TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — This eagle has chosen her landing spot … and she will be taking flight from the Gem City starting in 2014.
Eastern senior point guard Jenna Burdette signed her letter of intent on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, committing to join the University of Dayton Flyers next season.
“We are so lucky to have Jenna coming to Dayton to join our family,” 10th year Dayton head coach Jim Jabir said. “When we recruit players, we want people who will also fit into our family. Her family is wonderful and they fit so well with our culture. On the court Jenna is smart, sees the floor and has great instincts.”
Jenna’s talents have been highly sought after by many of the top programs and she is currently ranked in the top 150 elite high school seniors in the nation by prospectnation.com, which also gave her a four-star rating. In the end it was the coaching staff that made the Flyers the right choice for Burdette.
“It was mainly the coaching staff,” said Jenna Burdette on why she chose Dayton. “I really just had a good connection with them.”
Jenna, who is currently ranked 18th at her position by espnW, has received first team All-Ohio honors in each of her three seasons at Eastern. She has been named District 13 player of the year in all three seasons, AP southeast district co-player of the year three times and has been selected first team in the Tri-Valley Conference thrice. Burdette was also named to the Division IV All-Tournament team this past postseason and has been conference player of the year twice.
“I’m proud of her of course. She puts a lot of hard work in and it paid off … it’s what she’s always wanted to do,” sixth year EHS head coach and Jenna’s father John Burdette said. “As far as being dad and coach its different roles but one in the same. I’m happy for her as a coach but I’m truly thrilled to see her happy as her dad.”
Through three seasons in the Green and Gold Jenna has averaged 17.6 points per game while shooting 50 percent from inside the three point line and 40 percent from beyond the arc. Burdette has shot 72 percent from the free throw stripe, while averaging 5.3 rebounds per game, 4.6 assists per game and 3.4 steals per game.
“Jenna is just an overall good kid,” John Burdette said. “The best compliment you can have as a basketball player is that she makes everyone else better and that’s her.”
Jenna has already claimed the Lady Eagles all-time scoring record and has led the EHS to a 63-14 record in three seasons. Still the 5-8 guard could have posted many more points.
“I don’t personally care how much I score as long as we have more points at the end of the game,” Jenna Burdette said. “We just like to share the ball and have fun while we do it.”
In the regional final last year against Newark Catholic, Jenna posted 32 points and eight rebounds, with four assists and four steals, leading Eastern to the state tournament. EHS is the only school in the Southeast District history to reach the Division IV Final Four. In the state semifinal, Burdette posted a double-double (20 points and 11 rebounds) in a three point loss to Berlin Hiland.
High school basketball could very well be considered Jenna’s offseason, with her AAU team, the West Virginia Thunder, being one of the tops in the nation. Other commits made by Jenna’s Thunder teammates include Mychal Johnson to Notre Dame, Griffin Dempsey to Charlotte, Terra Stapleton to Michigan, Ali Jo Whitman to UNC Greensboro and Kelli Jo Harrison to Fairmont State.
“This year there won’t be an AAU season because I leave for college in June,” said Jenna. “Going from the AAU season to the high school season is a little different until you get to the regional finals, that’s when it starts acting about the same. Overall, I think AAU has prepared me more for college than high school has.”
Jenna has also competed in the state track and field championships on four separate occasions. As a junior in the 4x400m relay and as a sophomore in the long jump, the 4x200m relay and the 4x400m relay.
Jenna, who is currently undecided on a major, will be joining a University of Dayton program that gets closer to the top each season. The Flyers, which were just 3-25 Jabir’s first season, have won more than 20 games in six straight years, including boasting a 28-3 record last season.
UD has made the NCAA tournament in four consecutive years and won the Atlantic-10 this past season. Dayton is currently ranked 21 in the nation by USA Today and holds a 2-2 record with its only losses coming to Big10 schools in overtime. Burdette is expected to make a major impact for the Flyers next season.
“I think that Jenna is going to be our leader on the court,” said Jabir. “She brings a great balance off the court. We needed to sign Jenna and we are lucky she is a Flyer.”
Jenna — who owns a 3.9 GPA and is a National Honor Society member — is the daughter of John and Jill Burdette, who reside in Coolville, Ohio.