Player feature

Freshman forward Justin Burrell’s resume speaks for itself. While spending a year of prep school at Bridgton Academy in Maine, he averaged 23 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks, and three assists per game and led his team to a 35-5 overall record. His team was also able to capture the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council Championship.

As a senior at Our Savior Lutheran High School in the Bronx, Burrell averaged 17.4 points, 14.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists.

Burrell, a Middletown, New York native, who signed with St. John’s in the early signing period, was rated the No. 2 prep prospect player nationally and was also ranked in the top 20 power forward prospects in the nation by recruiting services. Burrell was even called “the most important recruit in the league” by Street and Smith’s. At the beginning of the school year, all eyes were already on Burrell.

“There’s a lot of pressure on me and it’s very challenging to balance my time,” he said. “It’s really hard on my body. My typical day is class, study hall, and practice. There’s really no fun in my day.”
As the St. John’s season gets under way, Burrell will be looked upon heavily to be a major impact for the Red Storm. In fact, head coach Norm Roberts is impressed with the 6-foot-8 forward’s skills.

“Justin can really run and jump,” Roberts said. “He’s very knowledgeable and doesn’t try to do things he can’t do. He wants to win and is extremely unselfish.”

Roberts added, “We expect Justin to be a major impact guy for us this year. He is a guy that can score from 15 feet or with his back to the basket. He has tremendous athletic ability. I think the sky is the limit for his potential.”

Burrell, who is one of eight newcomers to the Red Storm, has high expectations for the upcoming season that focus around the main goal of winning.

“I want to prove the critics wrong and just want to win,” he said. “Also, I want to work hard enough so I can hopefully win Big East Rookie of the Year.”

In Burrell’s first exhibition outing against Molloy College, he scored 15 points, pulled down seven rebounds and added two assists in 28 minutes of play as St. John’s went on to beat Molloy, 95-66. Burrell, along with junior captains Anthony Mason, Jr. and Tomas Jasiulionis, look to form a versatile and exciting frontcourt for the Red Storm, which hope to emerge as a force in the Big East.

“We have great chemistry as a whole and the team really gets along great,” Burrell said. “We expect to do a lot of good things this season and all of the newcomers come from great high school and prep school programs, so we’re used to winning.”

Burrell’s winning attitude mixed with his endless work ethic has the Red Storm’s future looking
very bright.