OSU is Saying goodbye to senior Joe Burton

Adios No. 11!

The Oregon State Beavers basketball team will see the departure of just one senior at the end of the 2012-13 academic year, but boy is it a big departure—in both the literal and metaphorical sense.

Heading off to bigger and better things this year is senior Joe Burton, whose name has become a mainstay in Gill Coliseum over the last four years.

Burton began his Beaver career in 2009, and was the first recruit of current head coach Craig Robinson—which also made him the first Native American male to receive a scholarship to play in the conference.

Good luck on your future endeavors Joe! (Mamta Popat/Arizona Daily Star)

At 6’7, 295 pounds, Burton was the strangest sight on the court at times. His frame was too stout for someone playing the enforcer role, and it certainly contradicted the finesse he had on the court.

Burton played a combination of center and forward for OSU, but at times you’d think he was a point guard.

In his four years with the program, Burton was the best facilitator on the team. Sure, he was sporadic and you didn’t always know where the ball was going, but when he was on the top of his game his passes were a thing of beauty.

All it takes is a quick Google of “Joe Burton pass” to find a plethora of highlights devoted to the big man’s skills.

While he was obviously the best passer on the Beavers, some may say his skills went beyond the team. When asked about Burton’s skills, Utah coach Larry Krsytowiak was quoted by The Oregonian’s John Hunt as saying:

If there’s a better passer – passer, period – in our league, I’d like to know who it is. I can’t think of anybody you can compare him to. Usually you can come up with an old-tine NBA guy or somebody and say, ‘Oh yeah, he’s like him,’ but he’s unique.

Burton finishes his career in Corvallis with over 1,000 points, 700 rebounds and 300 assists. He’s the first Beaver to ever reach such feats. Just for posterity’s sake, he also accumulated 131 steals in his time at OSU.

No. 11 shot 50.5 percent from the field for his career, which included a career-high 55.9 percent in 2011-12.

But Burton wasn’t just a star on the court. He has been a huge part in the Corvallis community, while being a role model for Native American youths hoping to follow their own athletic pursuits.

With his production on and off the court, you’d be hard pressed to find someone in Corvallis who hasn’t heard of Joe Burton. And if you walked into Gill Coliseum on a game day and asked a fan who their favorite Beaver was, you could almost be sure he’d be their answer.

Unfortunately, the program was unable to get back on track in Burton’s time there, but it never seemed to have an effect on his disposition—it was hard to find a time when he isn’t smiling.

While it’s a tough thing to see Burton go, it’s fitting that he got to enjoy the spot light of being OSU’s lone graduate this season. Center Angus Brandt would have joined him, but his early season injury has paved the way for a medically eligible return in 2013-14.

Heading off towards graduation with a bang, Burton saved his best play for last. In his final year with the Beavers, he averaged career highs in points (11.0), rebounds (6.4) and assists (3.4) per game.

There will never be another Joe Burton who dons the orange and black. He’s one of a kind. For all his contributions on and off the court, he will surely be missed.