Scouting Michigan basketball commit Trey Burke as Northland played Brookhaven
Trey Burke walked out of the Northland High School locker room, onto the court he had just played and was almost engulfed by well-wishers and a camera crew following the senior point guard.
He had just scored his 1,000th point — the same night the Big Ten Network was there to film something about his coach, Satch Sullinger, and his close friend, Jared Sullinger — so the Michigan basketball commit became an interesting storyline within the story.
Yet after the game, Burke said it wasn't his best in a 70-35 win over Brookhaven.
"I struggled a lot. I feel like I kind of forced my shot," Burke said. "They pulled out a triangle-and-two on me, that's what they did last time. Great game plan, but I feel like I kind of forced it, forced my shots.
"But we got the W, still felt like I had a good game."
After watching Burke play, here are my thoughts about his game. Video of portions of Friday night's game follow the jump.
- Burke was the clear leader of Northland's team. He was announced as the point guard, called every team huddle when he was out on the floor and, even though he didn't have the ball in his hands as much as expected (more on that later), was in control of the offense.
- He picked up two fouls early — with Michigan coach John Beilein in the stands he probably was having memories of his own team this year — but Sullinger left him in the game and he played with poise and under control while in foul trouble. By the second half, his foul trouble disappeared despite playing with two fouls the majority of the first two quarters. Of course, he also had former Ohio State player J.J. Sullinger yelling at him from the stands, "No more fouls, Trey. No fouls."
- Burke didn't score in the first half from my recollection — most of that due to the aforementioned triangle-and-two defense that Brookhaven used in its first meeting to neutralize him.
- He's a legitimate 6-foot-1 and his arms are more defined than I thought they'd be for a high school kid. He had extremely good vertical ability and was good at boxing out taller players for rebounds.
- Burke's handles are extremely quick. While he may not have been the best player on the floor Friday —6-foot-8 junior forward Devon Scott stood out more perhaps because of the triangle-and-two — he was the quickest and the most athletic. His crossover was paralyzing to defenders and he had a good spin move.
- Burke did not bring the ball up as often as I thought he would. This could be due to the defense Brookhaven was playing along with trying to get Burke open through cutting and screens.
- When he did start scoring, he showed an explosive ability to get to the rim when needed and had a compact, fluid 3-point shot. No real hitches, and every shot he took was on line. His pull-up jumper, which clinched his 1,000th point, was also stop-on-a-dime impressive. He will be an offensive weapon at Michigan next year.
- Someone on Twitter asked who Burke compares to. That's tough to say because I probably saw an off night, but on a pure skill level comparison, I think he has the potential to be somewhat like a Talor Battle from Penn State. He has that kind of speed and explosiveness. Don't know if his shot is there, and he obviously has a long way to go to get to Battle's level, but I see the resemblance.
A couple notes on other players:
- Scott, who has interest from Ohio State and West Virginia among others, is going to be a major Division I basketball player. His jumping ability, length, arms and interior play was similar, to me, of Carleton Scott from Notre Dame. No idea if he can shoot like Scott, but considering he's one of the better players in the Big East, that's a strong comparison.
- Caught part of the junior varsity game and Shakur Sims Jr. — at least if the roster is correct — on Northland could be a player. He's 6-foot-4 as a freshman, had good footwork inside to go along with big feet, which makes me think he'll grow a few more inches. For a young kid, he had good rebounding instincts and solid post moves against kids his height or a little bit taller. Not a great defender, but again, he's a freshman. Could be a name to look out for in the future (not necessarily for Michigan, but in general).
RAW VIDEO OF PORTIONS OF BURKE'S GAME (NO. 3 IN WHITE. For those curious, Devon Scott was No. 40 in white)