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April 05, 2012 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-04-05

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6A - Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaiiy.com

Report: Burke to
enter NBA Draft

Why you shouldn't hate Trey Burke

By DANIEL WASSERMAN
Daily Sports Writer
According to multiple reports,
freshman point guard Trey
Burke has decided to forgo the
remainder of his basketball
career at Michigan and will
enter the upcoming NBA Draft.
CBS Sports was the first to
report the news about Burke's
departure on Wednesday. The
Detroit Free Press - which was
the first to report Burke's plan to
inquire about his draft prospects
two weeks ago, citing his father,
Benji - later reported that Burke
met with Michigan coach John
Beilein on Monday.
If the reports prove true, this
marks the second consecutive
year that the Wolverines will
enter an offseason with a void at
point guard following an under-
classman starter bolting for the
NBA.
Last season, Darius Morris
left after his sophomore season
and was drafted in the second
round by the Los Angeles Lak-
ers.
Word of Burke's decision
quickly spread across the Inter-
net, prompting Burke's family to
respond.
"Trey Burke has not declared
for the NBA draft. He is still
enrolled at the University
of Michigan," Benji tweeted
Wednesday afternoon.
But even if Burke has made up
his mind and informed coaches
of his intentions, the freshman
won't be expected to declare
within the next few days.
This year, the NCAA has
attemnterd to reo-ulate NBA

Draft declarations by imposing
an April 10 deadline - 19 days
before the NBA-mandated April
29 deadline for players to declare
for the draft - for athletes who
have officially declared for the
NBA to withdraw their names
and return to school before the
June 28 draft.
But the April 10 deadline leaves
itself susceptible to a loophole.
Should Burke officially declare
any time before April 10, he must
pull by out by that date in order
to be eligible to return to college.
But he could choose to wait until
after the NCAA's deadline, and as
long as he declares before April
29, he'd still be eligible for the
draft. This leaves additional time
to further gather information or
allow time for a possible change
of heart.
Even if Burke would chose
to return, Michigan would still
have a void at point guard -
albeit, in the backup role.
This year, senior guard Stu
Douglass slid over from his
shooting guard role to run the
point when Burke was on the
bench.
But Douglass's eligibility in
Ann Arbor has expired. Addi-
tionally, freshman guard Carl-
ton Brundidge - one of only
two remaining Wolverines with
any experience at point guard -
chose to transfer after the sea-
son ended.
In his first year as a Wol-
verine, Burke led Michigan in
points, assists, steals, blocks,
minutes played and 3-point
makes. Burke is given much of
the credit for the program's first
conference title since 1986.

Take all the expectations
you might've had regard-
ing next year's Michigan
men's basketball team and throw
them as vigorously as you can at
something hard, so they explode
into a million little pieces.
Admire the pieces of what
was to be
a surefire
top-10 team
next year for
a moment,
then sweep
them up and
trash them.
But don't
trash Trey DANIEL
Burke. W WASSERMAN
Just15
days ago, in
an interview with Burke's father
Benji, the Detroit Free Press
reported that the point guard
was inquiring about his NBA
Draft stock and leaning toward
going pro.
After an initial panic, most
fans stepped back from the pro-
verbial cliff after realizing that
no matter how good of a season
Burke had, his 5-foot-11 frame
wasn't going to grow three inch-
es into a first-round pick over the
next few weeks. Almost every
draft analyst gave the freshman
a possible late second-round
grade but said he'd most likely go
undrafted.
And then came two eye-open-
ing projected rankings forthe
2012-13 season.
On Tuesday, ESPN's Andy
Katz pegged Michigan at No.
8, but warned that it "might
change by Thursday." Later that
day, CBS Sports' Jeff Goodman
and Gary Parrish tabbed the
Wolverines at No. 5.
But at 2:57 p.m. on Wednes-
day - less than 24 hours after
his ranlinworep- u bnlished -

