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Posted on Mon, Apr 9, 2012 : 5:56 p.m.

Trey Burke was close to leaving Michigan, returned to compete for a national title

By Nick Baumgardner


Michigan freshman Trey Burke announced that he will be staying at Michigan for his sophomore year during a press conference at the Crisler Center on Monday.

Melanie Maxwell I

Trey Burke came close to ending his Michigan basketball career.

But the freshman point guard sensation never put both feet out the door, and now, his goal is clear.

He intends to fight for a national championship.

“I just felt like I could develop more, and me coming back to this team next year, we have a great shot to compete for another Big Ten championship and to compete for a national championship,” Burke said hours after announcing his intention to return to Michigan for his sophomore season. “I feel like we have unfinished business.”

Burke met with reporters Monday afternoon at the William Davidson Player Development Center to discuss his decision not to enter the NBA draft.

Flanked by Wolverines' coach John Beilein, and joined by teammates Tim Hardaway Jr., Jordan Morgan, Jon Horford, Matt Vogrich and Josh Bartelstein, the record-setting point guard put Michigan fans’ minds a bit more at ease about next season.

He almost left. But in the end, he’s coming back.

“There was a point where I was considering leaving, (but) I was never really two feet all the way in,” Burke said. “Sometimes I was (leaning) toward leaving, sometimes I was (leaning) toward coming back. But after talking with the coaches and my family, the final decision I made was to come back.

“I think that was the best decision for me. It was more of a risk for me to leave and declare for the NBA draft.”

Burke sought the advice of the NBA’s undergraduate advisory counsel with regard to his potential draft status if he were to declare. He declined to discuss the report the draft board gave him.

During the process, Burke stayed in close touch with Beilein and his staff, while also seeking advice from his parents, former Michigan point guard Darius Morris and his old Columbus (Ohio) Northland High School coach and teammate, Satch and Jared Sullinger.

He said he ultimately made his decision to return last Wednesday (April 4) after speaking with his mother and father and weighing both sides of the decision.

Had he opted to leave, it would’ve marked the third consecutive season Michigan suffered the loss of an underclassman to the NBA draft.

That's something Beilein says isn’t always the worst thing in the world.

“It’s a good problem to have. We have some young men that really have the potential to play in the NBA,” Beilein said. “We want them to look at this and take their time the right way, we don’t want them to ever have any regret. … You don’t talk them into it, you don’t talk them out of it. You just give them information.

“The whole time, we went back and forth, he went up and down and up and down. But I had no opinion, I just kept working.”

Burke’s decision to return exponentially bolsters Michigan’s prospects for next season, and its overall expectations.

Within minutes of his announcement Monday, various news outlets dubbed the Wolverines a Final Four contender for next year, as Burke will join returning starters Hardaway and Morgan, along with a highly-rated signing class of Mitch McGary, Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III.

Despite the nearly three-week period of uncertainty, Burke’s teammates say there are no bad feelings. They wanted what’s best for Burke, and they’re glad he’s back.

“We’re behind Trey 110 percent, whatever decision he makes,” said Hardaway, who told reporters he never even considered leaving after the season. “We’re happy he’s back in the family.

“He never really left us.”

Burke said the process did bring on some unwanted stress, though he did his best to stay positive. He also said he did his best to avoid social media during the situation, since his decision was highly-discussed on Twitter by fans and even Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis.

As far as the long-term future goes, Burke made no promises. He repeatedly said he intends on playing at Michigan for his “sophomore season,” and is only focused on that.

The Wolverines received a commitment from 2012 Northfield Mount Hermon point guard Spike Albrecht last Friday, and already have a verbal from highly-rated point guard Derrick Walton for the class of 2013.

For now, Burke remains in control of the Wolverine offense for at least one more season.

And his coaches and teammates couldn’t be happier.

"Time will say if it was a good decision for him," Beilein said. "(But I know) it’s a great decision for Michigan basketball."

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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Joshua Remsberg

Thu, May 23, 2013 : 9 p.m.

Nailed it.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 3:01 p.m.

Well said Liger. National Title?? Thats a pretty far jump. We havent even made a good run in the Big Ten tournament or the big dance. Maybe in a couple years though.


Thu, Apr 12, 2012 : 6:33 p.m.

Yeah, a really far jump. I'm sure if you look back at past seasons there has NEVER been a team that has jumped from being ranked #22 at the end of one year ALL THE WAY to winning a national championship the next year. I mean, that's preposterous! Uconn certainly didn't make that big of a jump when they went 18-16 (7-11 Big East) in 2009-2010 and followed that up in 2010-2011 by winning a national championship. No, the fact that they lost in the second round of the NIT to Virginia Tech one year and then won the Big Dance the next isn't a big deal at all!


