Burrows stepping up

With stars Veinot and Carson graduated, it's up to Shamar Burrows to continue Dal's AUS dominance

The Dalhousie University men’s basketball team will look much different in 2022-2023. The loss of guards and U SPORTS all-stars Keevan Veinot and Alex Carson will sting. Yet, the Tigers still have one of their biggest weapons of the past few seasons. His name is Shamar Burrows.

Burrows is a six-foot-three guard in his fifth and final year of U SPORTS eligibility. He broke out the previous season when he represented the Tigers and became an Atlantic University Sport (AUS) second-team all-star. He averaged 14.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, while hitting 55.8 per cent of his shot attempts. Burrows has been a part of the team’s three consecutive championships.

Burrows credits his success in 2021-2022 to being more involved in head coach Rick Plato’s game plan.

“Coach Plato [gave] me more leeway to play the game that I like to play,” Burrows said. “Being a veteran and coming to understanding the plays more, understanding how systems work, the defensive scheme, it gave me the opportunity to actually blossom.”

Plato said he expects the guard to take another leap this season. 

“With the loss of our key seniors [Veinot and Carson], he’s [Burrows] going to have to step up,” Plato said. “But I’m not in the habit of promising anybody any playing time. They’re going to get what they earn and what they deserve through their hard work.”

Shamar Burrows has won three straight AUS titles with the Dalhousie Tigers. Even with important players leaving over the summer, he’s confident a fourth is in the works. (Trevor MacMillan)

“Built like a brick shed house”

Having averaged nearly seven rebounds per game, there is no doubt Burrows can use his physicality to break down other teams’ defences.  

“Shamar is not small. He’s built like a brick shed house and he’s one of the strongest guys on the team,” Plato said. “He’s one of our better rebounders and there’s not a stronger guard in the league than him. As a fifth-year experienced guard, he can post guys up; he can take guys to the basket.”

As a fifth year on the team, Burrows will be taking on a larger leadership role. The guard recorded an average of 26.3 minutes per game last year, which Plato said is something Burrows can achieve or even surpass in 2022-2023.

“I tell you, the way we play 27 minutes is quite a bit,” Plato said. “I don’t care if you’re the second coming of Michael Jordan, you can’t play 40 minutes the way we play. A lot of [Burrows’s playing time] will be dictated by injuries and foul trouble more than anything else. From time to time, Shamar struggled with fouls, so he’s going to have to play smart. That doesn’t mean that he can’t play harder, but you’ve got to be smart.” 

The Tigers will look to defend the AUS title as they open the regular season on Oct. 28. Even though it’s not the same team as last spring, the winning mentality, Burrows said, hasn’t left the room.

“I do believe that this team can win a fourth straight AUS championship,” he said. “We still have a core group of guys who have been to the AUS finals and played in nationals.”

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