Former top-30 recruit Nimari Burnett has entered the transfer portal this Wednesday. A somewhat unexpected move for the Red Raiders. Burnett averaged 5.3 PPG for Chris Beard but struggled shooting only 28% from-the-field this season. Here’s the list I see being involved.
Nevada Wolf Pack
Many may not see Nevada landing as a big move for Burnett, but Coach Alford is bringing in the former top-50 transfers in Addison Patterson and Will Baker; there’s no reason not to have interest in Burnett. The Wolf Pack do have the future guard already set with Grant Sherfield. Why not team Sherfield with Burnett? Put Cambridge at the three, Patterson at the four, Baker at the five; that is easily the most talented team in the Mountain West next season if you land Burnett. Burnett is a combo guard, and I prefer his game at the two rather than the point, which it would be for the Wolf Pack.
The Ducks lose star guard Chris Duarte after the season, and Will Richardson should be back as he’s dealing with injuries right now; adding someone you heavily recruited out of HS would be immense. The fit here makes a ton of sense. Oregon is the top landing spot in the PAC-12 due to their facilities, Phil Knight being there, and have an elite coach with Dana Altman.
Marquette Golden Eagles:
The Golden Eagles went after Burnett as a recruit and even made his top 12 list a while back. Marquette can use more talented guards to piece with D.J. Carton, and that piece could be Burnett. I don’t think Wojo wants to use Symir Torrence and Greg Elliott consistently, therefore adding some like Burnett would be signficiant.
Illinois Fighting Illini:
The Illini will lose Ayo Dosunmu to the NBA after the season, possibly losing Trent Frazier also, so why not add someone like Nimari Burnett? Piece Andre Curbelo and Burnett, Brad Underwood, have proven to develop NBA talent with Ayo Dosunmu, a possible first round pick in the 2021 Draft, leaving a spot open for Burnett. Coming into 2020, Burnett was seen as one of the better combo guards as a recruit, and now he can play both spots for Illinois.
With the free-year, it’s tough to tell whether Eli Brooks & Mike Smith opt to leave or return in 2021-22, that could play a role in Burnett’s decision, but Michigan was all the way in on Burnett in the past. Saddi Washington is one of the top recruiters in the nation, as an assistant for both John Beilein and Juwan Howard. Burnett would be a home-run move for Juwan Howard.
Prediction: Oregon Ducks
Burnett heading to Eugene makes far too much sense not to happen. Losing Duarte, piecing Burnett with Will Richardson is a tremendous move for Dana Altman.