After making numerous memories over the years with his friends and family from both Empire and Central High, Landon Burton signed to play college basketball with Oklahoma Wesleyan University.
Burton played three years at Central High and his senior year at Empire High School. He said he had a connection to Oklahoma Wesleyan when he went to visit the campus.
“I really liked the campus and atmosphere,” Burton said. “It was a really nice place and I like how it is faith based because it is important to me and my family.”
In his freshman season at Central High, Burton was part of a team that won their first game in several seasons and said that was one of many memories he will never forget.
“My freshman year we won our first game in like two years and that was pretty memorable being a part of that,” Burton said. “Getting back on the winning things and another memory is reaching 1,000 career points and that is pretty important to me. Hitting the game winner against Velma-Alma, that was a pretty memorable one because we are big rivals and everyone wants to beat those guys because they are pretty solid. Also, just being with the guys and hanging out, not just in basketball but hanging out in person is pretty important.”
Empire Head Coach Braden Hill, who also happened to be his summer coach in AAU for several seasons and coach for the Bulldogs his senior year, said watching Burton grow is something he is proud of.
“It means a lot and I got to have the opportunity to have him a couple of years ago as well in coaching some summer league stuff. To watch this kid grow, it is really special to me and it really touches my heart to see all of his hard work these past couple of years and constantly never taking the time off,” Hill said. “I am very proud of him and he has done a great job of putting God first and taking that step of being a good basketball player. I know the future is bright for him whereever he goes and whatever college he plays at and whatever career path he chooses he will be successful.”
Hill also said the work ethic was part of the reason the Bulldogs in his second season as coach made a turn in the right direction and knows Burton will be successful no matter what he does.
“I think he did a great job in assisting and helping turn this program around and we got some good wins against a rival conference team and we got some wins against another state tournament team and he was a big part of those (SIC),” Hill said. “He led these guys everyday in practice and he was here to compete and he was here to get better and he never let people take time off. He did his job and got us going in the right direction.”
While Burton is very fond of all his family members and coaches, his biggest influence was his dad, Coach Hill and Coach Kent Franz from Central High. He thanked them for helping him.
“My dad, Keith Burton, he has worked with me outside and in the weight room every day. He is always pushing me to be a better basketball player and a person,” Burton said. “Coach Franz, who was my coach at Central High, he had a big influence in me developing as a player and as a person. He really pushed me hard and Coach Hill, who coached me in AAU and in high school, that was a big part doing summer workouts with him every year and it was really important to me.”
Burton is thankful for the opportunity to play at Oklahoma Wesleyan and for the Eagles beginning next year.
“I am just thankful for having the opportunity to do this and it always has been a goal of mine and not a lot of people get a chance to do this,” Burton said. “So I’m really thankful that God put me in the position to do this.”