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

Anyone on here suggesting Trey is nuts for suggesting it's possible for Michigan to win a National Title next year knows nothing about the state of college basketball. The landscape of NCAA hoops changes drastically year by year. It's more open than ever before. It's unpredictable. You have these big name "one and done" schools who choke in the tourny from lack of experience, and these smaller schools with junior and senior (!) players leading actual teams (that have played together long enough to function as a unit) to the point where "upsets" aren't really that surprising at all anymore. Having said all this, it all boils down to: any team with talent and leadership has a chance. Michigan is losing a few gritty kids but replacing them with highly rated recruits. If these recruits live up at all to their ranking, and you add them to the talent level and experience of what's left on team... Trey's statement isn't just well wishing. You could see a much different, much better Wolverines team next couple years.


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 4:05 a.m.

Sooooo... which happens more often? Kentucky is the exception. (And it's my personal belief even they benefited from UNC injuries, OSU choking, State imploding, etc. They had exceptional talent... but they also had what every team needs to win - a bit of luck.) I'm not saying it's impossible... I'm saying the opposite. I'm saying it's a better fight than people realize in NCAA now. My point is: Everything is wide open now. I think Michigan has potential to do a little of both options I mentioned above. They have decent returning kids and decent recruits. If you truly follow college hoops, seeing Michigan go far would not be surprising.

Kevin Shabinski

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.

"You have these big name "one and done" schools who choke in the tourny from lack of experience" Did you watch the tourney this year? or did you just turn it off after the first round loss? Kentucky destroyed everyone in its path to the championship with a truck full of one and dones. Not saying I like it, but its true.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 11:44 a.m.

We believe this is in the wrong section...Sports-related stories should be properly relegated to the Sports section.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 6:40 a.m.

Trey Burke with Glenn Robinson Jr and Mitch McGary should be a whole lot better than with Stu, Zack and Smotcryz.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 6:05 a.m.

Trey Burke made the right decision. I hope that he does well enough next year that his decision is a no-brainer to leave for the NBA. To all the Sparty fans, you really need to get yourselves some lives. In all honesty, none of the comments really irritate any of us. I actually just feel sorry for you more than anything else. I really do.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 5:47 a.m.

So what school will he be transfering to?


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 4:31 a.m.

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP?!? Hey Trey, like most Michigan fans, you've forgotten one thing. Unlike bowl games, in order to win the NCAA tournament, you have to win more than one game. I'd try to focus on, talk about delusional...


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 9:35 p.m.

bigtenknight - No one cares what you think. Go away.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 6:49 p.m.

Oh Ted, just as I posted above, I've never once mentioned the Spartan football program, yet that's your first defensive argument. Get over yourself; there's more to a university than one sport. Blue marker - Nix made a huge mistake and in my opinion should not be allowed back, based solely on the fact that he's a senior and should know better. If I were a Michigan basketball player, I would be focused on getting better fundamentally and focus on winning another conference championship first. Realistically, this program is light years away from National Championship consideration...what is Beileins career record in the tourney?!? Until he's gone, have fun winning a conference title every couple years and then being bounced early when it counts.

Ted Bundy

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 2:32 p.m.

bigtenmaid- Your football teams thinks they are "elite" and think they can play in the Rose Bowl and NC. What you sayeth about that? Sparty fball can dream big, but UM bball cant??

Blue Marker

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 11:07 a.m.

Would you pleae post in all capitals when you want ot make your point? Thanks! As for what Trey said, I would hope all college basketball players are focused on winning a national championship next year. Aren't they supposed to be? Except of course Nix, who is too busy smoking pot to worry about next season.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 4:18 a.m.

good deal. good for Trey, good for UM


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 4:15 a.m.

Don't everybody get mad about the players saying to stay to play for a NC.What else do you expect them to say.Stay because there GF is still in school.Michigan beat 2 teams that almost played for the NC.But Jared would have really been embrassed by Anthony Davis,he may never even got shot off,without it being blocked.He will be a Bust In the NBA.Can you say Big Baby Davis.Beilein will always shoot the 3,you can take that to the bank.When it hits its awesome,when it doesn't it stinks the place up,no doupt about that.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 2:34 a.m.

National title? Hopefully he can lead his team at least out of the first round next year....

Kevin Shabinski

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 1:07 p.m.

Exactly. This kid is so full of himself.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 12:50 a.m.

Good for him. I'm glad he didn't make the same mistake Morris did last year. If he come out and has a good year he should go in the first round next year.

