In two short years, Trey Burke left his clear mark on Michigan and Big Ten basketball. Maize fans were very happy when Trey committed to Michigan, but as a collective group, frankly never expected Trey’s progress to accelerate to the point whereby he would garner every major player of the year award and lead Michigan to the championship game as a sophomore. Most expected a very solid freshman year and an improvement over the rest of his collegiate career. Michigan fans were still lamenting the early draft loss of Darius Morris to the Lakers.
GBMWolverine expected Burke to surpass Morris as a freshman and he did. Morris had as a major strength his size. Burke was superior in court speed, finishing at the rim, running an offense and outside shooting. Burke’s freshman year showed clear signs that greatness may be just around the corner. Bellein’s plan and Burke’s summer work and focus found the corner post haste.
Thought to be small, but quick, Burke ended up a perfect fit at Michigan within Beilein’s offensive options. He really is a player that cannot be described as having one, dominant strength. Burke’s strength is in collective traits important to basketball success. He is motivated, very coachable, has a will to win, is superior in quick first moves, and can beat an opponent inside, outside, and on the pass. It is important to note that Trey is very capable of leadership and probably thrives on taking on this role.
His size probably scares some scouts, but he is reasonably strong for 6’1.” Burke is stated by some “draft experts” to not be an elite athlete and one that lacks high-level speed. But somehow he beat good opponents in one manner or another time after time. His defense is not superior. Burke is very adept at steals and at times can hang with bigger players that isolate on him. But at the next level this could be a problem. Watch film and an observer will notice that Burke frequently chases the ball and is late to the spot. This may not be as bad as it looks on the surface as Michigan’s entire team ends up chasing the ball. As with all college players, some adapt to 82 tough games and some do not.
At the next level his ability to penetrate and make good decisions will probably be his best tool for success. If Burke lands on a team that wants to run, he can do that for at least 25 minutes a game with little difficulty.
What type of player will Burke will be? This will be determined by who drafts him. If he is turned loose and gets out and runs, Burke will be an exciting and successful player. If Burke is drafted by a team with a very tight and structured offense that reigns him in and does not use his natural strengths, he may not fit in as well or as quickly.
Burke would only be an immediate contributor if he lands on a team that is down on point guard talent. The more likely scenario is Trey will be inserted in situations when the coach wants to go up-tempo. He is a fast learner and his learning curve is short, so in the right conditions he could play significant minutes.
There is plenty of talk about stock down for Trey Burke as the draft nears, based on the perceptions that get floated in the press. Many times that is smoke sent by teams and not real. He will probably go below the two big guards, McLemore and Oladipo. The ultra-athletic Oladipo can put on a show but his outside shooting has been called into question. Some even label him a possible project, but so was Rondo with the Celtics. McLemore is probably the safest choice.
Burke will be at the top for teams that consider intangibles as well as size and athleticism.