New assistant Burno digging in heels at UF


Published: Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 6:48 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 6:48 p.m.

New Florida assistant men's basketball coach Rashon Burno still remembers his only game in the O'Connell Center.

Burno was the starting point guard for DePaul in a Dec. 2, 2000 game between the Gators and Blue Demons. Florida, coming off a Final Four appearance the season before, held on for an 83-76 win.




“We got robbed on a couple of calls,” Burno said with a laugh.

The next time Burno takes the floor at the O-Dome, it will be in a suit and tie on the home bench. Burno accepted the job as UF assistant coach in April shortly after former assistant Norm Roberts left for Kansas. And the 33-year-old Burno said he expects to be around for awhile.

“This is something that obviously can be a long-term fix for me,” Burno said. “I'm not looking to go anywhere. I'm happy for the opportunity.”

Burno, a former point guard at both DePaul and St. Anthony's Prep in Jersey City, N.J., primarily has recruiting ties in the Northeast. But he said he considers himself a “national recruiter” and will go anywhere to try to land a player.

Asked to describe himself as a recruiter, Burno responded: “Tenacious. I try to wear many hats because every kid is different and I try to adapt to a particular kid, but just consistent with my message as far as talking to kids. But definitely one of aggression, just trying to make sure they understand where they stand with us.”

Being from St. Anthony's, Burno also has a strong relationship with another former St. Anthony's standout, Florida rising senior guard Mike Rosario. UF's leading scorer off the bench last season at 6.6 points per game, Rosario recently made the Puerto Rico National Team.

Rosario struggled with injuries and adapting to a bench role in his first season of eligibility at UF.

“Right now, he's playing well,” Burno said. “I think he had 25 (points) and 5 (assists) last night. I think with Mike, he just wants to win. He understands the importance of coming in ready to play and it's not just my job to motivate him, (it's) the entire staff. I think Mike understands he's going to need to bring his ‘A' game every game out.”

Burno said he's thankful for the opportunity to work with Florida coach Billy Donovan. He received a strong recommendation from his previous head coach at Manhattan, Steve Masiello, who like Donovan is a branch in the Rick Pitino coaching tree.

“I think it goes back to working for a Pitino guy in Coach Masiello,” Burno said. “You do a good job for someone in the family, the word travels, or so I hope.”

As a former point guard, Burno said he tends to gravitate toward working with point guards, and is looking forward to teaching Scottie Wilbekin and incoming freshman Braxton Ogbueze. He said he thinks Kenny Boynton also is capable of playing more at the point.

“That's a decision that will be made behind closed doors,” Burno said. “Kenny has put together a pretty good offseason so far and he'll be able to play whatever position coach puts him in.”

Burno said he's had a chance to briefly meet with some players and returning assistant coaches John Pelphrey and Matt McCall. He's looking forward to meeting and working with the entire team when players return for the second summer session on July 2.

“These guys are coming off back-to-back Elite Eights so just whatever I can do, I'm hungry to do it,” Burno said. “I just want to add value to this staff.”

Contact Kevin Brockway at 352-374-5054 or brockwk@gvillesun.com. Also check out Brockway's blog at Gatorsports.com.

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