Widely considered one of the top players in his class, Terrion Burgess has been on the national basketball radar for a couple of years now.
Long before he was offered by Arkansas basketball coach Eric Musselman as a high school freshman, though, his father — Terry Burgess Jr. — knew he had the potential to be special.
He’s known that since he was in fourth grade. In fact, one week in particular stands out as the moment he realized basketball was in his son’s future. It all started at a gym one day when Terrion, a natural lefty, was struggling with his off hand.
“He couldn’t do a right-handed layup that day, so I showed him how,” Terry Burgess Jr. said. “I come home the next two days and he’s out in the yard working on it. That was on a Monday. We go back to the gym that Thursday and he’s doing right-handed layups like he’s been doing it the whole time.”
That work ethic has continued over the last few years and helped Terrion Burgess evolve into a legitimate top-30 prospect at Benton High School. He is ranked as high as No. 17 nationally by 247Sports and already has a five-star rating in the 247Sports Composite.
The Evolution of Terrion Burgess
Not long after his epiphany in the gym, Terry Burgess Jr. started an AAU team for his son and they won the fourth/fifth-grade division title at the Real Deal in the Rock.
In sixth grade, Terrion Burgess started working with a trainer in Memphis, whose goal was to improve his perimeter skills in case he stopped growing. After all, his mom and dad are just 5-foot-10 and 5-foot-11, respectively.
Luckily for him, Burgess’ maternal grandparents, both of whom are now deceased, stood 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-6. Those genes likely played a role in him shooting up to 6-foot-10 — with doctors saying he could potentially add another inch before he’s done growing.
With a skillset of a guard and size of a big man, Burgess caught the attention of Bill Ingram, the president of the Arkansas Hawks, an AAU program that has produced the likes of Joe Johnson, Daryl Macon and Isaiah Joe. He started playing with them in seventh grade and was moved up to the eighth-grade team midway through the season.
“I’ll never forget the first play he got in the game,” Terry Burgess Jr. said. “Bill ran a ball screen, he set the screen and rolled and went straight down the lane…and just took off and dunked.”
Since then, Burgess has had strong showings in multiple all-star type of events, such as CP3 Rising Stars and Pangos All-South Frosh-Soph Camp.
Where Arkansas Stands in his Recruitment
Those kinds of performances have made Terrion Burgess a highly coveted prospect.
In November of his freshman year at Marion, where he played before moving to Benton, Burgess became the first player in his class to receive an Arkansas basketball offer from Eric Musselman.
At the time, Auburn and Texas Tech had already offered. TCU, Ole Miss, Memphis, Texas A&M and, most recently, Georgia Tech have also entered the mix.
However, Burgess told Best of Arkansas Sports that the three schools standing out and keeping in contact the most are Arkansas, Memphis and Ole Miss.
Geographically speaking, those three schools make a lot of sense. They also make sense considering the coaches at each spot. Penny Hardaway recently wrapped up his fifth season leading the Tigers, while the Rebels recently hired Chris Beard after he was fired from Texas amid controversy.
The Razorbacks are of course led by Eric Musselman and have the benefit of being the most successful of the three programs, reaching back-to-back Elite Eights and the Sweet 16 the last three years.
“I’ve been to a couple games this season to watch the Razorbacks play,” Burgess said. “I think they’re doing very well. Coach Musselman is getting better high-DI players in now.”
Another Arkansas coach the Burgess family knows really well is Ronnie Brewer, the former All-American and first-round NBA Draft pick who is now the Razorbacks’ recruiting coordinator.
The relationship actually started when Brewer was coaching in the Woodz AAU organization, a couple of years before he joined the Arkansas basketball coaching staff. He met Terrion when he was an eighth grader.
“Ronnie Brewer is one of the first guys that really said Terrion has potential to be a pro,” Terry Burgess Jr. said. “He was working him out and was like, ‘Terry, this kid’s got it.’ I’m like, ‘You really think so?’ And he said, ‘I’m telling you, he’s got it.’”
That assertion was confirmed about a month later when Terrion, then an eighth grader playing up on his ninth-grade team, dropped 34 points with four or five dunks against Joe T. Robinson — all while Brewer watched from the stands.
Despite being somewhat quiet and reserved in interviews, Burgess’ long hair, which he’s never cut, coupled with his height and athleticism, makes him an easily recognizable player who presumably stands to make quite a bit from Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) deals.
Some businesses in Tennessee have already made six- and seven-figure offers for him to move and start making money while still in high school, but he hasn’t shown any interest in that — or, quite frankly, the prospect of NIL opportunities in conversations with college coaches.
“I just want to go to the best college that fits me and helps me become a better player,” Burgess said. “They don’t really bring (NIL) up to me. They talk to my dad.”
As a top high school basketball player, Terrion Burgess has been offered some eye-popping NIL deals. Read about them here:
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