Considering he’s one of the best basketball players in his class, Terrion Burgess likely has a large payday waiting for him in the not-too-distant future.
When exactly remains to be seen, but the NCAA’s recent legalization of student-athletes profiting off their Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) means the top-30 prospect won’t have to wait until reaching the professional ranks to capitalize on his talents.
Some states have even passed legislation that allows high school athletes to make NIL deals, but Arkansas is not one of them. If it was, though, arguably no one would stand to benefit more financially than Burgess.
The Benton power forward and Class of 2025 recruit maintained his No. 1 ranking on Arkansas Athlete Connection’s high school NIL valuation list, which was calculated by Byron Jenkins and published exclusively on Best of Arkansas Sports.
According to Jenkins’ calculations, which are based on production, exposure, influence and relationships, Burgess’ value right now, as a rising junior, is $300,000. That doesn’t guarantee that he’d immediately make that much if NIL was legalized at the high school level in the state of Arkansas, but rather it’s an estimate of how much he could be bringing in.
Especially in a state whose median household income of just over $50,000 ranks next-to-last in the U.S., that is a large number for anyone — much less a 16-year-old kid. But Burgess isn’t too worried about that right now.
“It’s an honor about the NIL stuff, but I’m not really focused on NIL,” Burgess said when told of his No. 1 ranking. “I’m trying to focus on the NBA right now.”
NIL Offers on the Table for Terrion Burgess
Even when presented with the scenario of landing NIL deals, Terrion Burgess doesn’t have grand plans or dreams for the hypothetical money. He said he’d just pay tithes to his church and save or invest the rest of it.
When he says he doesn’t care about NIL deals, Burgess is the rare modern student-athlete who truly means it. That is probably a product of his upbringing.
The schools currently pursuing Burgess — the No. 1 in-state recruit in the 2025 class who now has offers from Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, TCU, Texas A&M and Texas Tech — know not to even bring it up. It’s his father, Terry Burgess Jr., who handles that side of things.
“He doesn’t know a lot about it because I want to keep him with tunnel vision, because it’s not about that at this point,” Terry Burgess Jr. said. “We still have a lot of work to do. … I try to keep a lot of noise from him.”
He is just part of a strong support system for Terrion Burgess, who also has a mother, grandmother and grandfather in his corner.
They’ve kept him focused on the light at the end of the tunnel even as Overtime Elite and the G-League have come calling. Overtime Elite even flew down to Benton before Christmas and put him through a workout.
Those have been far from the only offers Burgess has received.
Extremely skilled and 6-foot-10 with long hair that’s never been cut, he is a very recognizable player and, in theory, quite marketable – especially for a fashion designer in Tennessee who has already reached out. There was also a record label that reached out.
They, and multiple other businesses, were offering six-figure deals for him to move east. One was willing to pay $1 million over his final two years of high school.
There were likely ulterior motives behind those opportunities, but the Burgess family never really pursued them.
“Nothing was ever put on paper,” Terry Burgess Jr. said. “You’re talking about phone calls. So I really don’t technically count anything until it’s legally on paper. … It was just a phone conversation and they were just throwing it out there to see how I respond. It didn’t ever go further because I didn’t do a whole lot of entertaining it.”
While that money may be enticing to a lot of people, Burgess is blessed with a family that’s not hurting financially.
His father runs the cosmetology schools founded by his grandfather, but also has rental property and is the director of the Summerwood Sports facilities in Benton — “I wear many hats,” Terry Burgess Jr. said — so he’s able to more than provide for the family. That gives them the freedom to turn down the six- and seven-figure offers.
“I want him to continue his growth and he’ll get there,” Terry Burgess Jr. said. “That million, if he does what he’s supposed to do, it’ll be 100 million here in a couple years. Just be patient. If they get it here in state, great. If they don’t, it’s still fine. We’re not going to miss a meal or the lights get turned off or anything like that.”
There’s also the practicality aspect of taking those NIL offers, as it’d require moving the family to an entirely different state and Burgess going to yet another new school, as this past year was his first year at Benton after moving in from Marion, where he played as a freshman.
“That would mean I have to uproot my family and move there,” Terry Burgess Jr. said. “The family business is all here. It’s a lot. When you’re talking about the money, then you’re talking about what it does to your family. How does it work? I have a 2-year-old daughter. (Terrion’s) just getting comfortable in Benton.
“I’m a thinker, so I analyze the whole situation all the way through, not just breaking it down looking at the dollar sign and saying, ‘I’m gone.’”
It’s not just his father who feels that way, either. Terrion Burgess, while much less talkative than Terry Burgess Jr., said he wasn’t even interested in leaving the state to play at an academy — like Montverde, Sunrise Christian or Oak Hill — much less for an NIL deal at another high school.
“It’s not really about the money,” Burgess said. “I just like to play the game of basketball and I love my state.”
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