6 - Tuesday, March 19, 2013
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
6 - Tuesday, March 19, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom
From Page 8
XA ad turnover by Trey makes the group groan
andlook down at their food, even with Michi-
an holding a comfortable 10-point lead.
Benji starts to say something about the play but
stops midway through the word "can't." Instead of
finishing the thought, he claps his hands and drowns
the criticism with a sip of water.
Before Trey started his Michigan career, his rela-
tionship with Benji felt more like a coach and a player.
They were close in physical proximitybutdidn'thave
a deep relationship.
Brian Snow, a recruiting analyst for Scout.com,
still remembers shouting matches between the two
during games, Trey on the court and Benji on the
bench. Sometimes Trey wouldn't even speak to his
father after games..
He could've played the best game of his AAU
career, and Benji still would've had something to pick
apart. Praise only came when Benji was talking to
other people. Trey never heard any of it.
"When it was just me and him talking, he was so
- I don't want to say negative - but he had so much
constructive criticism towards me," Trey said. "He
would always tell me what I needed to work on or
what I didn't do right. It was always something."
In the summer before his senior year, Trey vis-
ited Michigan three times before committing, even
though his mind was pretty much set on Cincinnati.
But Benji pushed for Ann Arbor, painting a picture
in the weeks before Trey made his decision. The kid
was 17 years old and didn't see the things his dad did
The two walked around Ann Arbor, talking about
the education, the opportunity to play right away and
the $23-million projectto renovate the Crisler Center.
Benji wanted Trey at Michigan, but he knew his
son wouldn't take strong advice from his old coach.
He let Trey come to his own conclusions, not trying
to convince him of anything.
Trey had to see Benji as his dad, and Benji had to
learn that he wanted tobe a father that coached, not a
coach that's also a father.
"We're way closer now," Trey said. "We used to be
close because we were around each other every sin-
gle day, but we didn't have the relationship we need-
ed to have away from the court. I felt like there was
certain things I couldn't talk to him about because he
was a coach and a dad.
"It was hurting our relationship off the court. Life
isn't just about basketball."
Benji and Ronda picked Trey up in April 2012,
his dorm room already almost packed, trash
bags full of clothes on the floor. Michigan
coach John Beilein and the staff had decided to give
him a weekend off to go home and relax. It took his
parents less than 20 minutes to start talking about
the year ahead and the hardest decision he would
ever have to make.
Earlier that week, Jeff Goodman, a senior college
basketball writer for CBS Sports, reported that Trey
was expected to leave Michigan for the NBA. It was
assumed he was gone, a one-year flash of maize and
blue, albeit a flash with one of the best freshman sea-
sons at Michigan in recent memory.
Trey, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, slumped
down in the back seat of his parents' car and talked
about the future, just needing to go home. He had
AUAMG LANZMAN/Daly TER RA MOLENGKAFF/Ualy
Sophomore point guard Trey Burke was the only player inthe Big Ten this year to score 15 points in every conference game.
been ranked no higher than the nation's 15th-best mature and get stronger. He's done all that and he's
point guard by any major college scouting service in clearly to me been thebest point guard in the country
high school - and now he was popping up on NBA and probably the best player in the country."
Draft boards. Back in Columbus, Trey got to see friends and
"As a senior in high school, you thought he was family he hadn'tseen in a while. He got to sleep in his
going to be a big-time player," Snow said. "With that own room, the room that has his Ohio Mr. Basketball
being said, I never saw himbeing this until he actual- award hanging up on the wall. He finally got to play
ly became it. If you would have told me he was going basketball with O.J. and the rest of the crew, who of
to be a potential lottery pick and the bestplayer in the course brought him back down to earth, ribbing him
Big Ten, I would have laughed in your face." the entire time.
Trey had already told a Michigan trainer that he And back in his living room with a corner full of
was comingback to school but didn't know if he even trophies, he got to watch basketball with his dad
believed himself. He was sick of deciding, worn out, away from the noise surrounding his decision. It
his mind having been made up in each direction so wasn't a coach and his player getting home from bas-
many times with the help of so many voices. ketball practice anymore - it was a father and son
Trey, the hyper-competitor, thought that he could watching the game that pulled them apart, only to
work himself into the first round, and that the scouts eventuallybring them closer.
who projected him in the second round were prob- Ultimately, Trey had to listen to Benji again.
ably the same people that had ranked him low com-
ing out of high school. nthony Rhodman - Trey's former trainer -
Trey knew what he was capable of, even if the NBA sits across the table from Benji in a Yankees
didn't. ap worn low, checking his phone every cou-
But again, he had to listen to Benji, who had been ple minutes while watchingthe kid he's been training
telling him all year that he needed to go back to since high school up on the screen.
school, for at least another year or two. With 11 minutes left in the contest, Trey assists on
"This isn't a kid with Russell Westbrook athleti- a dunk to give Michigan a 15-point lead. Even on the
ricm -A - """nrla cm "P n A--'- - + Atw n a arfnralahala aanttwrttam in~- +t"--- + R-+ o rT--
seems to have relaxed the bar.
