Michigan Basketball: Who Should Stay and Who Should Head to NBA?
Three of the Michigan basketball program's top players are projected to be lottery picks in this year's NBA draft, while another is expected to be taken before the end of the second round.
Trey Burke, Glenn Robinson III, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Mitch McGary will all have to decide whether or not they are better off returning to Ann Arbor, or bolting to start a career at the professional level. None of the decisions will be easy.
One of the aforementioned four players is almost guaranteed not to don the Michigan jersey again, but the other three could certainly benefit from another year with head coach John Beilein.
Trey Burke, Point Guard
As much as the Maize and Blue faithful would love to see sophomore point guard Trey Burke back with the Michigan Wolverines for the 2013-14 season, there is no reason for him to return.
ESPN's NBA Insider Chad Ford has Burke listed as the No. 7 overall prospect for this year's draft, which would put him in the lottery. Aside from his draft positioning and ratings, Burke has already accomplished just about everything he can at the college level.
Burke won the Oscar Robertson, Wooden, Naismith and Associated Press player of the year awards this season. Additionally, Burke was a consensus first team All-American and the Big Ten Conference Player of the Year.
The main reason teams will have a tough time passing on Burke in the draft is because of his ability to score the basketball. Burke averaged 18.6 points per game on 46 percent shooting.
Court vision and transition play are two of Burke's greatest assets as well. The 6'1", 175-pounder attacks the basket and finds open shooters on the perimeter, which allowed Burke to rack up 6.7 assists for the Wolverines this year.
Winning is what Burke is all about, though. Burke scored eight of Michigan's final 10 points in the final 1:16 to will it to a Sweet 16 upset of the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks. A game-tying three-pointer from beyond the NBA arc was the pinnacle of Burke's heroics with the Wolverines.
Whichever team opts to take Burke in this year's draft will be getting a driven and talented point guard.
Tim Hardaway Jr., Shooting Guard
If anyone else needed evidence as to why junior shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. could use another year with the Michigan Wolverines, Monday night's national title game provided it.
The Louisville Cardinals' pressure defense exposed Hardaway's average ability to handle the basketball. After two turnovers in the opening half, Hardaway struggled with the aspect of his game NBA scouts have been most impressed with. Knocking down shots.
Hardaway shot a career-high 43.7 percent this season, but failed to reach that mark in Michigan's last four NCAA tournament games, including a 5-of-13 effort against Louisville.
Streaky jump shooters are not exactly hot commodities in the NBA. For this reason, Chad Ford views Hardaway as a second-round pick.
Falling in love with the three ball is also a bad habit of Hardaway's. The Miami, Fla. native has outstanding leaping abilities, which make Hardaway tough to guard when he pulls up from mid-range, or drives to the basket. More often than not, though, Hardaway settles for difficult three-pointers.
Expect Hardaway to give the draft serious consideration, however, he should return to work on creating more shots on his own, improve his ball handling skills and become a more consistent shooter.
Glenn Robinson III, Small Forward
Freshman small forward Glenn Robinson III has plenty of physical tools to have a lengthy NBA career, but one more year under head coach John Beilein would further develop those abilities.
Robinson will be one of the best leapers in whatever draft class he decides to join. Length and basketball IQ are two of Robinson's most prized traits as well, according to Chad Ford.
There are two areas of Robinson's game with room for improvement, though. Consistency and shooting will be what Beilein and his staff focus on developing, if Robinson elects to return to Ann Arbor.
Far too many times this season, Robinson simply stood in the corner while the Michigan Wolverines ran their offense. Aggressiveness was not an issue for Robinson in the NCAA tournament, however. The 6'6", 210-pounder grabbed 16 offensive rebounds during Michigan's Final Four run.
One of the most deceiving things about Robinson's game is his field goal percentage. In his first season with Michigan, the potential lottery pick shot 57.2 percent from the field. Most of that can be attributed to Robinson throwing down alley-oops and tipping in missed shots.
If Robinson develops a more consistent jump shot, especially from beyond the arc, he has the potential to be a No. 1-overall pick in next year's draft.
It will be hard criticize Robinson for leaving given Ford's latest projection, but one more year of college basketball would serve him well.
Mitch McGary, Power Forward
Perhaps none of the Michigan Wolverines will have a tougher decision to make than freshman big man Mitch McGary.
Nobody made a bigger move up NBA draft boards by the end of the NCAA tournament than McGary. The 6'10", 250-pounder has gone from being a second-round prospect to the No. 12 pick in Chad Ford's first mock draft.
There is plenty to like about McGary, which college basketball fans across the country finally found out over the past three weeks. McGary made 40-of-59 field goal attempts and averaged 14.3 points per game during the Big Dance. Reeling in 10.7 rebounds per contest helped boost McGary's stock, too.
Countless hustle plays have allowed NBA scouts to see McGary's motor. A quality mid-range jump shot is also a strength of McGary's.
McGary, who will turn 21 in June, is a high-ceiling prospect for NBA teams in search of a big man, because of his passing and ability to run the floor.
The one thing McGary is lacking, however, is a post game. Another year at Michigan would help McGary become a dominant force in the post, as opposed to just being a high energy big man with an average jump shot.