Illinois wing Alexis Burke, a junior, has transferred to Rutgers, head coach C. Vivian Stringer announced Thursday.
The 5-11 Burke, the 2010 Georgia Class 4A Player of the Year, was ranked among the top 50 high school recruits in the country, and among the top 15 at her small forward position, when she was signed by former Illini head coach Jolette Law in 2008 out of Bainbridge High School, Bainbridge, Ga. , in 2009. in addition to leading her high school team to a 25-4 record in her senior season, Burke helped her club team, Essence, to the Nike National championship in 2008.
Rutgers was among the top-five schools Burke was considering as a high school senior when she ultimately committed to Illinois.
Law, a former assistant coach at Rutgers, stepped down from Illinois, her first head coaching position, at the end of this season and has since accepted a position as an assistant coach at Tennessee. Matt Bollant, who brought the Horizon League's Green Bay Phoenix to national prominence, was named to succeed Law as head coach of the Fighting Illini.
Burke, who came off the bench for 4.5 points and 1.7 rebounds in 11.4 minutes per game as a freshman, picked up Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week honors after twice notching what were then career-highs of 18 points in back-to-back games against Long Beach State and North Carolina in the Rainbow Wahine Tournament in Hawaii where she was named to the All-Tournament Team; her tally against the Tar Heels included a career-high four-of-six from beyond the arc.
Last season as a sophomore she earned the team's Most Improved Award. After coming off the bench for much of the season, Burke moved into the starting rotation for 12 games after an injury to classmate Kersten Magrum. Despite averaging 6.9 points per game on the season, Burke showed outstanding potential with a career-high of 26 points in just 20 minutes of action in Illinois' ACC-Big Ten Challenge contest with Clemson, in which she also grabbed five boards and two steals. She also put up 15 points, plus six boards and two blocks, in Illinois' upset of Ohio State on Feb. 9.
Burke, who played as a forward at Illinois, may be adjusting to a new position when she joins the Rutgers squad in the 2013-14 season, when she will have two years of collegiate eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2012-13 season under NCAA transfer rules.
“We are excited to welcome Alexis to our Scarlet Knight family,” said Stringer. “Alexis is a pro-size guard who is very versatile, and has the ability to play both the guard and forward positions. She also has great range and a strong desire to learn. With Alexis’ experience in the Big Ten and under Jolette [Law], she should be light years ahead of understanding parts of our system here at Rutgers. We are optimistic that she will have an immediate impact on our team.”
Source: Portions of this article were drawn from a Rutgers Athletic Communications Press Release