Michigan freshman guard Carlton Brundidge still searching for time as Trey Burke's minutes continue to rise
In Michigan basketball coach John Beilein's world, there's normal freshmen and there's abnormal freshmen.
Wolverine freshman point guard Trey Burke lands in the abnormal category, a player who's played beyond his years early this season as one of No. 20 Michigan's biggest bright spots.
As for Burke's classmate, Carlton Brundidge? He's what Beilein describes as normal. In other words: he's not ready to be a major contributor.
"(Brundidge needs to) just keep practicing and let everything slow down," Beilein said Friday. "It's a process."
Prior to arriving at Michigan this season, Burke and Brundidge held similar ratings from the top national recruiting services.
Rivals.com actually rated Brundidge higher on its list, giving the 6-foot-1, 190-pounder from Southfield a four-star ranking and the No. 106 spot in the Rivals Top 150 list. Burke, meanwhile, was a three-star prospect, tagged as 142nd-best prospect in America.
ESPN.com did the same, giving Brundidge a rating of "94," while Burke came in at "93."
The rankings don't exist anymore, though.
And neither do the comparisons.
Burke has been a fixture in Michigan's starting lineup since the second game of the season, and is currently second on the team in scoring (12.5 points per game), second in minutes (33.0) and first in assists (4.8).
Brundidge, meanwhile, has played in just five games, logging three total points in 15 combined minutes.
Before the season began, Beilein pointed to both Burke and Brundidge as players who could see extended time at point guard this season. Obviously Burke's made the most of that opportunity.
Brundidge? He's still trying to get on the floor.
"He's getting there," Beilein said. "He's progressing, he's making good progress, but the biggest issue with Carlton right now is that he's got two senior combo guards (Stu Douglass and Zack Novak) playing in front of him who really help facilitate our team and get people in the right spots.
"We're hoping he can help us as a backup point, but we just have to have time with him to do that. It's very limited right now, the time we have just to work with him."
As Michigan inches closer to the start of Big Ten play, Burke's minutes continue to rise. He played 38 minutes against Oakland earlier this month before logging 37 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Tuesday.
Beilein has repeatedly maintained that he'd like to find more rest for Burke. In addition, he says Douglass remains the primary backup at point guard, even if he'd prefer the senior shooter to play more off the ball.
But as much as Brundidge could seemingly help Michigan with its lack of ball-handling depth right now, Beilein's not prepared to rush things.
"(When Burke makes) mistakes, we don't have another choice," Beilein said. "With the other freshmen, we do have another choice.
"Carlton's going through the more normal (freshman) process."
Odds and ends
Beilein said freshman forward Sai Tummala has returned to practice after suffering a concussion and an ankle injury earlier this season. The Michigan coaching staff still has plans to redshirt Tummala, though, as is the case with first-year forward Max Bielfeldt. ... Asked how close sophomore forward Colton Christian is to breaking into the rotation, Beilein said, "He's got to be able to perform in games and in practice every day. There will be windows for him, but it's tough to go past an eight- or nine-man rotation."
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