Richmond Transfer Tyler Burton Commits to Villanova

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Courtesy of Richmond Athletics

Burton is expected to be the last offseason addition for Villanova.

On Wednesday, former Richmond star Tyler Burton officially announced that he will be using his fifth and final season of eligibility at Villanova. 

Prior to committing to Villanova, Burton entered his name in the 2022 and 2023 NBA drafts. He withdrew from the draft pool both years to return to collegiate play. 

The 6-foot-7, 215 pound small forward averaged 19 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists for Richmond this past season, earning him All Atlantic-10 Second Team honors. He was a three-year starter for the Spiders, ranking No. 11 for Richmond’s all time career scoring list at 1,634 points and sixth in rebounds with 819. 

Burton announced his transfer decision with a post on his Twitter, tweeting “With that being said, I’m extremely excited to announce I’ll be attending Villanova University for my final year of eligibility. Go Cats!!”

Burton is now the fourth transfer to join the Wildcat roster, capping off head coach Kyle Neptune’s success in the transfer portal. Villanova will also welcome Lance Ware (Kentucky), Hakim Hart (Maryland) and TJ Bamba (Washington State). The four join a Villanova team that went 17-17 last season, a stark drop off from advancing to the Final Four in 2021-2022.

The former Spider is best known for his offensive prowess. On top of his high average, Burton scored 25 points or more five times last year, once more than the entire Villanova roster. He’s tall and can drive, making 71.8% of his shots at the rim (per CBB Analytics). He’s also traditionally been a strong three point shooter, making 36% from beyond the arc in his sophomore and junior seasons. That number dipped below 30% last year as Richmond limped to a 15-18 record, but the hope is that it will improve with less defensive attention. Burton is also a good free throw shooter, making 75% of over 200 charity stripe attempts.

Additionally, Burton is a solid defender. He led the Spiders in rebounds and steals last season, but played far more minutes than any of his teammates. He will not be a defensive liability, but whether he will have the same success against Big East opposition remains to be seen.

Burton’s scoring numbers will take a dip this season, as he will not be required to take on the offensive responsibility at Villanova that he took on at Richmond. However, he will still be seen as a key option. He will have opportunities to drive or to shoot from deep, as defenses will not be able to focus on him the way they did at Richmond. However, with Justin Moore, Bamba, Eric Dixon and others at Villanova, Burton will have less shot volume.

Burton is expected to slot straight into the Villanova starting five. Neptune will have options as to how he uses the talent he accumulated in the transfer portal, but a likely lineup would be guards Moore, Bamba and Hart, with Burton at the four and Dixon at the five. 

Richmond utilized Burton mainly as a small forward last season, but the Spiders also had a seven-foot center. Villanova’s tallest player is Dixon, so Burton will likely play more as a power forward/four. However, his versatility means that he can play when both Dixon and Ware are on the court, meaning that, with Hart’s guard skills, Villanova could occasionally use a lineup with four players 6-foot-7 or taller.

However, the more likely lineups include Burton at forward with guards Moore, Bamba, Mark Armstrong or Jordan Longino. Without much depth at forward, Villanova will rely on Burton to play key minutes this season.

Burton is expected to be the final offseason addition for Villanova, as the Wildcats have no remaining open scholarships. With him, the Wildcats are expected to be a top-20 team in the nation and will likely compete for the Big East championship.