June 10, 2014

Elijah Burns Becoming Top Recruiting Target

Burns Becoming a Hot Target for High Majors

By Zack Cziryak/Rivals Reporter

Elijah Burns

Rising senior Elijah Burns, a combo forward from Blair Academy has seen his stock rise the last several months.

Burns, who considers himself a face-up four, was part of a New Jersey High School Prep A championship team this past season at the Blairstown, N.J. based school, playing with class of 2014 commits Marial Shayok (Virginia) and Brett Jolly (St. Louis).

Burns is slowly becoming a hot recruiting commodity and Seton Hall along with many high majors has noticed having spent quite some time courting the 6'8" 220 pound player in the past 6 months.

Burns' relationship with the Hall began last winter when Pirates Associate Head Coach Shaheen Holloway first reached out after watching the forward play.

"It was early December, he started recruiting me after a game for my high school team at Blair," Burns said of Holloway. "It's been going pretty well, I've been talking to him ever since."

The relationship with Holloway led to an unofficial visit to Seton Hall this past spring. The quaint South Orange campus was something that appealed to Burns as Blair Academy is similar with an enrollment of less than 500 students.

Associate Head Coach Shaheen Holloway along
with Kevin Willard and Fred Hill

"I really liked the school because it's a small community like all of the schools I've been too before. I felt at home when I got there."

The unofficial visit did not include a tour of the Prudential Center for Burns, who is familiar with 'the Rock' having watched Seton Hall play in the Big East earlier in the year. And he could not have chosen a better game if you're a Pirate fan, seeing the Hall easily dispatch Georgetown 82-67, a victory that completed a two game sweep of the Hoyas for the first time since the 2002-03 season.

Not only did Burns get to watch Seton Hall dominate their league rival but he got a first hand glimpse of Head Coach Kevin Willard's style of play.

"It was a good experience," Burns said of witnessing the Georgetown game. "Seeing how they got to run their stuff I learned a lot. I think I could shine in Coach Willard's system as a stretch four and a trailing big man on the break."

Burns was also able to speak with Willard regarding how the coach felt the combo forward would fit the Pirate rotation and what contributions he could make immediately.

"Coach said right away from my freshman year I would step in. He didn't promise me minutes or anything but he said I could come in right away and contribute as a freshman."

As a rising high school senior there is still much for the 2015 star to improve upon as a player, but he said his greatest attributes at this point include "cleaning the glass and his attitude", while his outside shot is probably the skill in most need of improvement.

"I would say rebounding is one of my greatest attributes, and just getting the job done when my name is called. The biggest thing I need to work on is the range and consistency on my jump shot." And although he feels he needs to work on his jumper to maximize his talents, Burns is supremely confident in what he brings to the basketball court.

"I feel that I'm just a basketball player that can do a lot of things and I'm very versatile."

A strong priority for Seton Hall, Burns has attracted the attention of several other high major schools and boasts offers from the likes of Notre Dame, Boston College and Temple. Those offers come in addition to recruiting interest from Vanderbilt, Marquette, Northwestern, Georgetown and Virginia Commonwealth amongst others.

One of the things playing in Seton Hall's favor in Burns' recruitment is the talent of the Pirates' incoming 2014 class, highlighted by New York natives Isaiah Whitehead and Khadeen Carrington as well as the Patrick School's Angel Delgado. Each having been in contact with Burns despite not having played with him previously.

Originally from Troy, New York, Burns sees the potential of the players in the 2014 class as a big plus. "It does help," Burns said of the talent coming in ahead of him, "because you have such good players already there. I've been in contact with Isaiah, Khadeen and Angel and seeing what their plans are for the future. I think we'd all make a pretty good fit."

Plans for Burns' future are coming together in the coming months, as he hopes to trim his list of potential collegiate choices by the end of July. While he would like to narrow down the list to four or five schools he hasn't put an exact number on it at this point.

Following that decision will be official visits to the finalists before a choice is made, tentatively scheduled for sometime in September. Burns wants to have his college destination finalized so he can focus on his senior year of high school as Blair Academy has a title to defend.

"I'm hoping to make my decision in September at some point. I don't want to think about it during the season, I want to focus on my senior year at Blair and on winning another state championship."

Pirate fans will be crossing their fingers hoping to hear the words Seton Hall when that choice is announced in September before then watching Blair Academy led by the ESPN 4 star forward defend their 2014 title.

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