When you look at the annals of Connecticut sports history, perhaps no athlete represents his home state better than Scott Burrell. Burrell was a multi-sport super star at Hamden High School, turning down plans to go pitch at The U in favor of becoming one of UConn’s first legends in a long line of household names. He would become an NBA World Champion with the Chicago Bulls and then return home to become an assistant coach for Qunnipiac.
This season, he became a rookie head coach at Southern Connecticut State University. I was lucky enough to catch up with Burrell this week for NCAA.com and talk about his journey.
Many of you know, the longest allegiance I have had to any team as a fan is the Syracuse Orange. Now 40-years old, I grew up in the heyday of the Big East. I have to suppress those fanboy emotions now as a writer for the NCAA, which I have done remarkably well at, but I don’t have forget about how badly I wanted to be Derrick Coleman for a few years of my life.
Burrell was part of the Golden Era of Big East hoops. While unfortunately Keith Smart’s last second shot is one of my earliest Big East memories, Burrell was involved in one of my first — what I like to call — “where you were moments.”
Burrell has a list of pretty big time accolades. He left UConn as one of their greatest all around players with 1,500 points, 750 rebounds, 275 assists and 300 steals. He would become an NBA first round pick and later in his career would have the honor of being part of the 1990s Chicago Bulls dynasty, a roster spot that while secure his name in NBA lore as part of one of the sport’s greatest runs.
He seemingly always knew he wanted to be a coach. “It’s a bug,” he told me, “you want to pass on what you’ve learned from the guys you’ve played with and the coaches you’ve played for.”
He transitioned to an excellent assistant coach for eight seasons with Quinnipiac and now he is the head coach of the SCSU Owls. How did his first season go?
Well, you’ll just have to read the full article at NCAA.com to find out. (Teaser: Burrell is a great conversationalist who’s passion for basketball shines through in his leadership of his kids on the court. Oh, and the Owls are really good!)
Click the link below for the full interview: