Rashad Smith and Ian Burke Celebrate Successes

by Justin Vargas | Posted on Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

Both Brophy and Hamilton are two of the top 6A teams in the State. Both will go into this year’s playoffs with Championship aspirations. Both have a senior point guard that is 6’4″- 6’5″.  Both are a very big reason why their teams have those aspirations and are in the position that they are.

Brophy’s guy is Ian Burke. A sharp-shooting guard who can drain it from anywhere on the floor. No, he is not the most athletic player on the court. No, he is not the fastest or quickest player on the court. But he probably will be the most poised. Chances are, he will drop 20 on you any given night in one of the more patient and precise offenses you will see. His basketball IQ is at a high level and he plays the game the way most would say is meant to be played. Did I mention he will put it in your eye from deep like a true sniper?

Burke just picked up his first Division-I offer from Air Force on Sunday. When he tweeted it out that he had picked it up, one of the first people to congratulate him was his longtime friend and middle school teammate, Rashad Smith.

It was a simple “Congrats bro, I am proud of you,” with some praying hands and a 100 emoji. However, it was the message that another top senior point guard in the state that was still waiting around for his first Division-I offer, was able to put the battle aside and just be proud of his friends moment that spoke volumes about Smith’s character and how this game can forge true friendships and brotherhood.

In case you haven’t connected the dots just yet, Rashad Smith is the Hamilton point guard that is the engine of their successes thus far this season. Under Head Coach Doug Harris he has flourished into a point guard that has a little bit of everything. Great size at his position, explosiveness and athleticism and, when engaged, a good defender.

So when Rashad tweeted out yesterday evening that he had received his first Division-I offer from DePaul, it was his boy “Buckets Burke” that was one of the first to congratulate him and retweet the news.

In a group message I talked to both players about their friendship, and their games, and their plans moving forward and came out of it with the understanding that the congratulations wasn’t just for show, their friendship is deeply rooted through basketball and has stood the test of time.

Anybody who knows about Brophy Prep knows about the school’s academic reputation and prestige. What it takes to make it academically at that school as a student athlete is nothing short of impressive. Not to knock a Hamilton High School education, but anyone who knows about Arizona High School’s knows the difference. So when I tell both players via text message hello, I am a little thrown back to see that Rashad from Hamilton replies “What’s up?”, and the response I get from Ian from Brophy is “Whaddup?” And so the ribbing ensues between the two talented senior guards, “LOL, Ian is black on the inside,” which brings me to a pausing laughter.

I soon learn that this friendship started back in the 7th grade, where they played for a club program called the Arizona Eagles. Later on, they would move on to play for Powerhouse 16U together. And the brotherhood never wavered through the years.

Twice this season the two have squared up against each other. Both times Brophy has come out on top in two very competitive games. Both games, Smith and Burke have handled their business. A mixture of emotions where your competitive edge comes out from proving yourself to be one of the top players in the state, and getting a big win for your team, to being proud of the player your friend has become.

When I asked Rashad what he thinks about Ian’s game, his response was an accurate one, “Ian gets his and he also helps his team score by drawing the defense. He is so poised under pressure.”

When asking Ian the same question about Rashad’s game, he almost sounds like a Coach or a Scout, “Rashad is long and athletic and like to D up. He plays passing lanes really well and he can fill it up really easily.  Dude can score from all 3 levels.”

This is the familiarity the two have with each other, on and off the court.

Both have no intention of committing right away. Both want to finish out the playoff season strong and capture the ultimate goal of a Championship trophy and then take a look at their offers and determine the best step moving forward.

So while we would like to congratulate them both on their recent successes and future opportunities, we will wish them luck in both of their playoff runs that start today.

Brophy, the top-seeded team in 6A, will host Corona Del Sol tonight, as Burke will be in charge of defending another top Arizona point guard in 6-foot-5 super sophomore Dalen Terry.

Hamilton will play host to cross-town rival, Chandler High. Hamilton will be playing Chandler in a rubber match, as the two have split the season series.

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