COLUMBUS, Ohio -- After he received a total of four Division I offers, Jesse Burris narrowed his future college destination down to Miami (OH) and Ohio University. On Friday, that list was cut in half as Burris made a verbal commitment to the Bobcats via his social media.
Burris is the second area player in the 2024 class to announce his college decision, after Walnut Ridge's Dominique Aekins committed to Duquesne on Wednesday. The 1,000+ point scorer from Delaware Hayes also garnered offers from Akron and Radford and is a dark horse Mr. Ohio candidate.
The 6'5 combo guard can play multiple positions and was named second team All-Ohio after a junior campaign in which he averaged 18.1 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. Burris was the OCC-Capital Player of the Year and led the Pacers to a district final, where they lost to Olentangy Orange 54-39. He's the first Hayes Division I recruit since Khalil Iverson committed to Wisconsin in 2015.
In an exclusive interview with 270 Hoops, Burris shared more about his decision to play in Athens, his goals for his senior season and advice he would give to fellow players with their recruitment process.
270 Hoops: How did you come to your decision to commit to Ohio University?
Jesse Burris: My top two schools were Miami (OH) and Ohio. I visited both places and enjoyed both staffs and the environments. But it came down to the guys, the teammates, that Ohio had. I just related more to them and felt more welcomed on the visit. The coaching staffs from both schools, I really liked them both. It was the players that helped make my decision.
270: Ajay Sheldon from Dublin Coffman and Quinn Corna from Upper Arlington are sophomores on Ohio this year. Do you have a relationship with those guys? Did you speak with them on their experience?
JB: I talked to Ajay a lot and I used to work out with Quinn, so I know him very well. Being able to talk to those guys and get a first-hand experience really helped me.
Ajay told me it was an up-and-down year for him, but having the support of the coaches and the players really helped push him through. Quinn kind of said the same thing. It's just a very real coaching staff, not any sugarcoating.
270: Speaking of coaches, tell me about your relationship with head coach Jeff Boals.
JB: I actually know his son Chase (a 2024 power forward at New Albany) longer than just my recruitment goes back with Ohio. Coach Boals talks to me as a person and not just a player he's trying to get to commit. He texts me everyday, sends me articles about general basketball things, funny memes. He's a really honest guy.
270: You mentioned to me several weeks ago you intended to make a commitment right before the high school season. That obviously changed. Why now?
JB: Well the landscape for recruiting is different now with the portal and are less opportunities for kids. I felt I had received the offers at places that I could really see myself excelling and enjoying, so there wasn't anywhere else I was waiting and hoping for. Once I narrowed it down to Miami and Ohio, I was ready to pull the trigger.
270: What do you plan to study?
JB: I'll look to do a coaching/teaching type program. I want to be a coach at some level, not sure if it's high school or college, but I definitely want to be a coach and teacher and be involved with the game of basketball.
Photo provided by Jesse Burris
270: With your commitment out of the way, does this help you focus on your senior season?
JB: Definitely, that was also a part of the reason why I made my decision now, so I can focus solely on the season and win a district, something we've envisioned.
270: What goals do you have for yourself and the team?
JB: Personally, I want to be the all-time leading scorer at Delaware Hayes, I think I'm a little less than 400 points away. From a team aspect, I want a 20-win regular season, win the OCC outright and then a district title. I think with the guys we have, we have a chance to go to regionals and win states.
270: Who are some of those guys we should keep an eye on?
JB: My running mate Jake Loman, he will probably play football in college, but he's been with me since freshman year. Junior Carter Piatt-Brown is a really solid shooter. Chase Griggs and Jeremiah Russell, both sophomores. They're all hard workers, all know basketball, all like it.
270: How important is the Delaware community to you and the opportunity to bring home its first district title since 1986?
JB: I've been here all my years. That would mean a ton. I know how hard working and the challenges the community has to go through day-to-day. And how all the people here are good people. I'll be walking down the street and random people say "hi" to me, just all really friendly.
270: That's all I have, Jesse. Is there anything else you'd like to share?
JB: Can I give some advice for people going through recruitment?
JB: I would say, run your own race. You'll see people getting offers, but put your head down and work. Don't worry so much about the outcome of games, just worry about getting better everyday and winning each moment.
Photo provided by Jesse Burris