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Nevada's Burton to return for senior season
by Dan Eckles
Apr 08, 2013 | 1773 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune file photo - Nevada point guard Deonte Burton drives into the lane against Stanford defenders during a March 2012 road loss to the Cardinal in the NIT. Burton announced Monday he was not making himself eligible for this summer's NBA Draft.
Tribune file photo - Nevada point guard Deonte Burton drives into the lane against Stanford defenders during a March 2012 road loss to the Cardinal in the NIT. Burton announced Monday he was not making himself eligible for this summer's NBA Draft.
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RENO — University of Nevada junior point guard Deonte Burton had Wolf Pack basketball fans on pins and needles. Since the team's season ended in the Mountain West Conference Tournament last month, there has been much anticipation over the athletic guard's playing future.

The Los Angeles native put to rest the worst fears of Nevada hoops fans, announcing at a press conference Monday at Lawlor Events Center that he'd return for his senior year of eligibility.

"This decision I've made is the toughest decision of my life, the toughest I've ever made," Burton said. "In my best interest and the best interest of my career, I've decided to come back to school to attend the University of Nevada."

Burton said he received the NBA's advisory form, which projected him as a second-round pick. Only first-round NBA picks receive guaranteed contracts. The 2011-12 WAC player of the year told media members at Tuesday's press conference that his father advised him to go into the draft but that his mother advised him to stay in school, stressing the importance of a college degree.

Burton was told by NBA scouts he needed to improve his ball handling and decision making.

But would he have left school early if he had been projected to go in the first round?

"I don't think so," the athletic combo guard said. "I think I still would've chosen to come back. My mom is really on me to get that degree. I'm just a year away and probably some summer classes."

Burton cited four reasons he chose to return for his senior year at Nevada: the closeness of earning a degree, a desire to compete in the NCAA tournament, the competitiveness of the Mountain West Conference and the support of Nevada fans.

The Nevada standout was a third-team all MWC selection in his recently completed junior season. He averaged 16.3 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.

He led the Wolf Pack to a 2011-12 WAC regular season championship, Nevada's last in year in the conference. But in the 2012-13 campaign, its first in the Mountain West, Nevada struggled to a 12-19 overall mark and a 3-13 conference record.

Nevada lost 14 of its last 17 outings this past winter. It doesn't look to get any easier as Burton returns to a Nevada roster that has some holes to fill. Jordan Burris, Devonte Elliott and Kevin Panzer all announced in recent weeks they were transferring and Nevada's leading scorer, Malik Story, will be gone after wrapping up his senior season.

Still, Burton said he is excited to get started on the journey toward a new season.

"I'm already excited for a new year," Burton said. "I wouldn't have it any other way. Don't give up on us. We'll be back. We got hit, but we didn't fall."

Fourth-year Wolf Pack coach David Carter said Burton's decision to return should only help recruiting.

"Players want to play with good players," noted Carter, who said the Wolf Pack has three open roster spots. "He's the face of our basketball team. Recruits have asked what he's going to do. This (decision) helps."
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