SAN ANTONIO — When Bradford Burgess returned to his hotel room Friday night after the biggest shot of his life, 147 text messages and 12 voice mails awaited him.
The junior, who teammates called “Big Shot Brad,” delivered the layup with seven seconds left in overtime to lift Virginia Commonwealth University over Florida State and into the Elite Eight.
The shot set off a wild celebration in the Alamodome, where VCU supporters screamed as loud as they could, sang “Deep in the heart of Texas” and didn’t want to leave. The party eventually moved to the team hotel, where around 100 fans greeted the team and mingled with them for a half-hour.
The day after, Burgess was left talking about the need to shoot more. Sure, he poured in 26 points against FSU, including six 3-pointers. VCU coach Shaka Smart wants his second-leading score to be more selfish.
“Sometimes I guess I don’t look for my own shot enough,” Burgess said. “Last night I felt like I was (shooting) too much when I should have been passing. But I guess it’s just my nature.”
Smart is trying to change that, setting a goal for Burgess to attempt 12 or more shots each game. Burgess is 9-for-11 from 3-point range in the last two games with 49 points. It’s the first time this season Burgess had back-to-back 20-point outings.
“Coaches aren’t supposed to play favorites, but I love him,” Smart said. “I wouldn’t trade him for anyone in the country. The scary thing is I think the best is yet to come for Brad. … He’s so unselfish, sometimes it’s to a fault.”