Newton South’s Kayla Burton Talks Faith, Family and the Future
Ryan Kilian / Mass Prep Stars
Newton South (MA) point guard Kayla Burton '13 is no stranger to hard work or busy summers. The 5-foot-7 point guard has been going non-stop this summer as she prepares for her senior season of Massachusetts high school basketball.
Burton's efforts have paid off with a productive 2012 off-season that included a recent commitment to Division 1 Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. Burton has had a successful summer AAU season with the Bay State Jaguars as she has made multiple all-tournament teams and has helped lead an impressive group of Massachusetts all-stars this summer.
"My summer has been busy and great," Burton told Mass Prep Stars. "It started off in Florida at the Super Showcase where we won after finishing in second place last year. We did a really good job of preparing ourselves and our goal was to conquer each possession. We followed that up with strong performances in Chicago at the Nike Showcase and in Washington DC at the Junior Nationals where we lost in the final four in both tournaments."
Burton is no stranger to the summer circuit or recruiting scene after following in the foot steps of her older sister and best friend Kendall. Kendall Burton, who will be a sophomore this year at Villanova, was also a teammate of Kayla when the two helped lead Newton South to an unprecedented season in 2010-2011.
The 2010-2011 squad went 21-2 and won a Dual County League Championship with a perfect 16-0 record before eventually losing to Mansfield in the MIAA Girls Basketball South Division 1 semifinals. After the 2011 graduation of Kendall, along with fellow stars Sophie Bikofsky (Brown), Chloe Rothman (Merrimack) and others, Newton South went through some growing pains last year going 7-12.
Before Burton moves on to Lehigh she has some unfinished business to take care of at Newton South.
"It was a little bit of a struggle transitioning last season with the loss of Kendall and her senior class," Burton said. "Last year really prepared us for this year. Confidence and leadership are the keys. We have a lot of girls returning and we have all been working hard this summer on our games at camps and at clinics."
Family and Faith
Burton comes from an accomplished New England sports family. Her father Steve is a staple in the Boston sports media scene and a former quarterback at Northwestern University. Her late grandfather Ron Burton was a local football star who played for the Patriots and was a legendary philanthropic leader in the community. The Ron Burton Training Village is an amazing New England institution that serves young men and women in their spiritual, physical and educational growth.
Aside from their obvious athletic talent, work ethic and drive are the most common traits you hear when the Burton sisters are mentioned.
"Ever since we were six years old we have woken up early every day and done drills," Kayla said. "Every day, except Sundays. We would get up and do 100 right handed dribbles, followed by 100 left and so on. My parents also taught us the importance of faith. My sister and I were very competitive growing up and we will continue to play each other as Lehigh plays Villanova on the schedule each year. She has really pushed me to get better."
Faith plays a large role in Burton's life as she attributes her success and hard work to her strong belief system.
"God's glory has got me this far," Burton said. "If you put in the time and believe in yourself and keep working it will pay off."
The recruiting process was a long and unique journey for Burton. Before committing to Lehigh she looked at numerous schools, beginning with Memphis her sophomore year.
"The coaches that I talked to were comforting and warming," Burton said. "Talking on the phone is huge. My advice to anyone going through the process would be to do your homework and show your interest. Ultimately the decision you make has to be the most important decision for you. I went to schools that I loved as well as schools that I did not even want to go to so that I could get the entire experience."
Burton also showed her maturity as she stressed the importance of calling coaches to let them know that she would not be attending their school.
"Saying no is the worst," Burton said. "Calling coaches is very important as opposed to emailing them though. I think that they really respect that. They put in all this time recruiting you and the least you can do is call them on the phone to let them know your decision."
Burton committed to Lehigh before the Super Showcase in Florida and is very happy with her decision.
"I love everything about the team, the school and the campus," Burton explained. "Being close to my sister at Villanova is also great."
Burton, who enjoys going to the beach, shopping and hanging out with friends is also a karaoke star in her spare time.
"I rock at Karaoke," Burton declared with a laugh. "I will take anyone on."
The future is bright for Mass Prep Stars' top ranked point guard in the Class of 2013 and we look forward to seeing what the future has in store for Burton.
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