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Posted on Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 3:16 p.m.

ESPN rates Michigan basketball PG Trey Burke as the fourth-most indispensable player in America

By Nick Baumgardner


ESPN rates Trey Burke as one of the most indispensable players in the country.

Angela J. Cesere |

If Trey Burke had opted to turn pro last April, words might not have been able to express how dire the Michigan basketball team's situation could have been in 2012-13.

Actually, words like nightmare, disaster and catastrophe come to mind.

All of that was obviously avoided, though, as Burke announced his decision to return to Ann Arbor for his sophomore season. A major sigh of relief for all Wolverine fans, and for good reason, too.

As it seems Burke is likely the one player John Beilein's club cannot live without -- at least according to's Myron Medcalf.

"When Burke (14.8 ppg, 4.6 apg) announced his return to the Wolverines, he turned the program into a national title contender," wrote Medcalf, who rated Burke as the fourth-most indispensable player in America. "Glenn Robinson and Mitch McGary anchor one of the Big Ten’s top recruiting classes. Tim Hardaway Jr. is back, too. But Burke is the nucleus. He’s the guy that can elevate the Wolverines throughout the regular season and in March, when it will matter most."

Burke didn't do everything for Michigan last season, but he often came close.

He led the team in scoring, set the school record for assists in a season by a freshman, logged the second-highest minute total (1,227) of any player in program history and even led the team in blocked shots.

Yes, the 5-foot-11 Burke, led the Wolverines in blocked shots with 13.

When Burke was on, Michigan was rolling. And when he was off, the Wolverines were likely drowning.

The latter was proven completely true during a a double-digit loss at Iowa, when Burke sat out most of the first half in foul trouble, and again during an embarrassing Big Ten Tournament loss to Ohio State when Burke went 1-for-11 with eight turnovers.

Michigan will hope to avoid more instances like the Iowa and Ohio State defeats next season, and if it can, Medcalf believes great things are in store for the Wolverines.

"(Burke) was one of the top freshmen in the country last season," he wrote. "Next season, he’ll be the most essential player for a Wolverines team that could win the Big Ten and possibly reach (the Final Four in) Atlanta."

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan basketball for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.

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Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 2:12 p.m.

care to speculate on next seasons starting lineup?