Burch enters transfer portal

Photo: Cleveland State Athletics

On Sunday afternoon, transfer portal season officially landed on the corner of Prospect Avenue and E. 21st Street, as Cleveland State forward Faith Burch became the first Vikings player this spring to seek to continue her career elsewhere, according to both The Next and WBB Blog.

Despite being a redshirt sophomore this past season in eligibility terms, Burch enters the portal as a graduate transfer, as the model student completed her psychology degree in three years. Appropriately enough, she earned her fair share of honors related to academic performance, including placement on the Horizon League’s Honor Roll and recognition at CSU’s John Konstantinos Athletics Academic Honors Luncheon last year.

She remains something of an intriguing prospect with untapped potential on the basketball court, even after three years on a Division I roster. Burch didn’t start playing the sport until seventh grade, but her blend of size and athleticism (she was a state qualifier in track as a high schooler) has always made the six-footer worth some development-related patience.

After a redshirt season in 2021-22 and limited duty outside of emphatically-decided contests in 2022-23, Burch seemed to finally settle into an important niche with the Vikings this past season. She was part of CSU’s post rotation with Jordana Reisma and Brooklynn Fort-Davis, but also frequently found her way on to the floor as a 4 alongside those two players in situations where Chris Kielsmeier wanted to utilize a bigger lineup, or due to foul trouble.

Though a casual glace at her per-game numbers – 3.6 points and 3.9 rebounds – may not raise a ton of eyebrows, Burch logged those counts across just 10.8 minutes. Accordingly, she was in the 99th percentile nationally for rebounds per 40 minutes (14.6), and her 47.8 percent field goal rate is also something that could scale with more playing time.

She scored a career-high 12 points against Chicago State on November 24th, and though she is effective on putbacks and short jumpers, her true calling cards are defense and rebounding.

On January 31st at Purdue Fort Wayne, the Warren Harding High School graduate was instrumental to reversing CSU’s slow start on the defensive end, and she went on to produce two double-digit rebound efforts in the final six contests of the Vikings’ season, including Thursday’s WBIT defeat at Toledo.

The other game in that stretch, February 27th at Youngstown State in front of a section packed with family and friends waving masks of Burch’s face, leads to one hard-to-avoid idea: the possibility that she winds up at HL rival Youngstown State. YSU is essentially a hometown school for the two-time Trumbull County and All-American Athletic Conference Player of the Year, and the Penguins recently hired Melissa Jackson, a Cleveland State assistant during the recently-concluded year, as their new head coach.

Wherever she ends up, there’s little doubt that plenty of energy and productivity will follow.

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