Former LaFayette star Tae Burton announces transfer destination

Published 11:32 am Saturday, April 20, 2024

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Former LaFayette basketball standout, Tae Burton’s college career has been a winding road. Burton has found his next stop and hopes it will provide the opportunity to prove who he can be on the hardwood. 

Burton graduated from LaFayette High School in 2020 after leading the Bulldogs to the semifinals in 2A. After graduating, Burton enrolled at Shelton State where he would spend two years before transferring to Gadsden State for a year. 

Burton entered the portal while at Gadsden State in 2023, but most of the colleges he received interest from were small schools in Alabama. Burton wanted a change of scenery, so he looked into going overseas and talked with several professional overseas teams. 

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Burton was given the opportunity to play point guard for a team in France, but he did not feel comfortable with play point guard at the time. Burton decided to take the year off and work on his skillset. 

“I’ve been working on my ball handling most of the time,” Burton said. “I always thought I had a pretty good shooting, so I’ve been [focusing] on my ball handling and stuff like that for if any coach wants me to play point guard.” 

Now, with two years of eligibility remaining, Burton has committed to playing basketball at Columbia College in South Carolina. 

The Koalas are heading into their first year under a new head coach. Jake Deer took the job at Columbia College after finishing the season as Point University’s head coach. Deer recruited Burton while at Point, and the familiarity between the two made Columbia an immediate fit for Burton. 

“He was recruiting me last year too, but I didn’t end up going to Point because I was trying to go overseas,” Burton said. “He knows my game pretty well and has known me for a minute because I went on a visit last year.” 

Despite having several college stops, Burton has never really gotten the best opportunity to make an impact. Burton watched his minutes diminish during his time at Shelton State. Then, Burton struggled with injuries during his time in Gadsden. 

Burton believes Columbia College will give him the opportunity to show his talents and ultimately prove the doubters wrong. 

“At Shelton, I started off pretty good. I was in the rotation and everything,” Burton said. “Start of the season I played a good amount of minutes, and then the third game I was in the starting lineup… On down the season, I don’t know what it was, but I wasn’t playing much.” 

“At Gadsden, I started off the season, I sprained my ankle during the summer league,” Burton added. “I kept re-injuring my ankle there… I’ve been facing a lot of adversity these last three to four years. This opportunity is going to give me a refresh.” 

Burton was a dynamic athlete for LaFayette High School. The Bulldogs fell just two points short of a state championship appearance during Burton’s senior year, but it is easy for doubt and frustration to creep in with all of the adversity he has faced in college. 

“At times, it can wear down on you because you know what you’re capable of, but the coaches aren’t seeing it,” Burton said. “It is going to have a chip on my shoulder for these next few years. I’m more of a chill guy on the court, but these next two years I’m going to play with a chip on my shoulder and show what I’m capable of doing. I’m going to play with a lot more emotion and aggression this year.” 

Burton won two championships while at Shelton State, but he played a smaller role. Burton hopes to help Columbia win a championship and play a more pivotal role in the team’s success. 

After college, Burton is still focused on going overseas to play professionally. Burton also sees himself working as a coach or trainer. At any rate, basketball is always going to be a major part of Burton’s everyday life.