Bellarmine transfer, former BNL star Burton joins Hoosiers as walk-on

Ryan Burton didn’t transfer to Indiana to play basketball, but once he got to Bloomington, he couldn’t resist the urge to try.

The former Bedford North Lawrence star left Division II Bellarmine University in Louisville after two seasons in 2013 to enroll in IU’s prestigious Kelley School of Business. Right around final exams, though, the 6-foot-7, 210-pounder contacted Indiana’s basketball coaching staff about a walk-on tryout.

That tryout led to a roster spot, which Indiana formally announced Thursday in a small media session, and allows Burton to don the uniform of the team he grew up rooting for. He has already joined the program and has two years of eligibility remaining.

“Growing up just 20 minutes from here, my parents having season tickets all the time, me coming up here when I was little and everything, it’s definitely a dream come true,” Burton said. “Playing at Bedford North Lawrence, Damon Bailey coming out of there, it’s definitely an honor to be mentioned in the same sentence as him.” 

Burton didn’t put up eye-popping numbers at either BNL or Bellarmine, averaging 11 points and six rebounds as a senior in high school and 5.4 points and 2.0 rebounds in his sophomore year at Bellarmine. However, he does add maturity as a two-time academic all-conference pick at Bellarmine and an academic All-State pick as a high schooler. At 6-foot-7, he can provide a practice challenge for young IU forwards Hanner Mosquera-Perea, Troy Williams and Devin Davis among others.

“He brings experience playing at the collegiate level,” IU assistant coach Tim Buckley said. “He’s got good size. When he worked out with our guys, he had the ability to compete with them, had skill. Said the right things, did the right things, understood the tempo that you have to play in at this level. He’s obviously somebody who can really contribute in that regard.”

He also seems to be a good example for a still young team that dealt with maturity issues throughout a 17-15 season last year. After several off-season transfers, including the recent injury-driven departure of Peter Jurkin, the Hoosiers have zero seniors, two juniors, four sophomores and five incoming freshman on the roster.

“First of all, he gets it,” Buckley said. “He’s there early. He stays late. He tries to help in anyway that he can, and I think his experience in that regard is beneficial. He does a really good job of working, pushing himself, pushing the guys that he’s working out with, and I think just understanding the collegiate level of play where he’s not just a freshman coming in trying to figure it out. He’s already been through it to some degree and he understands that.”

Of course, Burton also understands that he has a learning curve as well, and that there’s a sizable gap between Division II and the Big Ten. He’s likely to play small forward instead of power forward at this level, so that’s going to require more speed.

“Definitely going from playing the four position at Division II down to the three, guarding Troy and (Stanford Robinson) in practice every day. I definitely have to work on my quickness, guarding more versatile guys. … It’s a lot more faster paced. Practicing with them every day is a lot different than practicing at Bellarmine or high school.”


  1. Obviously a smart kid coming into a top School of Business…Unfortunately, there’s nothing “prestigious” in making an IU Basketball now serving as NBA fast food for a couple East Coast or Calipari thow-away recruits seeking the Crean pampering required for the Crean resume….Outside of a couple legit ballers(fewer and fewer from our rich basketball state), most of our solid complimentary roster has little motivation to stay. Though playing alongside a destined future NBAer or two, they leave Indiana never flirting with deep tournament runs. There skills are underutilized on teams crippling absent identity and synergy. Solid 3-star and 4-star prospects exit or transfer through a revolving door after painfully being subjected to such a “prestigious” basketball teacher amongst the couple star chasers.

    And then Crean picks up another Southern Indiana homey to appease the small-minded that are willing to see the program get flushed down to toilet because cuddling up with the Christian highfalutin blowbag supersedes all. Other than slathering up the ‘Jordy & Jesus’ Baptist Biblebelt groupies at the compound that have engulfed the program, this walk-on was likely brought in as a quasi assistant coach more than anything else.

    I love it when an Establishment reporter puts the “prestigious” adjective in front of our Business School. Believe me, it ain’t that prestigious. Stick with sports. What used to be truly “elite” and beyond prestigious was our basketball program. And the adjective “prestigious” would have never been seen coming from an East Coast reporter’s lips because Knight, along with our storied hoops dominance(anchored in local talent during most of those dominant decades) against their stomping ground, inferior, hoops schools irked the living crap out of them. Bo worries…Our once elite basketball program(currently shackled at the ankles by a pious carnival salesman/witch doctor) was never given such credits from the lips of Seth Davis & Co. …But be ever so thankful, now they get on their knees to honor our Business School….Smirk.

