Bond of brothers
Burgons thrilled to finish college hoops careers together
As most brothers do, Chandler and Colton Burgon didn’t always get along.
“We weren’t very close growing up,” said Chandler, at 25, the older basketball-playing sibling of the two Colorado Mesa University seniors. “In high school we did our own thing and kind of butted heads a little bit.”
All of that changed three years ago.
Chandler had played one year at Dixie State and been on a church mission. Colton was playing at Hartnell (Calif.) Community College. Chandler decided he wanted to go back to school and play basketball again. He remembered playing at then-Mesa State College when he was with Dixie, and he called the coaching staff.
During the conversation, he mentioned he had a younger brother looking to leave junior college after his freshman year — a 6-foot-8 kid brother — and could he maybe come visit, too?
Coaches rarely say no to the prospect of getting a pair of 6-8 players, so the Burgons finally achieved their dream of playing on the same team.
“We realized we mean a little more to each other than we ever admitted to,” Chandler said. “To have these three years here to grow and develop a relationship that will last long beyond here ... we’re not just brothers. We’ll continue to do things together.”
Colton came in as a slender 6-8 sophomore, but this past summer he worked harder than ever. He’s a solid 205 pounds — Chandler, always thicker, weighs 225 — and is stronger and quicker as a senior.
Playing with his older brother, said Colton, 22, is the memory he’ll take from college.
“It’s crazy it’s almost over, but it’s probably been one of the best experiences I’ve had, just getting that opportunity,” said Colton, the Mavs’ leading scorer at 15.8 points per game and leading rebounder at 6.8 per game. “Not many people get that. You can’t really explain what it’s like having your brother with you the whole time. It’s been amazing.”
Both brothers are married. Chandler got married before he came to Mesa, Colton the summer before his junior year.
“You always have someone there for you,” Colton said of his wife, Angie. “For me, it’s been an amazing experience having her here at school with me and having someone to go through things with. You don’t have to worry about going out on the weekends, you can focus on school and what-not.”
Chandler helped launch a business, Olixo, a consulting company that helps its clients import products from China, after he returned from his mission. He’s worked throughout school and will jump back in full-time after graduation. They’ve talked about Colton eventually joining the company.
“We’re not big enough to bring him on full-time yet, but I’d love to have him involved with it,” Chandler said.
Chandler returned from shoulder surgery this season, achieving his goal of suiting up well before Senior Night on Saturday and helping shore up the middle of the Mavericks’ defense off the bench.
He tweaked his right ankle Saturday night at Western State, spending the early part of this week with his foot in a bucket of ice water so he can play.
“I’m glad he was able to rehab so quickly and he’ll be able to play on Senior Night,” Colton said of his older brother. “It’ll be a great night for both of us, being able to play Senior Night together. It’ll be an awesome experience.”
Chandler and his wife, Erica, are eager to put down some roots in Salt Lake, where Olixo is located, after graduation and start a family. First, though, there’s the matter of finishing the brothers’ basketball careers.
Colton said he’ll count the dunk he threw down over Colorado Mines’ Trevor Wages this season among his best memories, but the once-squabbling siblings agree on their top moments.
“Being able to play with all these guys, they’re my best friends,” Colton said. “But playing with my brother is probably my best memory.”
Ditto for big brother.
“I think the memory I’ll take is just looking back and have those times where I did something good or Colton did something good,” Chandler said, “we’ll come off the floor, or if we’re on the floor together, we run up and give each other a big chest-bump.
“Just the memory of playing together. That’s the most valuable thing to me, that’s the memory, to look at how close we are now and hope we can continue that.”