Trey Burke ignited the crowds this year with his poise in the clutch and an uncanny ability to finish around the hoop. This netted him a plethora of accolades, culminated Monday when he received All-American Honorable Mention to accompany Big Ten Freshman of the Year, All-Big Ten second team and a unanimous selection to the Big Ten all-freshman team.
And why should he not receive such recognition? As a freshman, the 5'11" Burke posted a 14.8 points, 4.6 assists, 3.5 rebounds per game state line, while shooting 43 percent from the field and 35 percent from long-range, against an excellent conference this year that sent six teams to the big dance and one to the final final four.
Trey Burke needs to stop listening to the money-hungry bees buzzing in his ear and take a step back to analyze the situation. Sure, the NBA offers riches galore for lottery picks and established stars. Even role players eventually get paid if they can find a suitable role and prolong their careers. The players who do not do well are those that leave too early, get drafted in the late first or second rounds before they are ready and never receive a chance to prove themselves. Also, consider this: second-round picks do not receive guaranteed dough.
I am all for jumping to the draft for several reasons: the tutelage of seasoned NBA coaches and players, the opportunity for money now and the chance that you may get hurt next year. But none of these are legitimate factors when it comes to Trey Burke. Wait a year, Mr. Burke (or two, depending on how next year pans out). You have so much more to gain for several reasons.
First, you're not ready. Look at your predecessor, Darius Morris. He was riding the pine for the Lakers, playing minimal minutes, until recently when he was shipped to the D-Leagues because they no longer had a roster spot for him. The Lakers started wash-up Steve Blake over him and then went out of their way to trade for Ramon Sessions because Morris wasn't ready either.
Second, look at the team you will have next year: a solid returning squad, losing only Novak and Douglass as real contributors, gaining an incredible incoming class with three four-star recruits in Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas, as well as taking an overachieving 24-9 record to the next echelon of college basketball that U of M hasn't seen since the Fab Five.
One more glorious season to make a run, pad the stats and mature as a player will help Burke and his draft stock by leaps and bounds in next year's NBA draft. This year's is already so stacked with the likes of Davis, Barnes, etc., that a player like Burke will be lucky not to slide to the second round.
Burke needs to stick around, just one more year, and see what this team can finally do, otherwise an unfortunate run in the D-Leagues may be his fate.
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