Concord Spiders guard taking his place among program’s best
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Monday, Nov. 11, 2013

Concord Spiders guard taking his place among program’s best

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Bill Kiser/bkiser@charlotteobserver.com - Bill Kiser/bkiser@charlotteobserver.com
First-year Concord High boys basketball coach George Walker (left) will depend on senior guard Conner Burchfield (right) to lead the Spiders this season. Burchfield, who has committed to William & Mary, is closing on the program’s career scoring and 3-point shooting records.
  • FIVE TO WATCH Connor Burchfield Concord, senior Guard, 6-4, 175 Sharp-shooting guard playing his fourth varsity season. Two time all-South Piedmont 3A Conference. Two time Charlotte Observer all-region. Averaged 20 ppg. in 2012-13. Verbally committed to William & Mary. Has a chance to be Concord’s all-time scoring leader. Matt Morgan Cox Mill, junior Guard, 6-2, 155 Helped Cox Mill to the 2013 South Piedmont 3A Conference tournament championship. Led team with 14.5 ppg. and averaged 5.5 assists and 2 assists per game. Drawing interest from several Southern Conference schools. Andrew Wheet Northwest Cabarrus, senior Guard, 6-2, 195 Capable of playing almost any position. Scored 21 ppg. and grabbed an average of five rebounds per game. His excellent speed and strength are built for the up-tempo style that Northwest will play this year. Earned all-South Piedmont 3A honors last year. Nick Hough Hickory Ridge, senior Guard, 6-3, 185 Shooting guard scored 17 ppg. and made all-South Piedmont 3A Conference. Came on stronger as the season progressed, averaging 19 points over his last 10 games. Also posted five rebounds and three assists per game. Jordan McKenzie Jay M. Robinson, sophomore Guard, 6-1, 165 All-South Piedmont 3A Conference as a freshman last year. Was Robinson’s team MVP, averaging 14 points, five assists and three steals per game. Charlotte and Clemson have already expressed interest. Has court savvy and a good shot. Joe Habina

When Connor Burchfield was younger, he attended Concord High boys basketball games and admired the play of some of the tradition-rich program’s greats.

This season, the Spiders’ senior guard has a chance to take his place among the best Concord players ever.

A fourth-year varsity player, Burchfield is closing in on the school’s all-time scoring record, set by 1995 grad Kenyan Weaks.

There’s a distinct possibility it could happen. Burchfield is coming off a junior season in which he scored 522 points in 26 games – a 20.1 points-per-game average.

“I couldn’t even imagine that being a possibility, growing up and watching some of the Concord greats,” Burchfield said. “There are some great players on that (scoring) list. This school has such a great basketball tradition. It’s an honor. It’s a great feeling.”

Of course, at Concord, goals are focused on winning team championships. This season, Burchfield is one of nine players returning to a team that won its eighth straight South Piedmont 3A Conference championship last year.

But Concord’s third-round 3A state playoff loss last winter cut short its dream of winning a state championship. This year, the Spiders – playing under first-year head coach George Walker – have the same aspirations, and Burchfield is expected to be instrumental in that push.

In the past eight years, Concord has made three state championship game appearances (winning in 2007), and six trips to the Western regionals. In his three seasons, Burchfield and the Spiders have gotten close to the ultimate goal, making the regionals in 2011 and 2012.

Burchfield emerged as a high-scoring shooting guard his sophomore season, when he averaged 19 points per game. When the Spiders reached the state’s final four, Burchfield was named to the all-regional team.

Though Concord lost in the Western regional final to Hickory, Burchfield’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer sent the game into overtime.

Last season, Burchfield solidified his legacy as a clutch shooter in the regular-season finale at A.L. Brown. The Spiders battled back from an 11-point deficit in the game’s final four minutes, largely through Burchfield’s heroics.

With Concord trailing by five, Burchfield sank a 3-pointer with 12 seconds remaining. After a failed Brown free throw, Burchfield splashed another 3-pointer as time expired.

Burchfield is a two-time all-conference player and a two-time Charlotte Observer all-region selection. Besides closing in on Concord’s career scoring mark, he’s even closer to breaking the school’s career mark for 3-pointers. He needs 11 to surpass Kendall Knorr, who graduated in 2012.

Last spring, Burchfield verbally committed to play college ball at William & Mary. Citing the team’s commitment to 3-point shooting, Burchfield said the Colonial Athletic Association school showed the most interest in him.

Burchfield committed himself to improving his game over the summer. He hit the weight room to increase his strength and weight. He added 15 pounds to his 6-foot-4 frame and now weighs 175 pounds.

Walker said his star guard can now physically hold his own around the basket and has developed the ball-handling skills to get there.

“He can now put the ball on the deck and get to where he wants to,” Walker said. “One-dribble pull-up or two-dribble pull-ups. I don’t know that he couldn’t do it before, but he didn’t do it.”

Burchfield should get plenty of help from his teammates. With senior point guard and sophomore wing guard Keenan Black, the Spiders’ backcourt may be unstoppable.

Seniors Jerry Burk and Graham Pruette will be solid inside the paint. Walker said freshman Ty-Shon Alexander already has an offer from a Division I program.

Joe Habina is a freelance writer for Cabarrus News. Have a story idea for Joe? Email him at joehabina@yahoo.com.

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