RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -Torey Burston became a fan favorite during his basketball career at VCU. After a year away from the court, Burston has returned to hoops, but this time to help shape the future.
The former Ram is in his first year as an assistant coach for the J.R. Tucker boys basketball team. Burston was hired for the position by first-year head coach Adam Desgain, who returned to his alma mater to take over the program after four years as an assistant at Glen Allen.
“He was the first one I thought about,” Desgain said of Burston. “It was a no-brainer for me as soon as I got the job.”
Burston spent some time after graduation going to basketball showcases and speaking to some professional teams overseas with hopes of keeping his playing career going. He was taking care of his grandmother at the time, so the former VCU guard walked away from the sport. After some uncertainty about his future, Burston got a job with Dominion Energy.
“Going through that stage of not having money to pay for student loans or whatever the case may be, to now going upward to having a good job, coaching kids... and now everything is on the positive swing, so it’s been great,” Burston said.
Desgain offered Burston a chance to get back into the game, and his coaching career was born at the beginning of the 2018-2019 season on the Tigers' bench.
“I always said if I couldn’t play pro, somehow I always felt I had something to give back to the game," Burston said. "Being in Richmond and being from Richmond and coaching at Tucker, it’s great for me because I can just give the knowledge that I have back to people younger than me.”
The former Ram may be the poster child for hard work-- a walk-on at VCU whose hard work and perseverance led to a scholarship. It’s those lessons he hopes to pass down to the potential up-and-coming stars at Tucker.
“His story, and the amount of hard work and dedication that it takes to become a great player, I felt he could be a great asset to the kids here," Desgain said.
Burston says he can look back on his own high school experiences, apply knowledge he has gained since then, and help his players get an edge.
“Relate to these guys on a different level, being young still, and knowing the different things in high school that they go through-- a lot of homework load, basketball, potential girlfriend problems, anything that they’ve been through that I’ve been through, I try to help those guys out.”
The first-year assistant says the high school game is where he belongs right now, giving him the ability to help younger players develop both on and off the court. However, don’t be surprised to see Torey Burston on the bench of a college program at some point in the future.
“I see myself being in college, like Darius (Theus) is at VCU. He played at VCU. I see myself trying to go back and be under Coach Rhoades or definitely one of my coaches that coached me so definitely that’s the ultimate ultimate goal.”