Basketball's early entry system is weird. Depending on what Burke & Hardaway decide to do (please stay), we could be looking at a top 10ish team next year (Burke, Hardaway, McGary, etc), or one that's only probably top 25. Oh god, please stay.
Trey Burke's Remarkable Freshman Season
It's no secret that Trey Burke is having a rather special freshman season. I got to wondering how special after reading the following in an annarbor.com article from about a week ago:
[John Beilein] says he's never had a freshman point guard quite like this one.
"I look at (ex-Michigan point guard Darius Morris') year-long stats from his freshman year," Beilein said. "Here's Darius, who was playing with Kobe the other night, and Trey already has more assists in this season than Darius had his whole freshman year.
"And Darius was a heck of a player. It's not normal. I can't recall (a freshman point guard) having this type (of year). It's been very rare that we've had ([to] play a freshman this much). It's rare, but it's been very good."
Burke's Year in Historical Context
So how does Burke's freshman year to date stack up against the freshman seasons of other point guards in Michigan history? To measure this, I borrowed a tool the Wall Street Journal used last year to identify MVP guards (with Darius Morris coming out on top). I like this metric because it's simple, easy to understand, but also quite telling. As the WSJ explained, it calculates "which players are involved in the highest percentage of their team's field goals, either via assists or by making shots themselves." The formula is simple: field goals made (FGM) + assists/team FGM.
Using the Men's Basketball Statistic Archive, here are the results for the freshman years of Michigan's leaders in assists (not all of whom were point guards):
|Player||Year||FGM||Assists||Team FGM||% Team FGM|
So Trey Burke is right there among the leaders for this metric. (Note that two of U-M's top assists men didn't have freshman years at the school: Rickey Greene was a junior college transfer, while Rumeal Robinson was ineligible his freshman season.) For comparison's sake, Darius Morris finished his sophomore season with 201 FGM and 235 assists, which meant he was involved in a remarkable 51.5 percent of the team's 847 FGM.
Burke among Cousy Award Finalists
How does Burke's season compare with that of his contemporaries? Quite well, when you use the same metric to compare this year's finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, which goes to the nation's top point guard.
|Player||School||FGM||Assists||Team FGM||% Team FGM|
|Damian Lillard||Weber St.||130||66||470||41.7%|
|D. J. Cooper||Ohio U.||82||105||469||39.9%|
|Kendall Marshall||North Carolina||41||181||598||37.1%|
|Dee Bost||Mississippi St.||94||84||508||35.0%|
|Caspar Ware||Long Beach St.||102||59||479||33.6%|
Burke comes in 5th place overall and 2nd only to UConn's Shabazz Napier among the finalists from major conferences. This provides some further proof of just how good a season he's having—and how valuable he is to his team. I think it also shows why he should remain among the Cousy finalists when the list is narrowed down from 20 to 10 in early February.
If Burke were to leave I don't think M would be top 25.
There's no way Burke leaves, he's not tall enough to be an NBA point guard. At least not tall enough to leave after your freshmen season. Hardaway on the other hand, isn't having the best season (so far) which might force him to stay even if he was thinking about leaving.
I feel like Burke's the kind of player that puts in the work to be the best, and that means giving it another year with a potentially championship-caliber roster. I hope that's the case.
I'm thinking Hardaway may be playing himself out of first round consideration so far this season. But I'll continue to hope and not assume anything.
Hardaway is not going anywhere. He is not in a hardship situation and he is not good enough or strong enough for the NBA right now. Hardaway can improve tons with another year of college. Burke on the other hand, how much better is he going to be next season? If he is told he will be a first round pick, he has to consider it
This whole team needs another year to mature. Losing Novak and Douglas, who else is ready to step into the leadership role. That role comes from mature players who are seasoned. If coach can keep these guys together this team will be special. If we lose Hardaway and Burke after NEXT year I think it's too much rebuilding. Losing one player not so bad. Losing 2? Ugh!!!
Not to take away from what Burke has done this year, but you only charted offensive stats. Gary Grant was easily the best defender on that list.
A lockdown defender, Grant notched a school record 300 steals in his Michigan career (1984-88). He also owns the top 3 single season steals averages with 2.69, 2.55, and 2.35 steals per game. Grant is also Michigan’s career leader in assists with 731. He ranks fourth on Michigan’s All-Time list with 2222 career points. Grant’s career three-point field goal percentage of 46.11% ranks him third on Michigan’s All-Time list. He had 14 10-plus assist games in his career, which is a school record. He also holds the school record for assists in a game with 14, which he did twice in December 1987.
Grant’s 11 double-doubles (points-assist) are the most by any Wolverine.
Grant was the first Big Ten player with 1,000 points, 600 assists, and 200 steals. He was the 1985 Big Ten Freshmen of the Year. He was twice selected as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year (1987, 88). Grant was a First Team All-Big Ten selection twice (1987-88) and a 1988 All American.
Grant was selected in the first round of the 1988 NBA Draft by the Seattle Supersonics. He enjoyed a 13 year career in the NBA.
Good stuff. I think there comes a point of diminishing returns with these numbers. The top seasons for freshman point guards on M were taking place on mediocre to bad teams. If a point guard gets above 40% in this formula, he needs to be heavy in the assists department. Burke is a rarity as a frosh, he is able to be above 40% and still allow his team to have success. If Burke's numbers were to go down over the remainder of the season, it will probably be a good thing for the team overall.
All stats have limitations. But I think this stat provides a good measure of the importance of a point guard to his team, regardless of whether the team is good, bad, or mediocre. Wasn't Michigan a better than mediocre team last year when Morris scored or assisted on 51.5 percent of the team's made field goals? Shabazz Napier's number is 41.8% for a UConn team that's ranked 13th in the country. The whole point of this exercise was to show how important Trey Burke is to this Michigan team, and I think the numbers bear that out.
I think this stat provides a snapshot of teams that overly rely on their point guard. Whether it is a good thing or not is open for debate.
Last year, Kemba Walker had 316 FGM and 184 assists for UConn, which had a total of 1,053 team FGM. That means that Walker was involved in 47.5% of his team's FGM. I guess they overrelied on him—all the way to the national championship! (Walker, by the way, won last year's Bob Cousy Award.)
Yes they did.
And some players, no matter how good in college, just should not leave early. Seein Eric Turner on the list reminded me of this. I'm not sure how much another year in college would have helped him, but by any objective standard, he was not ready for the NBA when he left.
turner had to leave.
Nothing to see here Trey, move along to a thread that makes you want to stay in school longer
The only good part about Hardaway's struggles are that it really killed his draft stock this year. He'll be back, and so will Burke. Burke is a great slasher and get get to the rim and finish. He has good vision of the court and can find the open man. He isn't an amazing distributor like Darius was and he's off a lot of his lobs. I tend to model what his game should be off of Chris Paul and when he's done here he could be the next CP3.
Kid is phenomenal but was anybody else beginning to feel like he was hogging the ball against Arkansas? Beilein's whole system is team-centric/pass-centric. It can never work with a STAR who dominates the ball and that is what seemed to be happening yesterday. On the last shot Burke could have dished to Smotrycz who was wide open. That said the kid can flat out take it to the hole. I just want him to throw it out to the wide open guys rather than force it by himself.
I wouldn't expect hardaway or Burke to leave this year considering the lineup next year, I mean, who wouldn't want to be on a team competing for a national title?