Rhodman has had Benji's ear the whole game, the
one guy who can break the stare from the table to the
TV. As he did in high school, Rhodman trained with
Trey lastsummer. He's the man tasked with channel-
ing that tireless work ethic into something produc-
Rhodman had to focus the energy of the kid who
was relegated to watching his dad and his friends
play on the courts without him, but worked on drib-
bling with his off hand instead of pouting.
"I told myself, 'Man, if you are coming back to
school, you can't have any regrets,' "Trey said. "'You
have to go at it two, three times harderthan you went
after it last year."'
Teammate Corey Person, a fifth-year senior guard
and the old man of the squad, said that Trey "was
going crazy working out over the summer," visiting
the gym at least two-to-three times a day.
"I thinksome of the best players in the country are
the guys who weren't ranked high and people didn't
kiss their butts when they were younger and coming
up," Goodman said. "They had to work for every-
thing, and that gives you a mentality a lot of these
other guys don't have."
Trey's sophomore year has gone about as well as
it could go. He was named the Big Ten Player of the
Year - the first Wolverine to win that award in 24
years - and is on the short list for several Player of
the Year Awards.
"This second year has helped me so much," Trey
said. "It allowed me to grow up. Last year, Iwas look-
ing to go to the NBA just because I was so shocked.
I actually had the chance to go to the NBA - that's
been my dream since I was young.
"I think that was just so thrilling to me, just that I
had the chance to go. I tested it out, but comingback
this year has helped me to grow so much."
Averaging more than 19 points and almost seven
assists a game, Trey was .2 assists per game away
from joining Magic Johnson in that 17-and-7 club. He
scored at least 15 points in every Big Ten game this
season and led the nation with a stellar 3.5 assist-
to-turnover ratio. From last season to this one, Trey
improved both his field-goal and 3-point percentages
by more than .5 percentage points.
The men at the bar groan when backup point
guard Spike Albrecht enters the game, because Trey
is effectively the only Wolverine who can drive and
get into the paint.
Michigan's offense runs through Trey's ability to
create for everyone else on the floor, and when he
isn't in the game or isn't playing his best basketball,
point production stalls.
"If we have a point guard in the future that does
80 percent of what he does, we'll always have a good
team," Beilein said. "You need to have a young man
that really sees the game at the pace he does. To doit
like he does is exceptional."
Burke is a potential first-round NBA draft pick if he decides to forego his final two years at Michigan.
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Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis
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The lead has disappeared, and the bar is get-
ting nervous. With five minutes left in a
now-tied game, Benji stands up to watch. He
won't sit back down until the game is over, until he
has walked over to the side of the bar, away from the
group, to call Ronda and talk about Michigan's 84-78
loss to the Nittany Lions.
As the game winds down, Benji starts acting out
plays and maneuvers, using barstools and his friends
as imaginary defenders.
With the Wolverines down three, Trey makes two
free throws to get Michigan to within one. Those
would be Michigan's last points of
the night, and Trey walks to the
locker room as the Penn State stu-
dents rush the court.
5 After the game ends, the guys
stick around for a couple of minutes
9gmail.com to talk abouthow Michigan's chanc-
es at a Big Ten title are shot.
After calling Ronda, Benji sits
back down and takes out his phone,
BDRM. Full 2013
t include heat& wasearching his son's name onr Twitter
where avail. cappo every couple minutes while shaking
734-996-1991. his head. It was one of Trey's worst
games of the season - he finished
AGEMENT, INC. with 18 points, but also a season-
nato visit high six turnovers.
ts for a wide selec- Benji refreshes the page, shakes
and houses. We spe- hishead and mutters, "People forget
nd apartments very he's just a sophomore. He's going to
opus. All are attrac-
st include parking, have had games."
d and some include It took the men at the bar less
s for details. Com- than six minutes of game action to
all 2013 available start arguing over his NBA Draft
sultant, Pata tustock. Some think he's a lottery pick,
3-4101. others say he'll fall to the end of the
first round. It's almost a foregone
* ~ conclusion that Trey will leave for
emi1~ the NBA after thisseason.
-- J Goodman thinks he could be
a top-10 point guard in the NBA,
while all Snow could say was, "I
can't really tell you how he's going
to do in the NBA. What I can say
is that I've learned to never doubt
Soon, Benji will call Trey, who is
Y in MARCH" sitting on the runway headed back
i 3-30-13, to Ann Arbor, and none of that will
day for What matters is that Benji will
LOUS tell Treythat he needs to fighthard-
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u get a looked fluid. Trey had an excuse
Apartment! ready, but didn't say anything. He
held his tongue, knowing his father,
Over once coach, was right.
Per Year The two have the same facial
mannerisms when tryingto explain
gm's start at something - their right eyes squint
0.00 while the left stays the same, and
)VER $1,500 both motion with their hands to
BED!!! push the conversation along.
Leaving the bar, Benji's right eye
us at will squint as he explains to Trey
wers-mi.Com that even though it's by farthe worst
loss of the season, there are still
r, Ave.8160 games to play. There was a time for
,Ml 48160 criticism, but now he's just a father
1-2680 tryingto build up his son.
At this point, maybe that's all the
critique Trey Burke needs.
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