We have reached the top 5 in our countdown of Outside the Huddle’s Top 50 boys basketball player countdown. This is No. 5 in our annual preseason crowning of the top 5 players in northeast Indiana that we call the ‘First Five;’ our highest individual preseason honor.
The ‘First Five’ was started in 2018, following in the 35-plus year tradition of naming the top five area basketball players, started by a now defunct prep sports department in Fort Wayne. It is our honor to pick up and carry on that tradition with the ‘First Five,’ including our third group of honorees coming this season at the top of our Top 50 countdown.
No. 5 – Zane Burke, Blackhawk Christian
Burke has been able to play a lot of roles for the Braves over the past two seasons and it has really elevated his game. What sets him apart though is his energy, work ethic and the fact he is so mentally tough. Burke is not the player to sweat the small stuff, he puts it behind him and stays at work pushing forward and pulling Blackhawk Christian from any hole they may ever fall into. Talent is great and Burke has it in droves, but to have someone who so clearly plays the game with mental toughness and comfort is something special. Because of that, taking a big shot or creating a big moment doesn’t seem so big. We just have come to expect Burke to do it because Burke expects to do it.
Burke has been able to be all of the things that you want and expect from a top five talent: he is a good shooter, he is a quality ball handler, his IQ is high and he can finish at the rim. What you don’t just get so often is a guy who can do all of that in one night, in just a couple of trips down the floor. Having the ball in his hands coming up the court didn’t slow any of those facets of Burke’s game in 2019-20. Instead, he averaged 18 points and 4.3 assists while shooting 49 percent from three point range. Burke answered most of, if not all, the questions about his game last season because of his fearless approach on both sides of the ball. Burke’s fearlessness showed over the summer when he made a tour of AAU programs, playing for any team against any opponent when called upon.
COACH’S QUOTE ON ZANE BURKE
“Zane finished out last season playing at a really high level, and that high level of play has continued throughout the off season. Looking for Zane to continue to provide us with great leadership and decision making.” – Blackhawk Christian coach Marc Davidson
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