By MIKE MOGUIN
GTR Sports Writer
The University of Tulsa is just down the road for Jenks’ Makenna Burch, so she chose it as her college destination for basketball. But the decision didn’t come easy.
“Honestly, it was pretty hard being recruited by a lot of good programs,” Burch said. “But I felt like on my visit, even though I live in Tulsa, it just felt like another home. I felt like I connected with the players well and I liked the atmosphere. It was a different feeling than anywhere else.”
Burch carries advanced skills and claims to have a “dog” mentality. “That helps me play harder than most people and just keep myself from being outworked on the court,” she added.
A 5’7″ guard, who averages 16.7 points, four rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.7 steals per game as of Jan. 27, Burch scored 21 points the next night in a domination of Owasso while reaching her 1,000th point milestone.
She chose TU over Texas-Arlington, Southeastern Louisiana and Arkansas-Little Rock.
Being a member of the Golden Hurricane will make it easy for her family to watch her play.
“That was a big aspect in choosing TU,” Burch said. “I have a lot of family here that comes to every single one of my games, like my great grandmother, I know she appreciates me choosing TU so she can continue watching me play from adolescence to becoming an adult.”
After she decided on Tulsa, Burch has gotten to know the coaches, players, as well as recruits in her class.
“I know coach (Matilda) Mossman pretty well because she has always been down the street and I know the rest of the coaches. I get along well with them,” Burch said. “I know some of the players too because we played against each other in high school. I also know the two other recruits because we’re all from the Oklahoma area (Olivia Clayton of Checotah and Jessica Evans of Norman North) and with us signing with the same school, we’re trying to create a better bond between us.”
Tulsa is having a struggling year. Burch hopes to give it a boost when her leadership arrives.
“Honestly, I hope to come in and just be myself, just be a leader and help us get to where we want to be,” Burch said. “It is just a whole maturity thing and I hope to bring what I can to the plate and just play hard, because I feel like my leadership role will help bring us to a different level.”
The support you can receive in basketball is one aspect Burch appreciates most about the game.
“I like going out there and seeing all your friends aside from just the game itself. I also like the feeling you get by having a second family within your teammates,” she said.
Like many sports fans across the country, Burch was saddened by the news of an NBA legend, who tragically died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26.
“My favorite NBA player was Kobe (Bryant) – rest in peace, just because of his work ethic and not a lot of people have that anymore. I liked that fight in him,” she said.
She feels the loss of Bryant has an influential effect.
“I feel like the effect is real significant in the basketball world because whether you were a Kobe fan or not, you knew him as a great player,” Burch said. “He was very aspiring, his work ethic and the way he played. So I feel like it will have a real big effect. It won’t be the same.”
At the end of last month, the Jenks girls were working their way out of a hole after falling three games below .500. They had won two straight after being on a six-game skid, yet remain in the Class 6A poll at No. 20.
“I think the key to coming out of it (the losing streak) was just putting our differences aside because this year has been somewhat of a struggle just with team chemistry. I feel like we have all the pieces to be a great team. I feel like as long as we work as a team and stop comparing ourselves to each other, we will definitely be on a better path.”