Friday, August 26, 2011

Burrell Japan's Latest Brand Name

Justin Burrell becomes third player from Steve Lavin's St. John's team to sign professionally, inking a contract with Japanese club Yokohama. (Photo courtesy of New York Daily News)

Japan has given us many brand names that we could not even conceive of living without: Sony, Samsung, Motorola, and the like. Now, it's America that gets to return the favor, as the Japanese will be introduced to its newest commodity, a 6-8 bruising power forward called "JB."

After a versatile career that included stints as a starter and reserve; coupled with a Big East sixth man award, Justin Burrell heads to the land of the rising sun. Burrell signed earlier this week with Yokohama of the Japanese league, and follows Paris Horne (Germany) and Dwight Hardy (Italy) from the corner of Union and Utopia into the world of overseas professional basketball.

"I will never forget St. John's, the opportunities they gave me, and the people I've met," said Burrell. "I can't wait to see St. John's back on top of the nation's elite. This past year was an important step. I know everyone will always remember what we accomplished to get everything rolling again." Burrell's coach was equally as praiseworthy of his reserve, one he won't soon forget. "Justin's dominating, physical style of play in the basket area at both ends of the court was key to our success this past season," said Steve Lavin. "He will have a terrific experience overseas."

Burrell leaves the Johnnies as a member of the school's 1,000-point club as well, a milestone in which he was joined by teammates D.J. Kennedy and the aforementioned Horne at various points during the 2010-11 campaign, which was highlighted by 21 victories (six against Top 25 teams) and the Red Storm's first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2002. Burrell also recorded 609 rebounds during his tenure in Queens, good enough for 30th on the all-time list.

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