Tragedy as rising basketball star is killed just one week after his 18th birthday when his Nissan Patrol crashed into a tree
- Rising basketball star killed in horror crash just one week after his 18th birthday
- Joel Burton died early on Sunday after he lost control of his Nissan Patrol
- The car ploughed into a tree so hard it caused nearby houses to shake
- Burton had been offered a full scholarship to play college basketball in America
A rising basketball star was killed in a horror car crash just one week after his 18th birthday.
Joel Burton died in the early hours of Sunday after the Nissan Patrol he was driving lost control and slammed into a tree in Riverton, in Perth’s southeast.
The teenager had recently turned down a full scholarship to play basketball at Minot State University in North Dakota to stay close to his family.
But Ash McCormick, who was one of Burton’s elite coaches, said he had a promising future in the sport and was contemplating heading to the United States and playing college basketball in the future.
Joel Burton died in the early hours of Sunday after the Nissan Patrol he was driving lost control and slammed into a tree in Riverton, in Perth’s southeast
‘To get a full scholarship at that level you have to be a legitimate prospect,’ Mr McCormick explained to the West Australian.
‘At the last national tournament he was clearly the best player and was dominant, so we anticipated him going to America, playing four years and turning pro.’
The teen was driving alone after leaving a party when he ploughed into the tree – causing such an impact that nearby houses shook.
Pamo Jayathilke, who lived nearby, was one of the first responders when he and his father rushed outside to see what had caused their house to shake.
Mr Jayathilke told 9News he tried to open both front doors but couldn’t because the car was crushed.
‘I was like, I can’t do anything, there’s nothing I can do. (We) tried pulling him out but we couldn’t,’ he said.
The teen was driving alone after leaving a party when he ploughed into the tree – causing such a violent impact that nearby houses shook
Others on the scene said the entire front end of the car was mangled and sitting on the teen’s lap, making it impossible for anybody to get to him.
Friends have honoured the ‘bubbly’ and ‘kind hearted’ Burton since news spread of his death.
‘He was a quiet kid, he didn’t say much, but everyone loved him,’ Mr McCormick said. ‘He wasn’t arrogant in any way, he was very humble and had time for people. He was a very genuine down-to-earth person.’
He added he has received an outpouring of grief from the local and international basketball community since Burton’s death, which he described as a testament to the teen’s character.
Major crash investigators are now working to determine what could have led to the crash.
The 18-year-old had recently turned down a full scholarship to play basketball at Minot State University in North Dakota to stay close to his family