North Carolina Top 80 Player Introductions
There are countless situations where a prospect possesses all the makings of a next-level player but doesn’t see the results within their recruitment. Whether it be his reputation, a lack of exposure to college coaches, or just the fact that he was originally located in South Carolina, each of these reasons could be evidence for why it’s taken Ben Burnham so long to burst onto the scene. Two years ago, Burnham was a quality rotational piece for Nation Ford but was really unable to showcase the full arsenal due to so much surrounding talent. However, he was so utterly dominant at camps and during travel ball with the Fort Mill Knicks that it became impossible to ignore his ability and potential.
Upon first glance, it’s not surprising that Division I programs were hesitant to offer a skinny, relatively quiet prospect that might be between positions. It took about ten seconds at our Summer Havoc for Burnham to gain the attention of nearly every coach in the building. He’s the perfect example of not judging a book by its cover, seeing as he is consistently the most explosive player in the gym. His time with the Fort Mill Knicks was nothing short of incredible, especially considering his ridiculous production on a game-to-game basis. It would be genuinely difficult to imagine many players going for 20-20 games more frequently than Burnham.
After a memorable summer, Burnham decided to transfer to Carmel Christian and reclassify to the Class of 2021. Things only continued to trend upward from that point forward, as Burnham was arguably their new focal point and biggest matchup problem. He went on to average 15.1 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 1.8 SPG, and 2.2 BPG while shooting 60% from the floor, 35% from beyond the arc, and was a constant threat for highlight-reel plays. His impact wouldn’t take long to recognize, as Winthrop stepped forward and became Burnham’s first offer. He battled injuries throughout the year but still ended up as one of the most productive players on the roster and truly looked poised to have a phenomenal summer season.
In taking a closer look at his on-court identity, Burnham is a long, wiry forward prospect with incredible explosiveness, particularly around the rim, and a nonstop motor. Despite his somewhat quiet demeanor, Burnham is tough, rugged, and stronger than his frame would imply. He consistently battles inside the paint for rebounds and second-chance opportunities but also does a phenomenal job of soaring in for putback dunks on a regular basis. Burnham has done a lot to develop his perimeter game over the past few years, going from an occasional spot-up threat to a dynamic inside-out presence. He shoots the ball pretty efficiently from midrange and beyond the arc, but also understands how to effectively take opponents off the dribble and attack the basket. His vision is solid but overall playmaking skills are slightly limited. Burnham is a constant problem for opponents in transition, due to his ability to properly run the floor on every fast-break chance. He possesses strong defensive instincts and versatility, which allows him to actively switch between multiple positions.