Trey Burke's Performance Against Kansas Will Make Him a Top-10 Pick
In my most recent mock draft, I have Trey Burke going 13th to the Dallas Mavericks, but that mock was done before Burke hoisted his team on his back on Friday night, carrying them to the Elite Eight.
Barring something completely unforeseen, you can bet Burke's stock will rise in my next draft prognosticating piece.
Despite trailing by 14 points with less than seven minutes remaining, the Wolverines prevailed 87-85 in overtime, and Burke was the biggest factor.
After that performance, he is a top-10 pick in my mind.
He had already had a stellar season, and he's one of the favorites for the Naismith Award, given to the top college basketball player in the country.
After his 23-point, 10-assist outing against the Jayhawks, there is no way the Orlando Magic, New Orleans Pelicans or the Sacramento Kings can let him get past them in the draft.
All three of those teams could conceivably take a point guard with their top pick, and I'm not sure there is a better prospect at the position—Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State included.
What turned my head to this degree on Friday?
Feel for the Game
In the first half, Burke facilitated the offense, he only took four shots, missing them all. It looked like a poor shooting night for him, but meanwhile he was getting freshman big man Mitch McGary in the game.
Burke fed McGary, kept him involved and his energy around the basket was nearly as big as Burke's individual performance.
But make no mistake, if Burke hadn't got the ball to his big man early, then he wouldn't have been as active and plugged into the game.
In the second half with his team trailing, Burke turned on the scoring. He scored all 23 of his points after halftime, including a monumental 30-footer that sent the game into overtime.
The sophomore completely took over in the extra session. He knocked down another three and a beautiful size-up jumper in the face of Ben McLemore, the man many expect will go No. 1 overall in the draft.
This performance showed Burke's leadership and understanding of the flow of a basketball game. That's a very underrated skill, but it is a quality the stars possess.
Where would you rank Burke amongst the top point guards expected to be in the draft?
Being a player a team can build around is about more than talent, just look at DeMarcus Cousins. Burke showed in the post-game interview that he can conduct himself like a professional when the time comes.
He is a relentless competitor, which was apparent during the amazing comeback, but also in the fact that he mentioned the team still had a lot of work to do.
He talked about taking his head coach John Beilein advice, which would lead you to believe he is receptive to feedback and coachable.
All of these qualities are intangible but still very important if a player is going to maximize their talents.
On Friday, Burke showed he possessed everything a team could want in a top-10 selection.
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