We profiled Michigan point guard Trey Burke in Dime #65 because we thought the rising freshman might be the real deal. After leading the Wolverines in points (14.8) and assists (4.6) for the season, our suspicions were confirmed. With Burke passing up a chance at the NBA to return for his sophomore season in Ann Arbor, we caught up with the standout point guard to talk about his decision to stay in school, freshman hazing and Michigan’s first round tournament loss to No. 13 Ohio.
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Dime: Why did you decide to stay at Michigan and pass up the chance play in the league?
Trey Burke: Well I just felt like it was the right decision for me to make. After talking it over with my family, the coaching staff, we kind of pretty much just broke down the pros and cons of leaving and staying, and I felt like the right decision was to stay. With the recruits we have coming in, with the players that we have coming back, we have a great chance of being a Final Four, if not a National Championship team.
Dime: Some projections had you going in the first round of the draft. What part did that play in drawing you towards the NBA?
TB: Well yeah, definitely. Where I’m positioned in this year’s draft, compared to where I can potentially be in next year’s draft, I felt like it was better for me to come back and improve, get stronger, and make a bigger run in the NCAA Tournament. Losing in the first game was tough. Obviously it was a big bust for me because I didn’t have the type of exposure that I could have been getting since I wasn’t playing. Next year will give me another chance to show what I have.
Dime: Do you plan on leaving school for the NBA if you have another good year next season?
TB: If I have a great season, and we go far, I probably will lean towards coming out. I can’t really speak on that right now, it’s too early. But I definitely will look into it and my coaches will help me look into it because they understand the type of situation I’m in.
Dime: What did your parents say throughout this process?
TB: Just making sure I was a first round pick. They were afraid that I wouldn’t be a first round pick and that’s kind of hard, to go into the NBA as a second round pick and make a big impact right away. They just felt like it was safer for me to come back and get another year of education.
Dime: Whom did you consult specifically within the NBA to find out where you might get picked in this year’s draft?
TB: The coaches and I, we had talked to the NBA Advisory Committee. I’m not really allowed to say much about what they had to say. But besides them, Coach Beilein had got some information from a couple GMs, I personally know Jordan Dumars and Joe Dumars â€“ I had talked to him a couple of times.
Dime: What did you think of what the media and fans were saying about whether you should stay or go?
TB: Sometimes I was looking at that stuff, but it’s just a lot of negativity. So I just tried to stay away from the social networking and Internet blogs and worry about more important things.
Dime: Let’s talk a little bit about this past season. Before the season started, you told me you would average 17 points and 10 assists per game. Obviously you came up a little short with 14.8 and 4.6, but those numbers aren’t too shabby. How do you think you played?
TB: I still think I played pretty well this year (laughs). I was obviously disappointed in our last loss. I feel like I could’ve done more for the team. With this being my first year, I wasn’t already comfortable yet out there, I didn’t really know what to expect a lot of the time with road games and things like that.
Dime: When you found out the seeding for the tournament on Selection Sunday, what was the team’s mindset? Confident? Happy with your opponent?
TB: We pretty much were ready for whatever. We were happy that we had Ohio â€“ well, I was because I know a lot of players on the team. I played with a few of them in Ohio, so I knew it was going to be a fun experience and a good game.