RAHEIM BURNETT, junior, Mount Pleasant boys basketball
THE WEEK: Scored 22 points as the third-ranked Green Knights (16-1) rallied from a 16-point halftime deficit to win 68-67 at No. 8 Howard last Tuesday.
THE COMEBACK: Mount Pleasant cut the deficit to two entering the fourth quarter, then won it on SeiQuann Kearney’s short jumper in the final seconds. “In the locker room, we all told each other the game’s not over,” Burnett said. “If we keep playing together, and keep sticking to the game plan coach Lisa tells us, we’re going to come out on top.”
THE SCORING: Burnett is averaging 20.2 points per game. He gets to the foul line a lot (8.4 attempts per game), and also has made 19 3-pointers. “I just do what the defense gives me,” he said. “If they give me a shot, I shoot. If they’re close up, I go by them.”
THE LEADERSHIP: “There was a recent game where we weren’t playing well, so I had to use a third timeout in about a minute and a half,” Mount Pleasant coach Lisa Sullivan said. “He was on the bench in foul trouble. He said, ‘Look, you don’t even have to say anything, I’ve got it.’ And he told them what he thought. Fortunately, we were on the same page, and all I had to do was say, ‘He’s right.'”
THE IQ: “His basketball IQ is so high that eventually, he’s going to end up being a coach,” Sullivan said. “Maybe he comes back and takes my job one day.”
THE MOTIVATION: After reaching the state quarterfinals in 2012, the Green Knights lost to Middletown and Hodgson in the first round of the playoffs the last two seasons. “We’ve been working hard all year, since we lost the playoff game last year,” Burnett said. “We all said to each other in the summer that we’re not losing in the first round again.”
THE ATTITUDE: “You’re going to be as good as the attitude of your best player,” Sullivan said. “He has matured. He has a great attitude now.”
THE NUMBER: Burnett has a reason for wearing his unique number – zero. “I don’t get any respect in the state,” he said. “I didn’t make all-conference last year, so zero is the only number I can pick. People recognize me now.”
THE CLASSROOM: Burnett’s favorite subject is English. “I like to read,” he said. “I like to read plays; we read ‘The Crucible.’ And I like to write stories and essays.”
THE FUTURE: Burnett hopes to continue playing basketball in college, but has yet to decide on a destination. He would like to major in broadcasting and become a sports analyst.
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