By Dick Dornan
MyBurbank Sports Editor
Home sweet home. Kansas City, Missouri.
With temperatures in the mid-50’s, Burroughs High basketball players Amaad Wainright and Rashid Ewing returned home for the Thanksgiving holidays to spend time with family, cousins, friends and former teammates.
Come this Thursday, temperatures are expected to dip below 30 degrees in Kansas City. While the dawn of winter descends upon their hometown, Wainright and Ewing will be here in sunny Southern California participating in the Simi Valley Tournament to tip-off their senior seasons.
In an unlikely move that is usually reserved for players at the collegiate level, Wainright and Ewing packed up their belongings during the summer and moved to California to live with their uncle in Burbank.
Forgoing the opportunity to play with close friends at their high school, Hogan Prep, for their senior season, Wainright and Ewing chose to head west to pursue a more challenging environment that would test their skills in basketball and in the classroom.
Little did Burroughs coach Adam Hochberg realize he was the recipient of two talented players who will make a significant impact upon his team this year.
“Amaad is a future division one player and the most talented individual to wear a Burroughs uniform in a number of years,” Hochberg said. “He will be used primarily as a combo guard but can play anywhere on the floor with his size and strength.
“Rashid is an electric player that can be a game changer on both ends of the floor with his energy, athleticism and skill.”
Though they have felt homesick at certain points these last few months, the duo have adjusted to California and are ready to have an exciting season beginning Tuesday against Sierra Canyon.
“This is a good move. I’m really enjoying it,” Wainright said. “I’m excited for my senior year. I feel it’s going to better me as a person and as a man. It’s going to make me more mature and get me ready for the next level.”
“It’s been good so far,” Ewing added. “There’s a lot of good competition out here to play against. It’s always good playing against better level of play that you haven’t seen before.”
Wainright’s mom, Mary Mills, and Ewing’s mom, Benni Ewing, are sisters. With the blessing from their mothers, the first-cousins decided to leave their beloved hometown of Kansas City and bring their talents out west.
Wainright, 18, is a 6-foot-3, 215-pound guard who likes to play a fast-paced game that highlights his abilities of running the floor, attacking the basket and creating for others.
“The game is way faster out here. It’s up and down,” said Wainright, whose brother, Ish, is a freshman basketball player at Baylor University. “I’m more of a J.R. Smith type of player. I like to play in transition, 2-on-1, and 3-on-2. I like to come off the pick, pick-and-roll action and get to the rack.”
Ewing, 17, is a sleek 6-foot-4, 180-pound forward who describes himself as a “screen-and-roll type of guy who likes to set picks, roll and get open.”
Both Wainright and Ewing are explosive players off the dribble who can either play above the rim or step back and knock down a ‘three.’
As members of the AAU club team the Kansas City Keys, Wainright spent this past summer playing in prestigious tournaments in St. Louis, Milwaukee and Los Angeles while Ewing was honing his skills in Dallas.
Wainright was “All-District” in Class 3A in Kansas City and named to the All-State team after averaging 22 points, seven rebounds and four assists per game last year. Ewing pumped in 15 ppg, seven rpg and three assists per game.
Now the formidable one-two Kansas City punch from the “Show Me State” will have the opportunity to show us and the Pacific League their Midwest talents come west.
“My goal is to win 20 games and my personal goal is to be All-CIF and be MVP of the league,” Wainright said.
“I wanted a bigger challenge and to make myself better,” said Ewing.
Welcome to Burbank. It should be an exciting season for the two cousins and all of us in attendance.