Big man on campus

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Jacqui Alegria

Published: February 4 2004

“Respect all, fear none.”  This is a quote that 5-foot 9-inch basketball captain, Alfonso Burnett, lives and plays by.  So, in a world of basketball giants nearly a foot taller, don’t be fooled by his small size. 

This PJC point guard brings big game to the basketball court, consistently proving to competition that he is a major force to be reckoned with.

As the Panhandle Conference Freshman of the Year for the 2002-2003 season, he is once again contributing mightily to the successful season of the men’s basketball tea.

 The team currently holds a win and loss record of 17-7 on the young season.

Burnett not only brings skill, but also an inspiring competitive spirit, that is alive and well in all phases of his game.

“He’s the ultimate competitor,” head basketball coach, Paul Swanson said.  “Alfonso is the type of person who is going to try to succeed at the things you think he can’t do.” 

Perhaps this is why you commonly can see Burnett fearlessly finishing plays and scrapping for rebounds in a crowd of towering centers and fowards. 

In fact, it is common to watch Burnett take on competition whose lineups have no players shorter than six feet tall. 

But his seeming disadvantage has a twist:  he thrives on it.

And he definitely has a thriving season on his hands, leading the Pirates so far this season, with a scoring average of 14.6 and an assist average of 5.9 per game. 

“He’s our leader,” Swanson said.  “Everyone looks to him at crunch time – offensively particularly.”

His high-powered offensive game not only has won praises from Coach Swanson, but also has caught the attention of Division I universities. 

Although Burnett could choose to transfer to a university that boasts the best basketball program, he said, “I want to go wherever I can get the best education.”

This levelheaded and focused state-of-mind is something he said was instilled in him from a young age by his father. 

“We struggled growing up and he told me to never let up in what I wanted to do, and to always keep fighting,” he explained.

And so he did – and along the way he has used this lesson not only in life, but on the court as well.

One goal he will be fighting for, as the end of the regular season creeps near, is to win the conference and make it to the state playoffs.

With five games left in conference play, Burnett could certainly get closer to that goal.

 He and his comrades play host to Gulf Coast Community College in the Lou Ross Center tonight at 7:30 p.m. where among the towering bodies of the competition, the 5-foot 9-inch stand-out will do just that.