Michigan facing NBA questions after Final Four run

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 09, 2013
After falling just short of a national title in a loss to Louisville, Trey Burke was asked about his relationship with Michigan coach John Beilein. ''The respect I have for Coach Beilein is at an all-time high and it will always be,'' Burke said. ''Throughout my college career, throughout whatever my opportunities are after college, he's just the guy that you'll respect, not only on the court, but off the court. He's the guy that's going to hold you accountable for all your actions and he's going to help you grow up as a man.'' It was hard to escape the sense of finality in Burke's postgame comments, and although the sophomore point guard says he'll take his time before deciding whether to leave for the NBA, Michigan's future is uncertain after Monday night's 82-76 loss in the NCAA title game. Burke, the AP national player of the year, is an obvious candidate to turn pro after considering it last year, and the Wolverines' tournament run leaves a few other players with decisions to make, too. Once the dust settles from all that, it will be easier to evaluate Michigan's chances of another Final Four run next season. This was the team's first since 1993, and it gave the school a chance to take pride in its basketball team again. ''The people of Ann Arbor have been so good, our brand throughout the world,'' Beilein said. ''We made a major step toward that, of living up to what this university has provided for so many students and student-athletes.'' Michigan began the season with 16 straight wins and eventually reached No. 1. The Wolverines wore down a bit toward the end of the Big Ten schedule and missed out on a conference title because of a one-point loss to Indiana in the regular-season finale. After a nondescript showing in the Big Ten tournament, expectations dipped a bit, and when Michigan routed Virginia Commonwealth to reach the NCAA round of 16 for the first time since 1994, it was considered a significant accomplishment. Turned out there was more to come. ''A lot of people didn't expect us to even get this far,'' Burke said after the title game. ''A lot of people didn't expect us to even get past the second round. You know, we fought. We fought all the way up to this point.'' Burke's long 3-pointer in the final seconds forced overtime in the regional semifinals against Kansas, and then Michigan routed Florida and edged Syracuse to reach the title game. The Wolverines did all this with a young team. Burke is a sophomore and Tim Hardaway Jr. is a junior, but Glenn Robinson III, Mitch McGary and Nik Stauskas are all freshmen, and at the Final Four, a couple more freshmen emerged in Spike Albrecht and Caris LeVert. The future could be bright even if Burke leaves, but Hardaway, Robinson and McGary could all test the NBA waters, too. The coming days will be intriguing and provide a good idea of how much Michigan will rely on an incoming recruiting class that includes standout guards Derrick Walton Jr. and Zak Irvin. This was Beilein's sixth season at Michigan, and the team has steadily improved in each of the last three. The Wolverines made the NCAA tournament in 2011 and won a game there, then they tied for their first Big Ten title since 1986 last year. This Final Four run brought basketball back to the forefront at the football-crazy school and gives the program a major opportunity going forward. It will be harder to build on this if several players turn pro, but Michigan kept improving despite the departure of standout guard Darius Morris following the 2010-11 season. After performing brilliantly in so many big games over the last month, the Wolverines have announced their return to national prominence. ''We are proud of each other and we worked extremely hard all year to get to this point,'' Stauskas said. ''Just because we lost this game we don't want to hang our heads that low. Obviously this is a tough loss to swallow, but we're going to move on from this and get better.''
One Gotta Go: Pac-12 ballers and coaches vs. the worst pickup ballers
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Seahawks, Vikings, Colts to be ‘players’ at trade deadline

Former NFL coach Marty Schottenheimer battling Alzheimer’s disease

Jamaal Charles (knee) to miss Sunday’s game against Colts

Report: C.J. Anderson will be in recovery for ‘months’

Indians' Roberto Perez reveals battle with Bell's palsy


76ers apologize for pulling singer from national anthem

Cubs fans line up outside bar at 5:30 am before Game 3

Sheldon Adelson threatens to walk away from Raiders stadium deal

NCAA set to distribute some revenue based on academic performance

Tom Brady nixes a future in coaching, blames lack of patience

Report: NFL interviewed Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott about domestic incident

30 athletes (and friends) who've done Halloween costumes right

CFB Crash Course Week 9: The underachievers already out of playoff contention

College Football Playoff set-up could keep best teams out of title contention

Box Score 10/28: London, Wrigley and the Cell

Four NBA teams that could surprise this season

NHL in three players: Carey Price is the MVP of sports

Rex Ryan: Pats’ violation of unwritten rule led to skirmish

LeBron doesn’t want Thompson bringing Khloe around Cavs?

NFL ratings decline is also hurting the restaurant business

WATCH: Breaking down the current state of the 76ers

Five things we have learned thus far in the World Series

Can Hell in a Cell still bring the heat?

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

CFB Crash Course Week 9: The underachievers already out of playoff contention

College Football Playoff set-up could keep best teams out of title contention

WATCH: Breaking down the current state of the 76ers

Five things we have learned thus far in the World Series

Can Hell in a Cell still bring the heat?

We’re doing the Bountygate thing again

Significant firsts for women's wrestling in WWE at 'Hell in a Cell'

One Gotta Go: Pac-12 players and coaches vs. the worst pickup ballers

A look back at 10 of the best-looking World Series

25 questions heading into the 2016-17 NBA season

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker