Justin Burrell, listening to instructions from head coach Steve Lavin.
St. John's former standout forward Justin Burrell continues to earn publicity for his MVP award in the Basketball Japan League, helping the Yokohama B-Corsairs to a 31-21 record in their first year of existence. The bouncy Burrell, the Big East's Sixth Man of the Year as a senior in 2011, has his sights set at coming stateside.
In the Times Herald-Record, he calls the NBA his "ultimate goal" and wants to win a championship and MVP in his league.
Burrell credits St. John's coach Steve Lavin for helping him reach his potential:
"I just wanted to get better, to improve. I always had a high skill set. I just had some injuries and setbacks at St. John's. Coach Steve Lavin really helped me last year, he taught me different things, showed me my potential. I just went from there."
Red Storm fans know that Burrell seemed to struggle with confidence and consistency in his sophomore and junior years. His senior year saw an increase in his aggressiveness - the aggressiveness he had as a passionate freshman with few offensive options around him. But he remained a good defensive rebounder, learned to be a strong defender in the post, and used his athleticism to give some opposing players fits.
The Rumble hopes Burrell continues to reach his potential - he could fit as a versatile dirty-work forward if he can rebound at a high level. Next year's NBA summer leagues will likely see a man on a mission to prove he belongs.
*read more of the article for Burrell's comments and how much he enjoys Japan's culture.