On a quiet Sunday afternoon, Kobe Burgess gathered with family and other supporters inside Beames Fieldhouse in Tishomingo for a big announcement.
Burgess had signed on the dotted line to play college basketball with the Murray State Aggies.
It was a second chance that some might not have believed Kobe Kendell Burgess would get. However, here he is.
The former Ada High School star was named the 2018 Ada News All-Area Boys Basketball Player of the Year as a junior after helping the Cougars to a Class 4A State semifinals berth. He averaged 12.7 points, 4.7 assists, 3.1 steals and almost a blocked shot per game during that memorable season.
He turned his game up a few notches during Ada’s magical playoff run.
Burgess scored 18 points to go with eight assists, three steals, three rebounds and two blocks in a 48-34 win over archrival Ardmore in the first round at state. Then, Burgess and the Cougars had fans thinking upset in a battle with unbeaten Kingfisher in the semifinals before the Yellowjackets finally hung on for a 50-45 victory. Burgess hit three 3-point baskets and scored 21 points in that tough defeat.
The 2019 POY award was his to lose entering his senior campaign, but Burgess appeared in only four games for the Cougars before he parted ways with the team due mostly to off-the-court issues.
That was then, and this is now. Murray State College head men’s basketball coach Kevin O’Connor believes he may have struck gold after signing Burgess.
“I definitely think we’re getting a good one. I think he can bring great athleticism on both the offense and defensive end. He’s a dynamic player,” O’Connor said moments before the signing ceremony got started.
“What I like the most is the fact that he is a two-way player. He can really anticipate well on defense and just has great basketball instincts that are instilled in players that you can’t really coach,” he continued.
Burgess is chomping at the bit to get a fresh start at Murray State.
“First of all, I am thankful to be given an opportunity to play at the next level. Coach O’Connor and the staff are great,” Burgess said. “They have a good program, and I have a feeling the incoming freshman class has a chance to leave a mark at Murray.”
Burgess — along with some help from other MSC newcomers — hopes to get the Aggies headed in the right direction during the 2019-20 season.
The Aggies finished 9-22 overall last year and were 5-11 in the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference. They weren’t much better during a 2017-18 campaign that ended at 10-19 and 3-13.
There is work to do. But O’Connor is anxious to get started with Burgess.
“He has some of those God-given abilities that we really love,” O’Connor said.
Burgess knows what it takes to succeed on the basketball court and looks forward to taking on any challenges that lie ahead.
It’s a new beginning, indeed.
“I’m ready to get started on a new chapter in my life and see what it has to hold. I have a lot of people to prove wrong,” he said.
That chapter begins Nov. 1, when the Aggies host Oklahoma Wesleyan inside the Beames Fieldhouse.