Shockers of the Roundhouse: Randy Burns keeps Wichita close

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Randy Burns played basketball at Wichita State from 2001-2005, leading the Shockers in scoring three out of four years.

Sports Editor

No. 8 in career scoring and No. 1 in career three-point field goals made as a Shocker all-time, Randy Burns is back in his hometown of Houston, Tex., raising a family, working jobs and pursuing a career.

“I have one little boy and four little girls,” Burns said. “I kind of got lucky, but I’m blessed. I’ve gone through a lot of struggles and a lot of ups and downs. But at this particular moment, I would consider myself on the way up, on the rise.”

    

The least sought-after player in the 2001 recruiting class, Burns made an immediate impact on the court.

“I started out pretty shaky to the point that Coach Turgeon said, ‘We just have to recruit better players,’ in our practice based on the mistake I made,” Burns laughed. “So that always stuck out to me. We played in the Great Alaska Shootout (a tournament). First game, I had 18 points. The second game, I made a game winning shot, and we lost the third game.”

Burns was able to reel off the best first game scoring performance by a freshman since Antoine Carr. He made the all-tournament team to everyone’s surprise, he said.

By season’s end, Burns earned himself the team’s most improved player award. He also won the MVC’s freshman of the year award over teammate Jamar Howard and Bradley’s Danny Granger, who went on to be an NBA All-Star.

Considering himself an underdog, Burns said he fought his way uphill his entire life.

“I was a 5’ 10” shooting guard,” Burns said. “I averaged 4.4 rebounds one year. I was small as a shooting guard, but was somebody that had a lot of heart.”

His only regret: He never won a championship. His most memorable moment: WSU losing to Vanderbilt in the NIT his senior year.

“I don’t want to bring negative light to my memorable moments at Wichita State, because that was a very crazy way to go out,” Burns said. “We lost to Vanderbilt last second. It was a full court pass. That was crazy.

“But we didn’t get a championship, so my most memorable moment would be the game against Vanderbilt.

“That’s the only thing I remember right now … shoot. I couldn’t believe my college career was over.”

After WSU, Burns spent two years playing basketball in Austria before hanging up his shoes. He met his wife and started the next chapter of his life back in Houston.

He said he’s not ashamed of it, but he didn’t have a true passion or even an idea of what he would fall back on in case sports didn’t work out.

“A lot of people always warn against that, but I’m definitely a victim of it,” Burns said. “You’ve just got to do what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to find jobs. You’ve got to find your way.”

Never having a true career after basketball, Burns said he finds himself now going down the right path. He has a goal and direction, which is more than he had coming out of college.

Burns is an entrepreneur and promotes positivity. He’s been a personal trainer for two years and asked for advice from an old friend, WSU basketball’s personal trainer, Kerry Rosenboom.

“I’ve got a lot of things to thank Mr. Kerry Rosenboom for,” Burns said. “About a year ago, I reached out to him to get some pointers and tips on being a personal trainer, and he did everything he could to help me out.”

Now, Burns has a method of exercising that he said is brilliant. He trains 21-year-old soccer players and 51-year-old soccer moms, and they use the same method.

He’s also working on his music career, which he says started before going to WSU.

“I’m making a CD that is dedicated to my career and my time at Wichita State and the Wichita State family,” Burns said. “I’m going to be releasing it around Shocker Madness.

It’s only going to be five songs, because I was No. 5. It’s going to be called ‘State of Shock.’ I think it goes perfect with the whole Wichita State thing.”

He said he thinks that his recruiting class of Jamar Howard, Rob Kampman and Paul Miller really turned around the culture at WSU. With only two winning seasons in the 1990s, Burns’ teams never had a losing season.

He’s quite proud of where WSU is today and excited for the future, but hopes to be remembered.

“We’re forgotten Shockers,” Burns said. “I think we had a lot to do with this. We gave a little bit of hope. I won’t take credit, but we helped with the selling of the seats to turn it around. That’s enough for me.”