Trio of Mavs balance hoops, school and marriage

Trio of Mavs balance hoops, school and marriage

In addition to playing basketball for Colorado Mesa University, Blake Francom, left, Colton Burgon, center, and Chandler Burgon, right, all have other priorities in their lives. The three Mavs are all married and have to juggle schoolwork, basketball and marriage.


Colorado Mesa (9-8, 7-6 RMAC)

Last Meeting: Metro 93, CMU 78 (at Metro); Regis 60, CMU 58 (at Regis)

Coach: Jim Heaps, 16th season (274-157)

Probable Starters

PG: Kevin Screen, 5-9, Soph. (4.5 ppg, 46 assists, 7 steals)

G: Jeff Hart, 6-4, Jr., (7.4 ppg, 36 assists, 10 steals)

F: Mike Melillo, 6-5, RFr., (8.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 18 steals)

F: Michael Bear, 6-7, Sr., (16.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 24 blocked shots)

C: Chandler Burgon, 6-8, Jr. (4.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 18 blocked shots)

Notes: The Mavericks are ranked sixth in the nation in field goal percentage defense (37.7). Mesa has an RMAC-low 57 3-point field goals, but shoot a better percentage than Western State and Regis. The Mavs lead the RMAC in blocked shots per game (4.5). CMU is second in the RMAC in rebounding margin (+6.4). The Mavs are 6-2 at home and averaging 73.4 points per game at home. They are 6-0 at home when they score 69 or more points.

Regis (4-13, 1-12 RMAC)

Coach: Lonnie Porter, 35th season (515-439)

Probable Starters

G: Dionte Goodlett, 6-2, Jr. (10.8 ppg, 37 assists, 13 steals)

G: Breen Weeks, 6-3, Jr, (10.3 ppg, 27 assists, 24 steals)

G: Chris Johansen, 6-3, Sr. (9.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 21 steals)

F: Demitrius Owens, 6-5, Jr. (11.4 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 15 blocked shots)

F: Jon Conley, 6-4, Soph., (9.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 14 steals)

Notes: The Rangers have lost six consecutive games since they defeated Mesa for their first RMAC victory of the season four weeks ago. Regis is 0-6 on the road. The Rangers have a balanced scoring attack with three players averaging double figures and five averaging nine points or more per game. Regis is averaging 60.3 points per game on the road and has been outscored by an average of 15 points per game.

NO. 3 Metro State (17-1, 12-1 RMAC)

Coach: Derrick Clark, 2nd season (39-9)

Probable Starters

PG: Brandon Jefferson, 5-9, Soph., (13.2 ppg, 33 assists, 39 steals)

G: Demetrius Miller, 6-1, Jr., (11.4 ppg, 45 assists, 11 steals)

G: Reggie Evans, 6-4, Sr., (17.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 20 steals)

F: Paul Brotherson, 6-6, Sr., (6.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 22 3-point FG)

C: Jonathan Morse, 6-8, Jr., (14.1 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 18 blocked shots)

Notes: The Roadrunners have won five consecutive games since losing their first game of the season at Colorado School of Mines. Metro State is 6-1 on the road. The Roadrunners limit opponents to an RMAC-low 60.7 points per game. Metro leads the RMAC in rebounding margin (+7.0) and turnover margin (+3.67). RMAC preseason player of the year Evans is second in the RMAC with 17.1 points per game. Brotherson leads the RMAC in 3-point field goal percentage (.468).

Chandler Burgon takes 16 credit hours, has basketball practice for two hours a day then if he’s lucky, has time to spend with his wife at home.

The Colorado Mesa University junior is one of three men’s basketball players who balance school, basketball and marriage. The others are Burgon’s younger brother, Colton, and Blake Francom.

“(Thursday night) was our only night, so it was our date night,” Chandler said. “We try to do a date night once a week so we make time for each other.”

They do a good job of making it work, CMU coach Jim Heaps said.

“Sometimes you worry in those situations,” Heaps said. “They’re torn. They have responsibilities off the court the other guys don’t, but they do a great job of making themselves part of it and staying involved. I think a lot of it has to do with their wives being open and wanting them to play basketball.

“It is a sacrifice (for the wives) so the guys can still be a part of the team.”

Each of the trio knew their wives growing up and married them after the guys returned from their Latter-Day Saints church mission.

Francom, 25, married La-Shana in August 2008 while he was attending Hartnell (Calif.) Junior College. He transferred to Mesa in 2010 and recently found out she is pregnant with their first child. She is expecting a baby in August.

“A lot of them didn’t believe me (his wife was pregnant), but they were pretty excited,” Francom said. “I guess they thought it was some practical joke or something.”

Chandler, 23, was friends with Erica through high school. They married a year after he returned from his mission in August 2009. Colton, 21, married his wife, Angie, on July 27, 2011.

“It’s kind of funny,” junior teammate Jeff Hart said. “Sometimes we’ll be talking amongst ourselves and one of us will say, ‘I can’t even imagine being married right now’ then you look around and someone’s already married.”

Chandler understands.

“At times, you do feel out of place,” he said. “Some of these freshmen are six years younger than us. It gives us an opportunity to be role models on the team.”

It is different for them being the male and relying on the wife to support them financially as they play basketball and finish college.

Francom’s wife works as a communications operator at St. Mary’s Hospital.

“There was a stretch she’d work graveyard (shift),” Francom said. “I’d get home at 6 and she’d go to work at 6:30. She’s working a better schedule now. It’s easier now.”

Erica Burgon works different management shifts at a hotel.

“It’s been a good experience for her to work and get a career going,” Chandler said. “It’s worked out well for us.”

Angie Burgon works as a CNA now and plans on returning to school this fall.

“It’s not too bad so far,” Colton said. “We try to make it so she works when I’m in class or at basketball (practice). Once, I’m done with spend time with each other. If not, you try to find time in between.”

The wives, though, make sure to attend the Mesa basketball games even when they are on the road.

“Erica rode with Landon’s girlfriend (last week to Denver) and Cassidy, Kevin’s girlfriend,” Chandler said. “She was talking to some fans considering coming to Mesa. She said she feels like the mom/wife of the team.”

They’ve gone so far as to invite their husband’s teammates over for barbecues and get-togethers.

“The wives are almost part of the team,” Hart said. “There’s been multiple occasions, we’ve gone over to one of their houses and their wives will cook meals for us. It’s been a fun experience for sure.”


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