It took losing basketball for NC State senior Kody Burke to become academically inspired.
Way back in middle school in her native Northridge, Calif., Burke got a D on her first report card. When her parents told her she couldn’t play basketball any more until her grades improved, it didn’t just hurt Burke.
“That was a time when academics was not a priority for me at all,” Burke says. “I knew that my dad loved basketball and how much he loved coaching me in basketball, so when I got that first D, it cost us both.
“When I got my first A, I thought ‘Wow, this is pretty rewarding’ and I got to play basketball again.”
Now, as her NC State basketball career nears its end, Burke has been rewarded for juggling the ball and her books. She was recently named first-team CoSIDA Academic All-American. It’s the third year in a row she’s been recognized by the organization, earning third-team honors the last two years and making her a rare NC State three-time Academic All-American. She is the only ACC player on this year’s first or second team.
The senior forward and her team will be in action this weekend at the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament in Greensboro. The fourth-seeded Wolfpack (24-6, 11-5 ACC) will play Friday at 11 a.m. against an opponent determined in Thursday’s games.
Burke owns a 3.93 grade point average and expects to graduate in May with a degree in business administration and a concentration in finance. Her accomplishments in the classroom and on the court have earned the respect of her peers and her professors.
Hard Work and Motivation
“As a student, she has always been amazing to work with,” said Lauren Brown, her academic adviser in the Poole College of Management. “She is completely on top of everything, asks questions and meets deadlines, and she’s genuinely nice. Given the number of students we have as advisers, to have someone stand out is special.”
Burke is just the third women’s basketball player to earn first-team All-America honors, joining Marissa Kastanek (2013) and Jennifer Howard (1996 and ’97). Howard is the only previous three-time All-American.
Burke has been a big contributor to the Wolfpack’s success this season under first-year coach Wes Moore, averaging 15.1 points and 6.0 rebounds. Earlier this week, she was named second-team All-Conference by the ACC. She ranks in the top 15 in school history in blocked shots, games, rebounds and scoring.
Burke credits her success as a student-athlete to her strong college preparatory high school, her parents’ motivation and hard work early in her career.
“My first year here was pretty tough and I worked hard to get ahead on my academics,” she says. “Now, it’s kind of second nature. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, just easier to do than when I first got here.”
Despite lots of preparation for entering the working world – she completed an internship in the athletics department finance office last summer – Burke isn’t sure what the future holds after graduation.
“I have no idea what’s next,” Burke says. “It’s crazy to think about because I am such a planner. But right now, I am only thinking about basketball. We are performing miracles with this team and I think we still have some work to get done.”