Willie Burton at a glance
Gophers years: Played four seasons starting in 1986-87, averaging 18.6 and 19.3 points per game his final two seasons, when Gophers reached the NCAA Sweet 16 and Elite Eight. … No. 2 all-time Gophers scorer with 1,800 points, trailing only Mychal Thompson’s 1,192.
NBA: Miami selected him No. 9 overall in 1990, and he averaged 12.0 and 11.2 ppg in his first two seasons, but his career was sidetracked by battles with depression and alcohol. … Averaged career-best 15.3 ppg for Philadelphia in 1994-95. … Career scoring average of 10.3 in eight NBA seasons.
Return to Minnesota: Burton will graduate Saturday, thanks in part to the Gophers Graduation Program, designed to help former athletes return to school and complete their college work. He lives in Detroit, where he’s working on a program to help high school student-athletes prepare for the challenges they will face in college.
Remember this? Burton scored 36 points in a second-round victory over Northern Iowa in the 1990 NCAA tournament, then 35 in a 93-91 loss to Georgia Tech in the Southeast Regional final.