April 8, 2022
Veronica Burton embracing next challenge at WNBA level
"My goal is to eventually become one of the best point guards in the league"
Over the last few weeks, former Northwestern star Veronica Burton has been in the gym. She terrorized opposing backcourts in the Big Ten for four years with perimeter defense you would only expect from a WNBA veteran. However, after taking home two Big-Ten defensive player of the year awards, Burton has pounded the hardwood refining her offensive game.
With only so many roster spaces left in the league, Burton is trying to enjoy the moment while gearing up for what will be a competitive training camp wherever she lands on April 11.
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“It’s definitely a transition,” said Burton. “There’s a lot of different elements to professional basketball compared to college basketball. Now this is a job compared to college where you’re told what to do and have a schedule laid out for you but now you have to take the initiative. It’s a quick turnaround but it’s exciting at the same time.”
Burton’s draft stock slowly increased throughout her past season with the Wildcats thanks to another stellar defensive showcase. According to Synergy Sports, opponents shot only 23.5% on shots off the dribble when isolated on Burton. She also led the NCAA with 4.03 steals per game in 2021-22.
While defense is her calling card, Burton isn’t a negative presence on the offensive end. She was only one of four players this past season to average at least 17 points, five rebounds and five assists a game. Burton was also the primary scorer and facilitator for a Northwestern team that struggled offensively outside of what she brought to them this year. Nonetheless, she was excellent as a pick-and-roll ball-handler, ranking in the 95th percentile on those possessions, according to Synergy Sports.
Admittedly, one of the elements of Burton’s game she will need to hone is her scoring efficiency. She shot 42.1 percent from the field last season and there were times during her senior year when she would force shots trying to make something happen on the offensive end. That might be due to the Wildcats not having a ton of firepower surrounding her but she is just focused on expanding her offensive game.
“This past year especially I tried to really find new ways to score the basketball and kind of get creative in that sense,” said Burton, “just because defenses would be keying in on me so having (been the primary option) did help me expand the ways in which I could score. I know the size and athleticism will increase at the next level.”
Outside of trying to crack a WNBA roster, Burton has been familiarizing herself with the league and potential coaching staffs she might work with if they draft her. She has interviewed with a few WNBA teams and hired former WNBA star Ticha Penicheiro, who works for SIG Sports, as her agent. Burton said she spent the last year getting acclimated with the WNBA and attended Game 3 of the semifinals between the Sky and Sun.
All that is left for Burton is to see where she lands on Monday night. She and her family will be in attendance at Empire State Building where she hopes to hear her name called. After that, the real work begins, and she (rightfully) has high expectations for herself.
“I would say a goal of mine is eventually become one of the best point guards in the league,” said Burton. “I think that’s a big end goal for me in the long run. We’ll see what happens.”