The Collegian
Tuesday, May 28, 2024

UR basketball star to transfer to Villanova for fifth season

<p>Senior forward Tyler Burton shoots for a score at the Robins Center on March 4.&nbsp;</p>

Senior forward Tyler Burton shoots for a score at the Robins Center on March 4. 

The University of Richmond men’s basketball team will look a little different in November.

Tyler Burton, ‘23, who spent four years on the team, will no longer be suiting up for the Spiders. On May 31, he announced through his social media platforms that he will transfer to Villanova University for his final season of college basketball. 

“First and foremost I want to say thank you to the University of Richmond for all the love and support you’ve given me the past four years,” Burton wrote on Twitter. “To my coaches, professors and staff, thank you for believing in me and helping me grow as a student, an individual and a basketball player.”

Burton also thanked his teammates for making Richmond feel like home and wrote he was grateful for the opportunities and memories. 

Burton was the last link to a Spiders squad that defined UR’s culture for several years. 

Once players such as Grant Golden, Nathan Cayo, Jacob Gilyard and Nick Sherod graduated after playing several seasons with the program, Burton, graduate forward Matt Grace and graduate guard Andre Gustavson were the last major ties to the Atlantic 10 Championship run the Spiders went on during the 2021-2022 season.

Now that Gustavson and Grace have since graduated, Burton was the last player standing — until he decided to enter the transfer portal and commit to playing his final season with the Wildcats, using his extra year of COVID-19 eligibility.

Burton leaves UR as the 11th all-time leading scorer with 1,634 points, the sixth all-time leading rebounder with 819 rebounds and only the third player in Spiders history with 1,500 points and 750 rebounds

Despite the program losing its leading scorer, Burton’s teammates showed their support for his decision.

“Go be great TB,” graduate center Neal Quinn tweeted, followed by a heart emoji. 

Even a UR faculty member, Professor of Leadership Studies and Philosophy, Politics, Economics and Law Thad Williamson, shared his appreciation for Burton.

“Good luck Tyler!” Williamson commented on Burton’s tweet. “Thanks for being an all-time great Spider. Now go be a great Wildcat!”

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Burton is not the only player who will be wearing a different uniform this upcoming season.

Redshirt first-year guard Jason Nelson, who started 26 games for UR last season, announced his commitment to Virginia Commonwealth University April 18; redshirt first-year guard Malcolm Dread announced his commitment to Mount St. Mary’s University April 19; and sophomore guard Marcus Randolph announced his commitment to Saint Peter’s University May 12. 

All this comes on the heels of a growing pattern in NCAA sports where extra eligibility from redshirt seasons or the pandemic has given collegiate athletes the opportunity to enter the transfer portal and play at other schools.

However, even with all the movement in the transfer portal, UR will look to build on last season with some transfers of their own. 

On April 17, rising senior guard DeLonnie Hunt announced his commitment to UR. Hunt spent the last three seasons at Wagner College and averaged 11.1 points per game during his third year as a Seahawk. 

The next day, on April 18, graduate transfer guard Jordan King announced his commitment to UR. King spent the last four seasons at East Tennessee State University, where he averaged 15.6 points per game during his senior year.

Hunt and King will join returners graduate forward Zae Bigelow, Quinn and junior guard Jason Roche, who will look to improve upon the Spiders’ 15-18 overall record and second round exit against George Mason University in the 2023 A-10 Tournament. 

And as for Burton, after having participated in the NBA’s G-League Elite Camp in May, he will make his debut with Villanova in November, beginning a new journey after four years spent lighting up the Robins Center. 

Contact sports editor Jimmy James at jimmy.james@richmond.edu

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