Falcon Forward Joining Alum Mali Walker with NCAA D3 Rangers
Howard McBurnie of St. Joseph’s follows through on a jumper in the second half of the Falcons overtime loss to Seton Hall Prep on December 22, 2018. McBurnie recently announced his intentions to attend Drew University in the fall.
METUCHEN, NJ—On Sunday, GMC Hoops learned via NJ Hoops that St. Joseph’s forward, Howard McBurnie has made his college decision, and will attend Drew University in Madison next fall. McBurnie will be joining former teammate and 2017 GMC Hoops Defensive Player of the Year, Malachi Walker on the Rangers roster.
Walker had teamed up with former Cardinal McCarrick and J.P. Stevens standout, Sky Harris this past season at Drew. The two were part of a Rangers squad that won the Landmark Conference regular season title, and reached the conference’s post-season tournament Championship Game before losing to Moravian of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Returning to McBurnie, the St. Joseph’s senior was a member of the last three Falcon teams to win GMCT titles. Two seasons ago, he contributed a bit to the squad that was led by Letrell West to the conference crown over Sayreville, and a Non-Public A South Semifinals berth before falling to Bishop Eustace of Pennsauken to finish 26-2.
Last year, the Falcons won again by rallying to defeat P-Way for the GMC Red title and top seed in the 2018 GMCT, and then held off fierce charges by Edison in the Elite Eight, Carteret in the semifinals, and then Colonia in the title game to win their third straight title, and eight in the previous 9 years. Finally, St. Joe’s overcame a 5-6 start at mid-season in 2018-19 to win 13 of its last 15 games in regular season and conference play including a 49-46 win over Piscataway in the 2019 GMCT Final for its fourth straight title and 3rd for McBurnie.
For the 2018-19 season, McBurnie played in all 28 games for St. Joseph’s, and made 105 field goals, 3 treys, and netted 28 foul shots for 248 total points, or an average of 9.2 points per contest. A year ago, McBurnie played in another 28 games for the Falcons, made 113 field goals, 9 threes, and 40 free throws for a total of 293 points, or an average of 10.5 points per game. During his three years of varsity at Joes, McBurnie played in 70 games, made 220 field goals, 12 treys, and 68 from the charity stripe for 545 career points.
In the 56 varsity contests that McBurnie played over the past two seasons, he scored in double figures nearly half the time, i.e. 27 games. His season high in 2018-19 was an 18 point performance against Seneca at the Holy Cross Prep Coaches vs. Cancer Shootout on Super Bowl Sunday. McBurnie also had a monster 14 point, 18 rebound double-double against Monroe at Maglio Gymnasium in the Falcons third game of the regular season on December 20, 2018.
McBurnie only had two double figure scoring games where he scored at least 20 points, and both of those contests during his junior campaign in 2017-18. He scored 22 points on four field goals, four threes, and two free throws against Christ the King of New York (Joes lost 81-73) on January 6, 2018, and a career high of 24 points in a 63-42 victory at Monroe on December 21, 2017. Over the three years McBurnie played varsity at Joes, the Falcons went 68-16 overall including a 36-6 in Red Division play.
During that same three year span, the Falcons won three GMCT crowns, two GMC Red titles, two holiday tourney titles, made two Non-Public A South Final Four appearances, and one sectional final berth. As briefly mentioned earlier, McBurnie will be joining a Drew men’s basketball program that is in good shape. True, the Rangers will be losing important talent such as Harris and St. Augustine alum, Nate Aldrich, they still have a good deal returning.
Returning next season for Drew will be guard Riley Collins, a former standout at Donovan Catholic, Cole Hanntz, a former standout at Hunterdon Central, and Walker among others. The Rangers finished 23-7 overall including a 12-2 mark in the Landmark Conference. Although Drew lost in the Landmark Conference Tourney Championship Game to Moravian, which had EB’s Dante Ralph, it still managed to qualify for the ECAC Tourney, and reached the semifinals before falling to Brandeis University of Boston (77-62).
A year ago, Drew finished 16-11 overall including a 9-5 mark in Landmark Conference play. The Rangers then lost to Moravian in the conference tourney semifinals, and then fell in overtime to Neumann College (114-110) in the 2018 ECAC Tourney first round. The Rangers avenged that tough extra session loss by defeating the Knights, 71-68 in the opening round of the 2019 ECAC Tourney. Drew shattered the school record for wins in a season by four games in 2018-19. Congratulations Howard on moving up to the next level, and best of luck moving forward.