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Wolverine guard Trey Burke leaving Ann Arbor for the NBA

The Michigan Wolverines are losing a key player on their men’s basketball team.

Sophomore guard Trey Burke led the team to the NCAA championship this month.   Along the way, Burke picked up multiple awards, including the Associated Press college player of the year.    So it’s not really a surprise that he will forego his final years of college eligibility to possibly a big pay day in the NBA. 

Burke considered going pro a year ago, but decided to come back for his sophomore season. He led Michigan to the NCAA title game, where the Wolverines lost to Louisville.

The 6-foot point guard averaged 18.6 points and 6.7 assists per game in 2012-13. He made perhaps the most memorable shot of the NCAA tournament, a long 3-pointer in the final seconds against Kansas that sent that regional semifinal to overtime.

Michigan made the Final Four for the first time since 1993, and Burke scored 24 points in the championship game despite early foul trouble.

While Burke is expected to be among the first ten players picked in the upcoming NBA draft, he says it’s still a tough decision.

“To not be able to play with the guys any more…to not to be able to be coached by the coaching staff…it was tough. But I feel like it was the best decision for me,” says Burke.

The Wolverines are losing a key piece of their men’s basketball program.   But U of M head coach John Beilein expects other players will step up.  

Beilein says having players leave early for the pros is a “tremendous” problem to have. He insists the program is still focused on players graduating before starting a pro career.   Beilein says he wants players who will “unpack their bags” when they arrive in Ann Arbor.   But he says players like Trey Burke should take advantage of opportunities too.

“If something like this opportunity comes up, then that’s your opportunity. But we’re going to do everything that we can to make sure they can have both opportunities, a degree, and what Trey has ahead of him right now,” said Beilein.  

A few other Wolverine starters are also said to be considering leaving college for a pro basketball career.

They have until April 28th to declare for their eligibility for the NBA draft.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting.
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