OBU signs combo guard Burke Putnam

Brian Johnson
The Shawnee News-Star
Burke Putnam

The Oklahoma Baptist University men's basketball program continues to be in reload mode after adding Burke Putnam, a 6-foot, 3-inch guard and transfer from Valdosta State University in Georgia.

Putnam, who will have one year of eligibility remaining, averaged 15.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.5 steals for Valdosta State's Blazers last season.

“Burke grew up in Oklahoma, played AAU basketball with Harrison Stoddart and went to Connors State,” said OBU head coach Jason Eaker. “I think he is one of the best Division 2 combo guards in the country. He's a great kid with a lot of accolades.”

Burke was also an 84% free-throw shooter and nailed nearly 40% of his field-goal attempts for the 2020-21 season as he was named to the Gulf South Conference East Division First Team. In 2019-20, he sported averages of 11.7 (scoring) and 3.1 (rebounding).

“I feel like God had a plan for me to come here (to OBU), especially coming to play for a great coach and a great program,” said Putnam. “I feel like God has put me here in a good position.”

Putnam played his high school basketball at Tulsa East Central High School before playing two seasons at Connors State College in Warner.

While at Connors, he was able to play on the home court of the Bison – the Noble Complex – during the NJCAA Region II Tournament. His Cowboys won the Region II crown as a freshman and was runner-up as a sophomore before heading to Valdosta State where he spent two seasons.

Putnam averaged 11.0 points as a freshman and 16.0 as a sophomore at Connors State

He is confident in what he brings to the Bison program and is excited to be closer to home with his sick mother.

“I feel like I have a high I.Q., I'm pretty athletic and a likable person,” Putnam said. “I'm passionate about the game. I want to lift up my teammates. I want to be able to control the pace of the game.”

Putnam joins three others in this signing class – 6-6 freshman D.J. Freeman (28.0 points and 17.0 rebounds) out of Casady High School in Oklahoma City; 6-8 big man D'Michael Bellfield, a transfer from Weatherford Junior College in Texas and 6-4 Tyce Baldwin (16.9 points and 3.5 rebounds) from Fossil Ridge High School in Fort Collins, Colo.

That foursome will join three team captains and standouts in Stoddart, Brantly Thompson and Jaquan Simms. Brantly Thompson (13.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 2020-21) was an NABC South Central All-District Second Team performer and All-Great American Conference First Team honoree this past season. Stoddart (13.9 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists) made the All-GAC Second Team last year.

Also back are key returnees in 6-5 forward Nigel Wilcox (8.5 points and 8.8 rebounds), 6-2 guard Trey Green (4.7 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists) and 6-0 guard Jordan Thompson (7.7 points and 2.5 assists).

Eaker and his staff could soon be signing one more transfer.