Trey Burke named Michigan basketball team's most valuable player
Chris Asadian | AnnArbor.com
It's been quite a week for Trey Burke.
One day after announcing his intentions to return to the Michigan basketball program for his sophomore season, the 5-foot-11 point guard became just the eighth freshman in school history to be earn the Bill Buntin Most Valuable Player Award.
"I want to thank the Maize Rage, my teammates and most importantly, God," Burke said Tuesday during the team banquet in front of nearly 600 supporters at the William Davidson Player Development Center.
The co-Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Burke paced the Wolverines with 14.8 points per game and his 156 assists set the school's rookie record.
Burke is the first freshman to earn the team's most valuable player award since Manny Harris took home the honor in 2008. He joins a list that includes Jalen Rose, Chris Webber, LaVell Blanchard, Kevin Gaines, Bernard Robinson Jr. and Daniel Horton.Shortly after the announcement, Burke received a standing ovation from the crowd, led by current teammate Tim Hardaway Jr.
"I noticed that Tim was the first person to his feet (after the announcement)," said Burke, who also won the Gary Grant Award for most assists. "That meant a lot, I learned a lot from you this year and I learned a lot from all the seniors.
"This is a blessing. Thank you, we're going to have a great year next year. Go Blue."
Burke took home the most coveted award of the evening, but Michigan senior co-captain Zack Novak left with a heftier haul of hardware.
The three-time captain took home a team-high six awards, including the Steve Grote Hustle Award, the Bodnar Award for Academic Achievement, the Award for Outstanding Free Throw Shooting, the Iron Man Award and the Charge Award.
Novak also shared the Thad Garner Leadership Award with fellow captain and senior Stu Douglass.
"My story's been written (plenty) by now, no one would give me a chance," said Novak, who became the school's all-time awards leader with 17 career awards. "But coach (John) Beilein, he gave me a chance.
"I'll be forever grateful and it changed my life. To be able to come to the University of Michigan, meet the people I've met and play the basketball I have, it's been absolutely astonishing."
Douglass, meanwhile, took home the Rudy Tomjanovich Most Improved Player Award, the Wayman Britt Outstanding Defensive Player Award and the Travis Conlan Sportsmanship Award.
Jordan Morgan won the Loy Vaught Rebounding Award, while Matt Vogrich took home the Sixth Man Award.
The evening concluded with a video recapping Michigan's 2011-12 season. The feature ran through the entire season, highlighting both the ups and downs of the Wolverines' 24-10 campaign, including a season-ending loss to Ohio in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The closing image perhaps captured the spirit of the night. The film closed with a look at a 2012 Big Ten Championship banner hanging in the rafters of the Crisler Center.
It's Michigan's first regular-season conference crown since 1986.
"You win, and you build a legacy," Douglass said. "We didn't have (all the) success we wanted, but the respect we've seen from fans and even opposing fans sometimes, it'll definitely resonate with us for a long time."
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