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Burke’s decision to stay inspires team
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On February 21, 2013 @ 10:00 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Benji Burke told his son this could happen. He told his son he’d be part of one of the nation’s best and most exciting basketball teams, on national television all the time. The only thing his son had to do? Return to school.
Trey Burke was conflicted. He talked to his parents. He talked to his coaches. He saw his dream – the NBA – within reach, even though those around him told him another year of college basketball would help his game, help his draft stock and make him a more well-rounded person. But that dream dangled in front of him.
“It’s hard to tell a 19-year-old, ‘One more year and you’ll appreciate it,’ ” Benji said.
Burke called his old high school coach, Satch Sullinger, for advice. Sullinger had just gone through the same decision-making progress a season earlier with his son, Jared, who chose to stay at Ohio State his sophomore year while reporters and fans clamored for him to enter the draft. Jared went in the first round of the 2012 draft to the Boston Celtics.
“I told Trey, ‘Last year, you were new on the scene,’ ” Satch said. “People don’t know if you’re ready. You don’t know either. If you did, you wouldn’t be calling, asking my opinion.’
“I said, ‘You come back and you have another stellar season, and every coach has had all summer to figure out ‘How we’re going to stop Trey Burke’ and when they don’t, then you can tell the next level, ‘I’m ready. I think I’m ready.’ Then you can make your decision about coming back your junior year without calling me.’ “
The end of this chapter is obvious; Burke stayed. But that’s not the end of the story.
Thanks to Burke’s leadership and his national-player-of-the-year numbers – 18.6 points, 6.9 assists and 3.2 rebounds a game – Michigan is having a magical season, the kind the program hasn’t seen since its Fab Five days in the early 1990s. The Wolverines are 22-4 and on pace to earn a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament.
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