Burks was born in Grandview, Missouri, to Steve and Dina Burks. He has an older brother, Steve Jr. His father played collegiate basketball at the University of Washington. Burks attended Grandview High School, where he averaged 23.0 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.6 steals as a senior. He was named the 2009 Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year and was the Kansas City Star and Metro Sports Player of the Year. Burks led the Bulldogs to a 29-2 record during his senior season and set a school record for points scored over the course of his high-school career. Burks held basketball camps for children in the Kansas City area during the summer of 2016. He also hosted "Strikes for Kids," raising money to support The Brighton A Life Scholarship to benefit Utah Valley University students. In the summer of 2015, Burks participatedin NBA Fit Week in the Philippines to help promote the importance of healthy living. He also visited Glendale Middle School as part of the 2013-14 NBA Fit Live Healthy Week. Learn more about Burks by following him on Twitter (@AlecBurks10). Burks was a high-scoring guard for Colorado for two seasons. As a freshman, Burks combined with Cory Higgins to give the Buffaloes a powerful backcourt under coach Jeff Bzdelik, but the team won only six games in Pac-12 play and Bzdelik lost his job. Burks provided 17.1 points and 5.0 rebounds and was named conference Freshman of the Year. Burks took on a larger scoring role as a sophomore under coach Tad Boyle. The 6-foot-6 guard led the team with 20.5 points to go along with 6.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists. He scored at least 20 points in his first five games while scoring in double figures in all but two games that season. Burks tallied a career-high 36 points in a win over Missouri in Jan. 8. The Buffaloes were invited to the NIT and Burks averaged 24.3 points in four games. He was named to the All-Big 12 First Team. Burks decided to enter the 2011 NBA Draft with two years of eligibility remaining and was chosen by the Utah Jazz with the 12th overall pick.