BY BENJAMIN SZILAGY, Staff Reporter
The Michigan basketball roster changed dramatically on Wednesday when three players opted to leave the program.
Sophomore forwards Evan Smotrycz, Colton Christian, and freshman guard Carlton Brundidge all decided to transfer amidst the wash of Michigan’s early exit from the NCAA tournament.
“We never like to see players leave the program, however, Evan, Colton and Carlton have made the decision to transfer and continue their careers elsewhere,” Michigan coach John Beielin said. “All three are fine young men with bright futures. We wish them and their families nothing but success going forward.”
Smotrycz, the most surprising of the three to leave, played in 69 games for the Wolverines and was a part of the starting five until Beilein replaced him for senior Stu Douglass when Big Ten play began.
Smotrycz averaged 7.0 points (7.7 per game this season) and 3.6 rebounds overall. He proved to be Michigan’s best three-point shooter over the course of the season as well, connecting on 40 of 92 attempts for 43.5 percent, and over was 50 percent on threes in the non-conference campaign before struggling with a shooting slump when the Big Ten schedule hit.
During the second round of the NCAA tournament, the sophomore scored 15 points in the loss to Ohio, going 6-for-7 from the field, including 2-for-2 from three-point range. He also had seven rebounds.
Christian and Brundidge subbed in during 60 combined games in their career, averaging a combined seven minutes per contest. Brundidge scored a career-high three points against Alabama A&M on Dec. 17, while Christian logged a career-best two points in several games.
The question now is, where does Beilein go from here? It begins with some damage control on the recruiting trail, and re-recruiting to stay in Ann Arbor.
Wednesday also revealed that freshman Trey Burke has submitted papers to the NBA about his draft stock for this year’s draft.
Benji Burke, Trey’s father, told The Free Press and TheWolverine.com that if it were up to him, Trey would stay at least one more year in Ann Arbor.
“As of right now, he’s coming back,” Burke said. “I’m speaking for him, but as of right now, he’s coming back. We’re gathering information. In two weeks that maybe will change, I don’t know. But right now he’s coming back. He’s going to class, doing his individual workouts and still in the process of doing everything with the program.”
“Trey received some information from good, reliable sources he can be in the 18 to 24 range in the first round, so he thought it would be good for him to at least get some accurate information and go from there. Any time a 19-year-old hears that, it doesn’t matter who they are, they are interested in that.”
Trey has even reached out to former Michigan point guard Darrius Morris who left Michigan to join the NBA last season.
“It’s exciting, but at the same time, it’s a very delicate process because a lot of thoughts are going through your head and you want to gather the best information you can to make a very important decision.” Morris said in an interview with The Detroit News. “I told him how to go about it and not to listen to everybody, but get honest opinions, which Coach Beilein will do an excellent job of assisting him.”
According to the NCAA, Burke has until April 10 to decide whether or not he will return to Ann Arbor, even though the NBA’s deadline is in late April.
Whether or not Burke returns, Beilein needs help at point guard with Douglass and Brundidge no longer a part of the program. Michigan only has four guards on the roster, five including Burke. However, only Burke and walk-ons Eso Akunne and Josh Bartlestein are considered point guards.