The Paper photo illustration by Lori Poteet
The Paper photo illustration by Lori Poteet
For the second consecutive season, a Burton from Southmont has been named the boys' basketball player of the year. Last year it was Austin, but this year was Devon's time to shine. Devon Burton earned top honors from The Paper of Montgomery County and the Montgomery County coaches this season after being named first team All-County last season and being named to the All-Freshman team in his first year at Southmont.

"It's very cool to receive this honor and follow in by brother's footsteps," explained Devon. "My brother taught me a lot. I just try to play like him because he is really good."

Burton, a junior, led the Sagamore this season in scoring, steals, and assists. He finished the year with 514 points and 123 assists. His total of 71 steals shattered the season record for Southmont. He also co-owned the old record of 48. Burton is also the all-time steals leader for the Mounties with 119 going into his senior season. The old record was 102. For someone that is such a prolific scorer, Burton likes that defense is his foundation. In addition to his selection as the top player in the county, he was unanimously named to the Montgomery County All-Defense team.

"I love defense," explained Burton. "Coach (Jon) Sparks told us at the beginning of the season that defense was going to be the priority. I like pressuring the other team's best players. It is a good way to get the momentum and our defense set the tempo for us this season."

Much of that defense turned into offense. Burton's 514 points this season were 103 more than any other player in the conference. That total, combined with 394 points his sophomore year, give him 908 for his career. This certainly makes the 1,000 point mark reachable, but it also puts him within grasp of the all time scoring mark at Southmont. That total currently stands at 1,369. Burton needs 462 points next season to stand alone as the most prolific scorer in Mountie history. Southmont head coach Jon Sparks knows that he has a dynamic player.

"Devon is our engine," complimented Sparks. "He's the guy that everyone has to gameplan for. And, as important as his scoring is, he creates opportunities for everyone else. Our big guys didn't shoot a lot this season, but when they did they shot a very high percentage because they were getting wide open looks."

Sparks explained that despite their efforts, teams struggle to contain him because of his multifaceted skill set.

"(Burton) is a defensive threat with his 71 steals," added Sparks. "He's difficult to gameplan for because of his athleticism and varying range. He shot over 59 percent from inside the arc and over 37 percent from three point range. Those are very high percentages and even more amazing from the same player."

Burton has received numerous honors for his play, but the most recent accomplishment was an invitation to the Top 100 workout for underclassmen. The field of underclassmen basketball players in Indiana consists of thousands of players. Only 100 are selected for this opportunity to display their talents. Burton is still undecided on his plans for after graduation, but still has a year to weigh his options. Austin just wrapped up his freshman season at Wabash where he played both football and basketball. Sparks knows that his player has characteristics that will allow him to succeed in an endeavor.

"Devon's best personality trait is his very upbeat and positive attitude," praised Sparks. "That obviously helps in sports, but more importantly it affects those around him in a positive way."

Despite all his accomplishments already, the most amazing thing about this talented junior is that he hasn't reached his peak yet.

"Devon has room to grow," said Sparks. "He hasn't eveb reached his full potential yet."

The sky is certainly the limit as Devon Burton continues to improve.