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Jamarius Burton Leads Players-Only Meeting for Pitt Before ACC Tournament



Following back-to-back losses and three-straight road defeats to close the regular season, Jamarius Burton took things into his own hands. 

The veteran graduate forward/guard assembled his teammates to check in on them, making sure focus remained after losing out on an ACC regular season title for the first time in program history. 

“JB is the one who called it,” guard Blake Hinson said. “I think it was the right thing to do. Once he broke it off, everybody said their own thing. It was really only about ‘okay, we didn’t do what we were supposed to do, what we felt like we needed to do. But, there are other things we need to do ahead of time.” 

“I just felt like it’s easy for us to hang our heads after two tough losses. We knew the stakes,” Burton said. “We had an opportunity to have a share of the conference regular season title. We all wanted that. It was in our fingertips. I didn’t want anybody to be dismayed by the outcome. We still have a tremendous opportunity in the tournament. We just want to have our best foot forward moving forward.”

The conversation was valuable for Burton and his teammates. The mood of the locker room continues to be uplifting and forward-thinking. 

“The temperature was great,” Burton said. “Everybody was still locked in at the task at hand and understood that we still have goals in front of us. We have the opportunity to continue to write our story.”

Burton’s leadership has been apparent throughout the 2022-23 campaign on a team littered with veterans and a starting lineup that Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner pointed out is older than the Oklahoma City Thunder starting five.

“He’s been the outright leader of this team all year,” Hinson said. “That’s the voice we need. I don’t see anybody else kind of fit to do so as well as he does it. It’s a calming voice, down to earth for us.”

Burton credits his time at Wichita State (two seasons) and Texas Tech (one year) for his leadership abilities and the mentality of taking the season one game at a time.

“It comes from experience,” Burton said. “I’ve been in two different locker rooms. I’ve played for different coaches. Different standards were set at different places and I was able to learn and use those tools here… It’s never about condemning one another and being down on one another. It’s all about us moving in the right direction.” 

Hinson, Burton, and head coach Jeff Capel all noted the emotion associated with the game and plane ride back to Pittsburgh while maintaining focus on the next trophy up for grabs.

“I think the team meeting was totally necessary to call,” Hinson said. “This is my third program I’ve been involved in. It’s necessary to check in with everybody, and how they feel about things going forward. Did it change any mindsets? I don’t think so but that’s what the meetings are for. To see if anybody’s mindset needs to change… I think it was a good check-in with everybody.”

“I think they get discouraged but it’s our job as coaches to try to teach and get them to move on,” Capel said. “Our guys have done a good job all year of moving on to the next thing.” 

No. 5 Pitt faces No. 13 Georgia Tech in the second round of the ACC Tournament Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. from Greensboro, North Carolina. 

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Jason L
Jason L
1 year ago

Burton is a leader! I hope his leadership leads to a couple of ACC tournament victories…and at least a victory or two in the NCAA tourney!

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