Senior forward John Burlager is hoping the Shakopee boys' basketball team can get things turned around in Missota Conference play.

The Sabers won only two of their first eight nonconference games, defeating Owatonna and Burnsville.

They still have Edina and Eden Prairie in nonconference play before beginning league play Jan. 11 at home against Northfield.

Burlager is averaging a double-double (12.6 points and 10.6 rebounds per game) for the Sabers. He scored a season-best 20 points in a 59-51 victory over Burnsville.

Here is a closer look at the 6-5 Burlager:

Three words or phrases my friends or teammates might use to describe me? Goofy. Tall. Goon.

Name three songs you never skip on your iPod? I really don't skip many songs. I just turn on shuffle and let it play through.

Who do you like to follow the most on Twitter, and why? I like to follow ya boy bill nye because it's kind of funny science stuff.

How did you get started playing basketball? I just have always been playing basketball since we had a hoop in our driveway. It was just always something to do.

At my first varsity practice, I felt ... like everyone was a lot bigger and better than me, so I felt that I had to try a lot harder.

What were your goals prior to the season? Just to win more games than we did last year, and hopefully stay healthy.

What did you work on the most prior to the season? Mostly shooting and dribbling. Getting stronger in the weight room, too.

What is your favorite meal before a game? Usually Subway, but I like anything. It all depends on the day.

To get focused for a game, I ... just think about the game, and think about what our team has to do to win.

What is your most memorable moment as a high school athlete? When my teammate Nolan Fischer hit a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer last year. [The shot gave the Sabers a 66-65 victory over Red Wing in a Missota Conference matchup toward the end of the regular season.]

How do you balance school and sports during the year? I really just focus mostly on sports, and if I have a little school work I tend to put it off and just do it in school.

If you could change one thing about high school sports, what would it be? If I had to change one thing, I would say they should really start paying the athletes because it would just be a nice bonus to doing what I love.

When you have time off during vacation, what do you like to do? Hang out with friends and family. Also, sleep and relax.

In 10 years, I hope I'm ... rich and happy!

Who is your favorite college or pro sports team? I like the Gophers and all Minnesota pro teams, but I also like the Oklahoma City Thunder.