Burgess says Y. will cheer Jabari



Because Chris Burgess was such a polarizing figure, and because Jabari Parker was such a hot recruit, I called Burgess last week in the United Arab Emirates, where plays professionally.

Burgess was recruited by every major school in the country out of high school, but ended up at Duke, before transferring to Utah. As an LDS prep star, he admitted there is some pressure to attend BYU.

Deseret News photo

Asked if people “expect” LDS athletes to go to BYU, he said, “Unfortunately some fans will assume they will go to BYU naturally, but that’s unfair. Look how much (Heisman candidate) Manti Teo has done for the LDS Church at Notre Dame.”

Burgess, who lives in Bountiful in the off-season, went on to say and “BYU fans will be bummed out if he doesn’t go, but  I do think they’ll cheer for him. How many people at BYU cheer for Notre Dame and Manti Teo to win the BCS? I’ll cheer for him and I’m a Duke guy.”

Burgess said he was “humbled a lot at Duke, guys were the same age as me and with Elton Brand, I was getting worked in practice. That helped me along the way.”

He added that “if I didn’t have my faith – I’ve never really talked about that – but I really had a lot to fall back on besides basketball and I’ve stayed with it. They’re going to have to kick me off the floor.”

Burgess said his future wife and his LDS bishop at the U. were instrumental in helping him through an injury-laden college career and continue as a professional player.



  1. Slim Whitman

    What’s a Chris burgess? Haven’t followed him, never wil! BYU fans don’t root for you just because you are LDS any more than you came to BYU just because you are LDS

    I’m not a Norte Dame fan so I didn’t cheer for teo. I’m not a duke fan either so I won’t cheer for Jabari. It’s nothing personal. You choose not to go to the schools that I support, I’m not going to follow you or support you because of your religion. Religion didnt impact your decision. It won’t impact mine. This is just sports.

    I will always cheer against athletes, regardless of religion, who could have helped a school I support but chose to go elsewhere. I guess that why I ask what’s a Chris burgess?

  2. Duane Hardy

    With all due respect to the writer and Mr Burgess, there is a night and day difference between then and now. The Burgess/Reid incident created a very dark time for BYU basketball. In my humble opinion both individuals were at fault for all the hoopla and then the later bitterness that nearly destroyed the program.

    Jabari recruiting created fun times at BYU and there are no hard feelings. I think a very key element was that JP was upfront and never made any promises that he couldn’t keep. He handled his visits to all five schools with class. He is a fine young man.

    Best wishes to all. Merry Christmas!!

  3. "Jumpin' Jack"

    To be quite honest, I was disappointed to hear that Chris Burgess did not attend BYU but did I hold a grudge? No. When Chris Burgess transferred to the University of Utah did I cheer for Chris Burgess? No. Personally, with all that took place in the media I wondered why anything that took place between Chris and Roger had become such a big story. If Roger Reid said what he said, in my opinion he was overzealous. But why did Chris Burgess have to make such a big deal about it? The whole situation was a mess and quite frankly had forgotten all about it until I read this story. Good grief.

  4. SloppyJ

    One thing working in Jabari’s favor as far as BYU fans go . . he was going to be a 1-year rental for whichever school he chose, so his choice was barely relevant. Was he going to transform BYU hoops into a national power in a year? I say no. I’m mildly disappointed he chose Duke, but unlike some of these other posters who put the uniform above all else, I will follow him and root for him to succeed. If he, by some miracle, ends up playing BYU in a tournament or something next year, I’ll root for the Y. But I want good people to succeed, and based on our limited view of Jabari, he seems like a good person. I don’t require an athlete to choose my school to be worthy of my support, nor do I require LDS athletes to choose (or even consider) BYU.

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