Golfing Magazine caught up with the always-on-the-go Scott Burrell recently and had a little chat with the former University of Connecticut basketball star.
Burrell became the first player in NCAA history to amass 1,500 points, 750 rebounds, 2745 assists and 200 steals. A two-sport athlete, Burrell was the first American athlete to be a first round draft-pick of two major sporting organizations (the NBA and MLB). Ultimately he chose basketball and was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association in 1993 and went on to enjoy an eight-year career in the NBA. He played in Europe for five years once his NBA days were over. He finished third in the NBAís Most Improved Player Award voting after the 1994-95 season, and won a world championship ring while a member of the Chicago Bulls. He is currently an assistant coach with the Menís basketball team at Quinnipiac University in Hamden.
Golfing Magazine: When did you start playing and why?
Scott Burrell: I started to play when I was at UConn. I had played in a tournament in high school and liked it, but I took it more serious once I started to play in college. I was more focused and I loved the competition. I played with Coach (Jim) Calhoun a few times.
GM: Tell me about your golf game. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
SB: I have, every now and then, a mental block. Letís call it the ďSĒ word. Iíll hit a drive 300 yards and be 140 yards from the green and it will happen. I stop my downswing. It really screws my head up for the whole round. It doesnít happen that often but itís not good. I can drive the ball pretty far and my short game is good. I was always a good putter.
GM: Whatís your best round ever?
SB: A 69 at Norwich Golf Club, and I shot a 71 at the Country Club of Waterbury last week.
GM: When did you start getting serious about the game?
SB: Like I said, back at UConn and then I got really serious when I was with the (Chicago) Bulls. I played with (Michael) Jordan a few times.
GM: Who took money from whom?
SB: One time we played we had side bets and didnít bet against one another. But we played in Ahmad Rashadís tournament and letís just say he didnít go home a winner that day.
GM: What are your favorite Connecticut courses?
SB: TPC at River Highlands in Cromwell, Gillette Ridge Golf Club in Bloomfield and Stanwich Country Club in Greenwich.
GM: How about your favorite New England course outside of Connecticut?
SB: The Ranch Golf Club in Massachusetts.
GM: And your favorite course anywhere?
SB: The South Shore Golf Club at Lake Las Vegas and also Shadow Creek in Las Vegas.
GM: Whatís your favorite 19th Hole?
SB: I donít hang out much after I play. If Iím happy I want to get out of there and if Iím not I want to get home.
GM: Whatís your best golf trip?
SB: Cabo San Lucas. Sixteen of us go there and play golf all day, every day.
GM: Whatís your best golf memory?
SB: I guess just competing in tournaments. I love playing in tournaments. Youíve got to putt everything out and everything counts. It prepares you for anything. Playing tournament golf and playing in the NBA finals do that for you.
GM: Who is your favorite golfer?
SB: Tiger (Woods), not because heís the best but because of the way he grinds. He can have a bad round on Thursday and heís always there on the weekend. He wants to come in first every time
GM: Whatís your dream foursome?
SB: Actually, I donít have one. I like the guys I play with, like Ray (Allen) and Donnie (Marshall). These guys are my friends. We have fun and we compete. I guess I would let Tiger play with us some day.