4. Trey Burke, 6-1 PG, Michigan
Staying Impact: Burke was the nation's best freshman point guard last season; having him back alongside Tim Hardaway Jr. in the Wolverines' backcourt should give them an outside shot at making a Final Four run. They were the team's two highest possession-users by a wide margin in 2011-12, and figure to dominate the ball again, even with the addition of elite freshman power forward Mitch McGary, the highest-ranked recruit ever to sign with coach John Beilein.
Had He Left: Michigan survived the early departure of its previous point guard, Darius Morris, when Burke emerged as a star. The Wolverines weren't going to repeat that feat; they also lost their other primary ballhandler, senior Stu Douglass, and would have been stuck with late-signing freshman Spike Albrecht, a three-star prospect from Massachusetts, taking over the offense. They would have been a middle-of-the-pack Big Ten team ... and Burke may not have been a first-round pick, either. Him returning is the best-case scenario for all parties other than Michigan opponents.
Next Step: Like Indiana, the Wolverines need to lock down on D to become a real title contender. Burke was part of a defense that ranked 60th overall, including 289th in steals and 208th at defending the three-point line. His defense will have to progress, and on offense, will he be able to draw more fouls off of penetration? Beilien's five-out offenses have historically been near the bottom of Division I in free throw rate, but Burke is quick enough with the ball that he should be able to post a higher rate than 30.6. He averaged just 4.1 free-throw attempts per 40 minutes last season.
Bacari Alexander comments on the physical development of some of Michigan's players. Pretty encouraging stuff.
- bacari34 Boy, did some of our guys work hard or what this spring! New and improved bodies. Wow! Great job fellas!
bacari34 Wow Evan Smotrycz is diesel! I'm hearing 235lbs! Geeze! Jon Horford up to 250! Now that's exciting! Vogrich looks bigger/taller too. Yes!!!!
bacari34 Jordan Morgan is more cut up it seems as well [as] Novak and Douglass. Carlton Brundidge looks fit and trim and Trey Burke has been working.
bacari34 Max Biefeldt looks great and is a lean, mean machine it seems. His body has really developed over the years. I'm sure pick up gms will b fun