Men's Basketball Headline
GatorZone.com Senior Writer
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- As a point guard at DePaul, Rashon Burno scored five points and handed out eight assists in helping lead his team to a big win over a Florida team that Billy Donovan eventually guided to the 2000 Final Four.
“We were chomping at the bit to get a shot at a team like that,” Burno recalled.
Sort of like he is 12 years later to work for a coach like that.
Burno officially joined the UF staff Thursday, filling the assistant coach vacancy that came available last week when Norm Roberts resigned to take a similar post at Kansas.
The 33-year-old Burno comes to UF by way of an assistant’s post at Manhattan College, where alongside Coach Steve Masiello he was part of a first-year staff that guided the Jaspers to a 21-13 record in 2011-12 a year after going 6-25.
“He’s a great worker and a high-character guy,” Donovan said of Burno, who will join forces with fellow assistants John Pelphrey and Matt McCall on the assistant staff. “He’s almost at a point now where he has a chance to grow into something special. He probably has some things he’ll need to learn and grow, but he’s got a great upside. And he’s really invested into our program because of the opportunity being given him.”
Burno, in fact, had trouble describing the opportunity.
“Quite honestly, it would be disrespectful to try to put it in words -- and I mean that in a respectful way,” he said. “This is a golden opportunity for me to come in and learn the business from a future Hall-of-Fame coach. How many guys can say that? It’s a blessing.”
“It’s a little overwhelming, but it’s going to be fun.”
Burno, who before Manhattan spent a season as an assistant at Towson State with former DePaul coach Pat Kennedy, has roots in the Northeast, having grown up in Jersey City, N.J., and later starring for Bob Hurley at prep basketball power St. Anthony’s, where he played on a pair of national-championship teams before signing with the Blue Demons.
At DePaul, Burno was the only three-year team captain in the program’s history and left the Chicago school ranked third on the all-time steals list and as a member of the 2001 Conference USA All-Tournament team.
More than a decade later, comes his big break.
Burno has every intention of seizing the day, especially when it comes to pounding the recruiting pavement.
“I tell guys all the time, this is a contact sport. I love the challenge. I love the competition to go out and try to get the best players,” Burno said. “I’ve done it at a different level, obviously. I wasn’t recruiting guys with this kind of talent, but it’s the same thing. You have to understand the process it takes to convince a kid to choose your school over someone else’s. I’m excited. I’m nervous. I’m anxious. I’m everything someone would be in a position like this.”