Goodman announced via Twit-
ter that he had "some HUGE
news." Moments later, he broke
the story that Burke is planning
to depart Michigan after his
freshman season. And boom.
Just like that, Michigan fans
bolted for the cliff and jumped
without ever looking back.
Even with key departures,
including Zack Novak, Stu Dou-
glass and Evan Smotrycz, the
Wolverines were going tobe
good. How good? A lot of that
depended on how the most tal-
ented recruiting class coming to
Ann Arbor since the Fab Five II
class of 1994 would pan out.
Now we'll never know. And if
Michigan hopes to earn a 2611
NCAA Tournament bid, that
incoming class needs to add a
point guard. And even if it does,
the Wolverines just went from a
top-5 contender nationally to a
team that may fight to stay out of
the Big Ten's worst five teams.
Fans - the same ones who let
the basketball program go unno-
ticed for much of the last decade
- didn't like the taste of that.
They took to Twitter to call
Burke names. They took to mes-
sage boards to doubt that he'll
ever make it. They commented
on articles saying that his depar-
ture means that he isn't Michi-
gan material.
Nothing he hasn't heard
before, though. A year ago, the
casual Wolverine fan didn't even
know Burke's name. Two years
ago, he was a barely a Big Ten-
quality prospect, committing to
perennial bottom-feeder Penn
State. And three years ago, one
of the only schools to show him
interest was Ohio - ironically,
the same team that ended his
career at Michigan. Do I think
Burke should leave? No.
With another year under his

belt and the expected improve-
ments that typically accompany
added experience, his chances
of being drafted soar. Some top
draft analysts who project Burke
going undrafted this year label
him as a first-round pick in next
year's draft. No, he won't grow
from this year to next year, but
he won't shrink, either.
But to those trashing Burke, I
ask you this: What does he owe
you? A Big Ten Championship?
He already brought you that, and
almost single handedly at that.
After Darius Morris left follow-
ing last season, many wondered
how successfully John Beilein
could work around a void at
point guard. At even the mere
thought of Smotrycz and Tim
Hardaway Jr. struggling like
they did this season, it would've
been hard to project the Wol-
verines finishing above .500 in
conference play. But instead,
a level-headed Burke carried
Michigan through one of the
toughest schedules in the coun-
try. He led Michigan in nearly
every meaningful stat category,
including blocks - yes, blocks -
and in doing so, the Wolverines
won a conference that was wide-
ly considered the nation's best.
Does he owe you wins in the
future? No.. But what future
point-guard recruit wouldn't
want to play for Beilein, who has
sent point guards to the NBA in
back-to-back years? Yes, Burke
and Morris are both immensely
talented, but both saw mete-
oric rises in their stock in a very
short timeframe. Landing better
recruits typically equals more
wins. But none of that matters,
because Burke doesn't owe you,
me or the University anything
anymore.
The University gave him a
scholarship, which he more than

repaid for by bringing in fans to
fill the seats, retailers selling his
No. 3 jersey and all the addition-
al profits that come along with
a major Division I program that
just won a conference cham-
pionship. But why do we come
to school, anyways? The clich6
answer is for the degree - some-
thing Burke won't attain, at least
in the near future - but last I
checked, no one's end goal in life
is a college degree. We go to col-
lege to earn the degree that will
one day earn us a paycheck.
For more than 99.9 percent of
college students, the paycheck
we want to earn means we'll
need that degree. But not for
Burke. Last year's final draft
selection, Isaiah Thomas, earned
$473,604 this year and is due
for $762,195 next season. Even
top-of-the-class Ross Business
School students wouldn't dream
of entrance-level salaries like
that. And if he goes undrafted
and is forced to test European-
league waters, a six-figure sti-
pend is still headed his way.
It's easy to bash Burke. The
move seems rushed and impul-
sive - exactly the opposite of
the uncanny composure Burke
displayed for a freshman on the
court. But Burke is a good kid,
lacking the ego and immaturity
that too many young athletes
possess these days. Off the court,
he's humble, and genuine. And I
trust his decision incorporated
all of those attributes.
Right or wrong, it doesn't
matter. And if you disagree with
Burke, he still doesn't owe you
anything, because in just a few
months, the team lucky enough
to get Burke will owe him a big
sum of money.
- Wasserman can be
reached at dwass@umich.edu.

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