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Posted on Tue, Aug 24, 2010 : 7:05 p.m.

Michigan basketball commit Trey Burke excels in a team setting

By Michael Rothstein

It took Benji Burke an hour to finally call one of Cincinnati’s assistant basketball coaches Tuesday afternoon to break the news. For months, since his son, Trey, had decommitted from Penn State, the Bearcats had been the leader.

But in the past week, Trey Burke’;s thoughts changed. He surveyed the situation. And then the three-star point guard prospect from and made his decision.

He headed to Michigan and committed during a brief conversation with Michigan coach John Beilein while Beilein was with his team overseas in Europe.

“Cincinnati was my always my number one for a long time,” Trey Burke said Tuesday evening. “Once I had lunch with the (Michigan) players and coaches and took a look around campus and thought about what the (school) offered me, it made me weigh my decision out. Life after basketball and the degree and the conference and the need at point guard that they have.

“It dawned on me in the last week that I could see myself playing there.”

Burke, who joins Southfield guard Carlton Brundidge in Michigan's 2011 recruiting class, said Tuesday that a chance to come in and play right away is what pushed him to make a non-binding verbal commitment to Michigan.

The Wolverines will have Darius Morris at point guard but Morris’ current backups, Stu Douglass and Tim Hardaway Jr., play multiple positions and are better suited as off-guards. They also may end up starting for Michigan and could be relied on to be the Wolverines' top two scorers in 2010-11.

Burke is a true point guard who can score -- not a good guard who can also run the point.

“He is a pure point guard on both ends of the floor,” said James ‘Satch’ Sullinger, his high school coach at Northland High School in Columbus, Ohio. “Defensively he’s on point and offensively he’s on point, and he understands what it takes to win. Trey, he’s pretty good.

“This summer he played himself up to the Top 100 in the country.”

Part of what makes Burke a valuable commodity is his ability to play within a team. On his high school team, he was partnered with Sullinger’s son, Jared, the Gatorade Player of the Year and Ohio State’s top recruit. This year, Sullinger said he’ll have two more 6-foot-8 players with Division 1 talent for Burke to mesh with.

That experience helped Burke. While Jared Sullinger may have been Northland’s best player last year, Burke controlled the tempo.

Nowhere was it more evident, Satch Sullinger said, than against No. 1 Findlay Prep. Northland beat Findlay, 53-52. Burke had 10 points and held Texas-bound point guard Cory Joseph, the No. 8 player for 2010, to eight points and two assists.

“Trey is one of those kids where you know exactly what you’re going to get,” said Dave Telep, the national recruiting director for “You’re going to get solid offense, good leadership and a guy that really does covet being part of a team.

“He excels in a team setting.”

At Michigan, where Beilein’s offense and defense are often predicated on being able to work well with others and reading the actions of opponents, it is a valued skill set.

Burke, who averaged 14.5 points, 2.2 rebounds and 7.5 assists at Northland last year according to, will also be surrounded with talented players so he’s used to not having to be the star all the time.

“Trey is very, very crafty,” said Benji Burke, who is also Trey’s AAU coach with All-Ohio. “He’s a point guard that can score the ball. He kind of plays two roles. In high school, he’s more of a typical point guard where he distributes and gets others involved. When he’s needed and leaned on to score, he can.

“He can shoot the ball well for a point guard. He’s tough. He’s a winner.”

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan basketball for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by e-mail at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein



Wed, Aug 25, 2010 : 11:47 a.m.

Very nice recruit for UM. He could be better than MSU's point guard recruit, Travis Trice.

bob morant

Tue, Aug 24, 2010 : 10:31 p.m.

Congrats U of M and Congrats Trey Burke... This kid can flatout play. I've watched him closely for years and as a Michigan Fan I am jacked that he will be joining a great class of high skill level recruits... Let's go Williams/Pointer (either one) and join this class!!!!

Jake Church

Tue, Aug 24, 2010 : 8:40 p.m.

Sounds like a good pickup, go blue!