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Following a stellar prep and collegiate career, Burleson was selected third overall in the 1974
NBA Draft by the Seattle Supersonics and played eight seasons in the league. Photo courtesy
Tom Burleson

Originally published: 2014-01-30 10:08:19
Last modified: 2014-01-30 10:09:05

Prep hoops legend: Burleson named among NCHSAA's 100 male athletes to remember

Jamie Shell / (

Among the top 100 male high-school athletes of the past century, one need not look far down the list to find the accomplishments of Avery County's own Tommy Burleson.

"Tommy Burleson is Avery County's favorite son," Avery County Manager Robert Wiseman said of the local basketball icon.

Burleson, a star basketball player for Newland High School during his freshman year and Avery County High School following consolidation for his final three prep seasons, was a first-team All-State honoree following his sophomore, junior and senior seasons, and was named All-American as a prep junior and senior. Burleson's teams in high school posted a whopping 85-8 record that included multiple trips deep into the state basketball tournament.

“I’ve been very blessed, and I thank people for all the honors I’ve received over the years," Burleson said from his office at Avery County Building Inspections Department last week. "High school was a really fun time. Back in the day, and even today, athletes were disciplined, and I was blessed to have Roger Banks and Bruce Daniels, who coached at ASU, for coaches. I also had Charles Franklin my senior year. God had just the right people at the right places at the right times for me.”

To read the complete story, please pick up a copy of your hometown newspaper, The Avery Journal-Times, available at almost 100 locations in Newland, Banner Elk, Crossnore, Spruce Pine and Roan Mountain, Tenn. To subscribe to The Avery Journal-Times, please call (828) 733-0401 or click to  

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