His coach hopes he'll have a standout season, but Marquette basketball player is already dealing with a loss

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The college basketball season is right around the corner, which means teams like Marquette will start counting their wins and losses, but one Golden Eagles player will be trying to help his team soar while carrying a heavy heart.

This year's Marquette University basketball team is short on players, and most of the players it does have are short by college basketball standards. Marquette, a team that's used to winning, faces long odds this season, but Deonte Burton doesn't let that deter him.

"It's exciting because you don't know what's going to happen. You're hoping for the best. It's just different," Burton said.

Marquette has a new head coach for the first time since 2008. Buzz Williams has moved on and Steve Wojciechowski has taken over. He's counting on his sophomore from Milwaukee's Vincent High School.

"I would hope for a breakout year for Deonte. He's a kid who's an outstanding talent. He's a very unique athlete in that he's got great quickness and speed, but he's very strong," Wojciechowski said.

Burton used his attributes to make the Big East All-Rookie team as a freshman.

"His challenge is doing it on a day-to-day basis, you know, in order to be a really good to great college player. Those guys bring it every day. Those guys bring it every day, and I think Deonte has challenged himself to do that," Wojciechowski said.

"I've been working on being consistent in everything I do, so I'm trying to be consistent and I'm trying to get in better shape than I was last year. I've trimmed down and I'm just trying to become more active," Burton said.

Burton will also have to deal with managing his grief this season. He already suffered a loss just before Marquette University's media day.

"My mother just died two days ago from breast cancer and it's impacting me tremendously. It comes to show that we can't take life for granted, and to trust in God because he has a plan for everything," Burton said.

"His mom was a great lady and I see many of her best qualities in Deonte. You never know how a young man is going to react to a tragic event like that, but hopefully, he'll use it as motivation and have his mom staring down at him from heaven and watching him have an outstanding year," Wojciechowski said.

"I'm playing for her for the rest of my life," Burton said.

Barbara Burton passed away at the age of 56. Her son Deonte's season starts on November 14th against Tennesee-Martin.