BY BEN SZILAGY, Staff Writer
A little over a year ago, Trey Burke had a big decision to make: Stay committed to Penn State, or play ball at Michigan. But, after his freshman season, Trey has been mulling over a new choice: stay at Michigan, or enter the NBA Draft.
Luckily for Michigan fans, Burke has once again chosen Michigan.
“I have so much more to develop as both a student and athlete, and there is no better place to do that than here at Michigan.” Burke said in a statement. “I love my Michigan family and am really excited about playing with my teammates and our incoming freshmen.”
According to NCAA rules, a player must decide if he will enter his name into the NBA draft by April 10, which meant Burke had to be very diligent with his thought process. As the deadline approached, reports surfaced that Burke was leaning towards the NBA, even though he never had “both feet out the door.”
“We laid out the pros and cons for me to leave and laid out the pros and cons for me to come back,” Burke said. “At the end of the decision I felt like it was in my best interest and the team’s best interest for me to come back for my sophomore year and compete for a national championship.”
Burke also reached out to various outlets for guidance, including his high school coach Satch and childhood friend Jared Sullinger, who announced he would go to the draft last Tuesday.
“Both of them pretty much said the same thing: they were going to support me either way I went,” Burke said. “Coach Sullinger was honest with me and he told me that he thinks I should stay another year because I can develop more.”
Most NBA draft experts projected Burke to go in the second round, even though, according to Trey’s father Benji, other reports put him as high as 18 in the first round.
Burke said returning to Michigan will help the Wolverines have a chance to play for championships, something Burke considered “unfinished business.”
“I saw how bright the future was for this team if I were to come back,” Burke said. “[I saw] how close we were this year to conquering our goals, but with the three freshmen coming in, I see the future for us is that much brighter.”
Michigan coach John Beilein has no idea if this was the best decision for Trey, but said “it was a great decision for Michigan.”
“We loved coaching Trey this season,” said Beilein. “It is very unusual to have a freshman point guard play with such poise and confidence all year long. He is a clutch performer with a great work ethic and a brilliant future in front of him..As our team leadership changes hands, I know Trey will join the other returning players as we strive to be the leaders and best in all we do.”
With the drama aside, the Wolverines can now refocus on next season and on defending their regular season Big Ten Championship, and possibly even a Final Four run.