St. Joe’s Hoops Alums Teaming Up to Make Key Contributions for Rangers
The duo of former St. Joseph’s basketball standouts, Malachi Walker and Howard McBurnie, shown here in action during the early part of the 2019-20 Drew men’s basketball season, have both earned honors from the Landmark Conference. Walker was honored as the conference’s 2019-20 Defensive Player of the Year while McBurnie was selected the 2019-20 Rookie of the Year.
MADISON, NJ—Over the past several years, the men’s basketball program at Drew University has been making huge strides in both the Landmark Conference and NCAA Division 3 hoops. A year ago, the Rangers reached the Landmark Conference Tournament Championship Game before falling to then defending champion, Moravian of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Despite the departure of key players from the 2018-19 campaign including former J.P. Stevens standout, Sky Harris, who is now playing for the Jersey Express and big man, Nate Aldrich, who was a standout player at St. Augustine Prep of the Cape-Atlantic League, the beat went on for the Rangers thanks not only to the play of senior guard, Riley Collins, who became the school’s all time leading scorer in the ECAC D3 Tournament in March, but also from the likes of former St. Joseph’s boys basketball standouts, Malachi Walker and Howard McBurnie.
Walker, who just finished his junior season at Drew, earned the Landmark Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year honors. Meanwhile, McBurnie, a freshman, who still managed to break into the starting lineup in all of Drew’s 28 games this season, also came away with some hardware as he was honored as the Landmark Conference’s Rookie of the Year. Both players, who were teammates at St. Joseph’s, were key contributors to a Drew Rangers men’s basketball squad that finished 21-7 overall and reached the Landmark Conference and ECAC playoffs for the 3rd straight year.
Over the past three years, Walker has played for a Drew program that has compiled a record of 64-25 overall, and a mark of 32-10 in the Landmark Conference. This past season, Walker, who was selected as the 2017 GMC Hoops Defensive Player of the Year, played in all 28 games for the Rangers including 27 starts. According to Drew’s Athletic Department web site, Walker totaled 766 minutes, and made 71 of 152 shots from the floor including 18 of 60 from long distance, and 25 of 37 from the charity stripe for a total of 185 points.
In addition, the junior forward for the Rangers, also tallied 192 rebounds, 87 blocks, 28 assists, and 22 steals for an average of 27.4 minutes, 6.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.1 blocks, 1.0 assists, and 0.8 steals per contest. For his career, Walker has played in 75 games for the Rangers including 57 starts, and has played 1646 minutes, made 150 of 321 total shots from the floor including 40 of 127 from downtown, and 40 of 64 from the line for a total of 380 points along with 396 boards, 153 blocks, 61 assists, and 53 steals for an average of 21.9 minutes, 5.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game.
While his prowess is more concentrated to rebounding and defense, Walker has shown a good deal of improvement in terms of shooting the basketball, and taking care of it. His assist to turnover ratio has gradually improved to 1.0 while his three point shooting has developed significantly since his senior year at St. Joseph’s and his freshman year with the Rangers. Over the past two seasons, Walker has made 38 of 116 attempts from beyond the arc for 32.7 percent.
Meanwhile, McBurnie compiled 731 minutes, made 121 of 255 shots from the floor including 14 of 49 from three point land, and 14 of 60 from the line for a total of 270 points along with 222 rebounds, 42 assists, 26 blocks, and 17 steals, or an average of 26.1 minutes, 9.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and just under a block per game. The Sayreville native had an assist to turnover ratio of 1.5. McBurnie scored in double figures in 13 of the 28 games he played in, and had double digit rebounds on 9 occasions.
McBurnie recorded a double-double three times during the season including a 12 point and career high 18 rebounds in the opening round of the ECAC Division 3 playoffs against Hood (won 95-71) on March 6th. His first career double-double was in a conference game at Catholic University on December 7th when he collected 11 points and 12 boards in a 64-54 victory. The other career double-double McBurnie had in his rookie campaign was a 13 point, 12 rebound performance in a 69-59 loss to Scranton at home on January 29th.
Speaking of double-doubles, Walker collected 6 this past season, and has seven for his career. He has scored in double figures 10 times so far in his career, and has recorded double figure rebounds on 8 different occasions in his career. After blocking six shots in his first game as a freshman, Walker repeated that feat in his first two games this season before recording a career high 8 blocks in an 81-78 defeat to Susquehanna in Madison on January 15th. His career high in rebounds was 12, which he accomplished in three different games this season.
Walker posted a career high 13 points along with 10 rebounds and 2 blocks in a 64-59 victory at Goucher on January 18th. Perhaps his most productive game though in terms of points, rebounds, and blocks was on February 5th when he tallied 12 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 blocks versus Moravian at Baldwin Gymnasium in Madison. He also made 5 of 9 shots from the floor including one of three from beyond the arc, and one of two from the line. Over the past three seasons, Drew has reached at least the semifinal round of the Landmark Conference playoffs, and played in the Conference Championship last year.
Congratulations Malachi and Howard on your accomplishments at Drew this season, and best wishes for continued success in college.