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Burke, Hardaway Jr. form top backcourt
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On February 21, 2013 @ 9:00 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — When Trey Burke was in high school, he once asked his coach to take one of his friends, a teammate, out of the game; the friend wasn’t playing hard enough for Burke. Earlier this season, Burke showed up to a team media availability annoyed that he’d just lost to freshman Caris LeVert one-on-one. He left the room to take care of unfinished business. He beat LeVert in round two.
Tim Hardaway Jr. grew up a self-proclaimed perfectionist, wanting to be the best at everything he did and getting frustrated when he wasn’t, whether it was jumping the highest into swimming pool or riding his bike the fastest. His dad, a five-time NBA All-Star, said he never let him win when they played, making the sting of losing last longer.
But their similarly intense competitiveness is by far their most common trait. In reality, Michigan’s success in men’s basketball is the result of an unlikely combination of chemistry. Mix the two together, and you get a national championship contender — or least that’s what the Wolverines are hoping for from Hardaway Jr. and Burke, the best backcourt in the nation.
“Tim’s fire, and Trey’s ice,” Michigan assistant coach Jeff Meyer said. “Different personalities … but they have great passion for the game of basketball but they also have what I think is really special — a drive to win, a will to win, that you don’t see in all the kids you recruit.”
Plenty of college basketball stars are cloaked in the category of competitive, but this Wolverine coaching staff believes it has something special in these two players — one who is calm, quiet and poised, one who gets who fired up easily, but neither of whom ever take a drill off for fear of losing.
Meyer likes to tell Michigan coach John Beilein they “caught lightning in a bottle” with Burke and Hardaway. These kinds of players — overlooked during their high school years, underrated by recruiting services and addicted to winning — don’t normally fall into your lap and blossom into all-Big Ten-caliber stars.
“People didn’t really expect anything … [For more on Fire and Ice: Michigan duo of Burke, Hardaway Jr. form top backcourt, click here.]
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