  2. Bo

    [But no] worries, our once elite basketball program(currently shackled….}

  3. Amazing, how far the basketball program has fallen when the fan base is supposed to get excited about walk-ons and long-shot projects like April and Priller. Tom Crean has left himself incredibly exposed by not recruiting any top, interior talent for the 2014-2015 season. Should be an interesting year.

  4. After watching some video I actually have positive thoughts about Priller and April and their careers in Bloomington. With our 3 Sophs. returning and an All B1G PG the IU BB program could rise as much as it fell last season. The intangible for extended success is Perea.

  5. Right on HC. Hopefully after some unfortunate things, Perea hit Cook Hall hard. The talent is there. We saw flashes last season. If all goes right, hopefully Priller and April can watch and learn, and give a few fouls when needed.

  6. It’s Geoff!!! Welcome back, Lord of the Grayson! I had many good things to say about you while you were absent.

    I actually was known as “Harvey buckets” back in the day…And speaking of great strokes, I had one(just kidding). I was actually out on the courts about a month ago(staying limber in the rare event I will need to take you down to Grayson’s size), and I can still drain them damn Harvey buckets from everywhere on the floor..And, rather astonishingly, my range is better than ever(singing range, that is..I love to sing Pat Boone songs while shooting hoops).

    Don’t stay away so long.

  7. Harvard- Loved post #1… couldn’t agree more. From what I’ve seen, Kelley does a great job at producing lower-tier sandwich shoppe and salad bar entrepreneurs that open (and close) small establishments around B-town about every 6 months…hardly “prestige”…of course, I am grossly generalizing and recognize that Mark Cuban is an IU grad so obviously it is producing higher-caliber talent.

    I once worked in very cheesy corporate restaurant in Seattle’s Pacific Place mall, was called “Desert Fire” (name says it all). They made you wear santa hats and antlers during the Xmas season, and served watered-down margaritas with silly names. Humiliating place to work. My awful boss was a Kelley School grad (before it was called Kelley)…. my opinion of the school will forever be tainted!

  8. ^Now that won’t get you any new friends at the Scoop.

    It’s difficult to sell “smarts” at IU with the ol’ goofy lips as our poster child for basketball. It’s a complete image destroyer…Love or hate Knight, the man wasn’t insecure with his intelligence and he proved to have read more than Cliffstweet notes. The Establishment could never break Knight. They simply love a man that has to hide like Andy Dufresne’s carving chisel in the Good Book.

  9. I think the Kelley School grad/head of Google Ventures would take issue with your statement.

    Of all the comments I’ve read on here that have been wrapped in hyperbole, third-hand anecdotes and just flat out emotional blathering, pointing fingers at the Kelley School of Business in this manner has it all in spades.

    Also, business schools don’t produce entrepreneurs. Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison, Michael Dell from the old world, and from the new batch of billionaires: Mullenweg, Ferdowsi, Levie, Ferreira, Karp, Cashmore, Ek, Morrill and Kalmikoff to name a handful. None of these people went to business school nor did any even graduate. Karp didn’t even finish high school.

    Keep reaching fellas. Put on your spandex, you don’t want to rip your 2nd hand, hand-me down mom jeans for this stretch.

  10. Double Down’s list nearly rivals the 1982 cast of Porky’s….How many ways can you drop out of high school and still get your ugly face laid?…Zuckerberg’s Revenge coming soon!

  11. Double Down- maybe that’s my inadvertent point. What does the Kelley School produce? Mid level managers? Sales associates? Marketing execs? Because like being an entrepreneur, you don’t need an MBA to do those things, either. Don Draper didn’t have an MBA. I’ve always felt that some of the best managers of an operation are the ones who enter at the bottom, observe and learn, and rise the ranks as an insider.

    I’ve met some brilliant people from Kelley, but they were economics professors with PhDs, a grasp of the bigger picture. Maybe there is some other magic going on there that I’m not aware of that is churning out the future business leaders of the world. Honestly I’ve always thought the idea of a “business school” to be somewhat of an oxymoron…in this country’s history, business and education are usually cast as antithetical to each other…”Self-starters” versus “lazy and entitled”…

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