A blue-chip basketball star announced his plans to attend BYU Monday night, just not the one who has been listed as the top prep player in the country.
Chris Burgess, a 6-11 forward/center from Southern California who has been named as the top high school player in the nation in several publications, ended months of speculation when he announced at a press conference that he will become a Duke Blue Devil.BYU finished second in the Burgess sweepstakes, but like the electoral college - as Bob Dole knows all too well - college basketball recruiting is a winner-take-all proposition.
But Cougar coach Roger Reid didn't have too long to mope. Jon Carlisle, a highly touted 6-10 center who will play his senior year at Brighton High, announced his intentions of going to BYU. Carlisle, who averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds per game last season in Washington state, was listed as one of the top 15 prep centers in the country in Blue Chip Illustrated.
BYU sunk plenty of time and effort into recruiting Burgess, and he came away impressed - just not quite impressed enough to spend a few years in Provo.
"At my school visit to Brigham Young, I found the campus to be wonderful and the communication department - which I want to major in - is awesome," said Burgess in a prepared statement at the press conference at his high school. "The Marriott Center was second to none, the community, student body and alumni have been extremely supportive and anxious for me to attend BYU. I thank them for their confidence in me and for their support."
Burgess said his decision to play for Duke came "after a great deal of thought, prayer and really sitting down and looking at what my goals are."
He listed as goals: getting an education, playing college basketball with and against the best players in America, winning a national championship, being named the best college player in the nation and playing in the NBA.
"With these goals in mind, I have selected to attend Duke University," he said. "It has been a childhood dream of mine to play for Duke. Now it is very exciting to be able to live that dream."
The signing of Burgess gives Duke a recruiting class to rival the famed "Fab Five" at Michigan a few years back. The Blue Devils have inked four of the top 11 players in the nation according to recruiting expert Bob Gibbons.
BYU's recruiting class, meanwhile, isn't too shabby even without Burgess. In addition to Carlisle, the Cougars have commitments from Deseret News 5A MVP Morgan Smith, who is a 6-5 small forward from Brighton, 7-foot Dan Howard of Davis High and 6-9 center Mekeli Wesley of Provo.
"BYU is getting more than just a pretty good player in Carlisle," said Brighton coach Jim Jimas. "The great thing about Jon is his all-around ability to play the game. He can shoot, he can rebound and he can play defense. I think Roger will really like having him. I know I do."
Carlisle chose BYU over three other finalists - Stanford, Utah and Arizona.