Jordan Burns shined for Colgate basketball for four years. As he looks to a pro career, he won’t soon be forgotten in Hamilton.
The seven-day forecast for San Antonio, Texas includes a high of 95 on Wednesday. A low of 59 on Saturday night might require a jacket, but it’s still the type of weather that no one can complain about.
So of course, Jordan Burns decided to make the move from the Alamo City to upstate New York, where he experienced a different type of cold weather. In fact, Burns had never even heard of the small liberal arts college until they reached out to him to join their program.
“I really never really heard of Colgate until they recruited me,” Burns said. ”
But now Burns refers to Colgate as his “second home”, saying it’s where he matured. “Colgate definitely holds a special place in my heart,” said Burns.
Burns arguably accomplished as much at Colgate as anyone who’s worn the gray, maroon, and white jerseys. His 1,666 points ranked fifth all-time in program history, while Burns’ 503 assists set the Colgate all-time record.
In 2019, at that time the sophomore guard almost careened the ‘Gate to an upset over 2-seed Tennessee in the NCAA Tournament Round of 64. Burns knocked down eight threes on thirteen attempts for 32 points in the game, with the Grant Williams led Volunteers winning by just seven points.
The memories from that game still live on in the minds of the Colgate faithful and Burns won’t soon forget either. “It was just a special day,” Burns said.
Burns and a good chunk of his teammates from that season were a popular pick to upset 3-seed Arkansas in this year’s tournament but again came up short. This time, the Razorbacks had to come from behind to steal Colgate’s thunder. Burns was held to just 13 points on 4-of-13 shooting. His six turnovers tied teammate Jack Ferguson for the most in the game.
Burns explained his struggles saying, “The biggest difference for me in the Tennessee game, I hadn’t really got my name out yet in the mid-major basketball scene.”
Fast forward two years and Arkansas was ready on the scouting report. “Arkansas kind of came to me, they had a good game plan, coming off screens and stuff, it was hard to play,” said Burns.
Frequent double-teams and extra passes caused turnovers for Colgate, which led to the Razorbacks pulling away in the second half.
For Jordan Burns, those losses hurt even more. For all of his individual accolades, he’s always worried more about the name on the front of his jersey more than the name on the back. His passing abilities proved this because even when Burns had quiet games scoring the ball, he would get other guys involved.
In a game against Holy Cross, Burns was shut down to his lowest point total of the season, scoring just eight points. But in that game, his eight assists were tied for his most in a single-game last year. Burns says being a small guard forced him to become a passer.
“You’ve got to find different ways to affect the game,” Burns said. “I’ve always been a guy who could pass the ball. I think as I started to focus on it, I realized that I could do it at a much higher degree.”
Now, Jordan Burns will have a chance to showcase that skill throughout the NBA Draft process. On March 30, the Patriot League Player of the Year decided to enter his name into the NBA Draft and signed agent Roger Montgomery and MSG, forgoing a fifth year of eligibility.
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Burns would become just the fifth former Raider to play in The Association and the first to be drafted since Adonal Foyle in 1997. Burns says that decision came easy to him, not wanting to play in college at 24-years old. But he also believes his ability is there to help an NBA team.
“I’m ready IQ-wise, game-wise. I feel that I’m ready to go, that I can affect an NBA team and bring something positive,” Burns said.
From a player standpoint, the small in stature yet deadly outside shooter likens himself to former college legends Kay Felder and Keifer Sykes, with NBA comparisons to the way Isaiah Thomas and Chris Paul approached the game. He can control the tempo, lead an offense, and hit big shots from all places on the court.
Jordan Burns will have to wait until July 29 to possibly hear his name called in the 2021 NBA Draft. But no matter what team chooses him, they’ll have a gritty player who works as hard as the next.
Colgate was his home for the past four seasons. A new (hopefully warmer) one awaits.