seconds or less offense as well as run the half-court game.
Burnett’s bread-and-butter is tickling the twine with his silky jumper, but he is working to become more of a passer. In addition, he has the ability to put the ball on the deck and get to the rack where he can finish with a layup or the occasional flush. He talked about who he emulates when on the court.
“I started emulating my game after KD (Kevin Durant) especially being tall with my long arms,” said Burnett.
Since the end of his sophomore campaign, Burnett has been one of the hottest names in the country on the recruiting trail. According to 247 Sports, he is a four-star shooting guard in the class of 2020. He is ranked 48th nationally and sixth in the state of California. The Prep standout has over 10 offers from schools like USC, Indiana, Arizona, Stanford, Nevada, and more.
Burnett credits the floodgates being open, recruiting-wise, due to the fact that he has been a part of winning basketball both during the regular season as well as on the AAU level. He plays for “Team Why Not” which is a team that is sponsored by Jordan under the direction of NBA star Russell Westbrook.
With his name generating more of a buzz as well as growing pressure to perform on the court, Burnett knows that only one voice from one person matters, his father Brian Burnett. Nimari says that his dad is always there for him and is always infusing him with the idea that he needs to give it his all every time he steps on the court. In general, his dad just keeps it real with him.
Burnett stated, “He would tell me if I had a bad game and what I could have done better.”
The bond they share is something that can only mold him into a winner on the court as well as in life.
Burnett plans on hitting the gym hard as he is looking to get stronger heading into his junior year. He is eager to hit the court this fall as he plans on making his presence felt on a national level. He wants to be known as one of, if not, the best players in the country at his age. In addition, he wants to help lead Prolific Prep to an undefeated season.
With his hoop dreams coming to fruition as well as enjoying his life as a teen, it is safe to say that the move to California has paid off for Burnett.