Terry Star21

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 12:47 a.m.

Although not a die hard BB fan, I do respect our team and am excited about next year with the three new big recruits + others, coupled with our current team. Please, just please - No more 'live-or-die' by the three pointer, please. No disrespect, I liked the wins via 3-point, but the ugly ones, those shots clanking off the metal - was like someone sticking a knife in my back each time.....


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 12:54 a.m.

Terry, I think now that Beilein has some serious talent to execute his offense, you will like what you see. With all due respect to the past and current players, Beilein's offensive gameplan becomes more limited when you don't have better "bigs" to play their part.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 12:22 a.m.

I'll bet Mark Hollis got that sour "Dantonio look" on his face when he heard this news. Nice try, Hollis....see you next season!


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

"Y UR HEART KNOW GO TO PRO's?" Mark Hollis...or a 14-year-old girl texting? You decide.

Terry Star21

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 12:43 a.m.

You bet you.....we sure look good on paper next year, but geez - no 'do-or-die' three point controlled games, please !


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 12:41 a.m.

Mark Hollis be thinkin dat follow ur heart


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 12:06 a.m.

We will have a serious talent infusion next year, coupled with Burke and Hardaway, plus I believe Matt Vogrich will break out next year! It is his time to become UM's three point assassin! Go Blue!


Mon, Apr 9, 2012 : 11:42 p.m.

Did he say he's coming back for a run at the national title? I LOVE IT!!!!


Mon, Apr 9, 2012 : 11:39 p.m.

I must agree with robotmonster. This talk of competing for a national championship seems a bit silly to me. How about first just stringing together back to back solid seasons and actually advancing in the NCAA Tournament. Oh well, I guess you gotta say the right things.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 6:46 p.m.

I'm not comparing Trey with Kemba. But Kemba's supporting cast was mediocre and that team didn't even play very well in the regular season (didn't they finish 8th or 9th in the Big East?) Before they won the Big East tournament nobody would have given them a sliver of a chance at making a national title run. So you obviously missed my point. My point is that it isn't 'silly' for a team currently ranked #5-#9 in almost all preseason polls to have a goal of winning a national championship. Will it happen? I wouldn't bet my house on it. Will they have the talent necessary to make them a serious contender? Yeah, absolutely.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 4:37 a.m.

Of course it's silly. And by the way, UCONN had Kemba not even go into comparisons between Trey and'll only embarrass yourself. Michigan will be LUCKY to see the Elite 8 next year. I can honestly say Sweet 16 is do-able, but not a Final Four. Too much talent on other teams, paired with coaches who know how to win once they're in the dance and the inexperience of Michigan's young players will be the end of that talk...although, Sweet 16 may be a little tough if they get paired with a MAC school again...


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 1:08 a.m.

It's silly? Nobody is saying Michigan is the favorite to win the tournament next year. But we have every reason to expect a lot out of next years team. If a team like 2011 Uconn or 2010 Butler can make a run to the championship game there's no reason why Michigan can't. Then again, we could win 30 games and get bounced out in the first round.

Terry Star21

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 12:41 a.m.

Try rooting for Michigan.......


Mon, Apr 9, 2012 : 11:27 p.m.

Now yer talk in' Trey! A good decision all the way around. I will be rooting for your success next year and every year after that. Nice going.


Mon, Apr 9, 2012 : 11:11 p.m.

A national title? Not with that goofy offense.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 6:40 p.m.

Ted - I didn't know John Beilein coached football... news to me...thought we were commenting on a basketball apologies.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 3:53 p.m.

bigtenknight-Yes, because Izzo's 5 wins to John's 3 is such an insurmountable margin. As a reminder, Michigan won the Big Ten Championship last season, not Indiana.

Ted Bundy

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 2:26 p.m.

bigtenmaid- Kind of like how you guys brag about winning 4 fball games in a row, and ignore the all time record? Or even the 6 in a row UM won before your 4? Hmmm...


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 4:27 a.m.

azwolverine - you clever guy you...I see what you did there. Selective stats, I like it. 75% of your games against MSU. See, when I use selective stats, I use them towards my benefit as well. I'll continue to take Izzo's success against U of M...12-6 since losing his NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP squad and 5-3 against Johnny isn't it more like losing 62.5% of your games with Beeeeelein on the sidelines against MSU?


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 12:41 a.m.

You're right. We may just have to settle with winning 75% of our games against MSU.


Mon, Apr 9, 2012 : 10:44 p.m.

Great news, so happy Trey Burke will stay with the team again next season. I love my Wolverines, Go Blue!!