Texas Tech freshman Nimari Burnett has opted out of the rest of the 2020-21 NCAA Basketball season, the Athletic’s Shams Charania reported.
The Athletic reported that Burnett will continue to train and make a decision later about whether to return to college basketball next season or leave for the NBA. Burnett cited personal reasons and reportedly informed the program this week of his decision. There was no mention of Burnett submitting his name for the transfer portal.
He is the second high-profile Big 12 player to leave a program in the last week. On New Year’s Day West Virginia’s Oscar Tshiebwe left the Mountaineers, citing personal reasons. He submitted his name for the transfer portal a few days later.
Burnett was one of the top recruits in Texas Tech basketball history and one of the centerpieces of the 2020 recruiting class, which included Duncanville, Texas, product Micah Peavy, a former high school teammate of Jahmi’us Ramsey, now in the NBA. Burnett was the No. 34 overall recruit in the nation per 247Sports.com and is the second-highest rated Tech recruit in history behind Ramsey, according to 247Sports.com’s all-time rankings, which go back close to 20 years.
Burnett played in all 12 games this season, averaging 17 minutes per game. But he didn’t emerge as the offensive threat the Red Raiders were expecting, as he averaged just 5.3 points per game and shot less than 30 percent from the floor. Even with the limited playing time, Burnett was the team’s best foul shooter at 88.9 percent.
Burnett was a tertiary member of the rotation after 12 games, thanks in part to the emergence of transfer guard Mac McClung, who leads the Red Raiders with 15.1 points per game. With McClung, transfer Jamarius Burton, holdover guard Kyler Edwards and Peavy, Burnett was having some difficulty breaking into the rotation and had not started a game this season. Plus, the return of Kevin McCullar from a high ankle sprain right after the holiday break redistributed more playing time.
Burnett managed to score in double figures twice this season — 12 points against Grambling State and 10 points against Abilene Christian. His 30 minutes against Abilene Christian was his most playing time in a single game this season. He played just six minutes in his final game against Kansas State on Tuesday.
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