MVP Burrell to join French League

Staff Report

Power forward Justin Burrell, the 2011-12 bj-league MVP, has finalized a one-year contract to play for Champagne Chalons Reims Basket, a second-division club in France.

The St. John’s product played ball for the Golden State Warriors during the Las Vegas Summer League, but the odds of making an NBA roster were still a long shot for the non-drafted second-year pro. In France, he’ll likely get major minutes of court time.

“Moving forward, I’m going to try to do the same thing I did in Japan,” said Burrell, who averaged 18.7 points and 10 rebounds for the Yokohama B-Corsairs last season, in a Monday interview with the Middletown (New York) Times Herald Record. “Dominate and be the MVP. That’s the goal.

“I don’t want to say France is a second option, it’s a great option. It’s a good deal. I definitely want to play in the Summer League next year and get another shot at the NBA.”

Burrell was to arrive in France on Tuesday.

In other bj-league news, Zane Johnson, a former Hawaii guard, will begin his pro career with the Rizing Fukuoka this fall.

As a senior, Johnson, a cocaptain, scored 14 ppg. He is the school’s all-time leader in 3-pointers (180). The 198-cm Johnson, a Phoenix native, participated in Milwaukee Bucks workouts this offseason, The Associated Press reported.