Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 2/10/12

When Michigan lost star guard Darius Morris to the NBA after the 2010-2011 season, the Wolverines appeared to have a major void in their backcourt. Tim Hardaway Jr. was back, yes. But there was no true point guard to run John Beilein’s complex offense.

Enter Trey Burke, the freshman point guard who has far exceeded expectations in his first season in Ann Arbor. Through 24 games this season, the Columbus native is averaging 14 points and five assists.

He was named one of the 20 finalists for the 2012 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award. But more importantly, Burke has proven to be one of the best point guards in the nation’s best conference.

The Big Ten is not short on point guard talent by any means. Ohio State’s Aaron Craft, Penn State’s Tim Frazier, Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor and Michigan State’s Keith Appling all come to mind. After his impressive play this season, Burke now joins the list.

At the college level, the Maize and Blue’s super freshman is one of the nation’s most talented. But how will those talents translate to the next level?

Positives: 

At 6-foot-1, 175 lbs, Burke has good size for a true point guard. He also has great speed and quickness, which will allow him to matchup with what has become a class of elite athletes at the point guard position in the NBA.

Burke excels when taking jump shots off the dribble, where he rarely has trouble shooting over opposing defenders. Add that to his court vision and passing ability, which are second to none.  Ask Wolverines’ sophomore Tim Hardaway Jr., who has frequently been the beneficiary of Burke’s precise passing this season.

The freshman’s best asset, however, is his poise. Unlike most freshman, Burke continues to display a senior-like composure in the toughest situations. While the Wolverines have often struggled on the road this season, Burke has—for the most part—remained unphased (see his impressive 19-point performance at Iowa).

Negatives: 

Burke needs to improve his defensive mechanics. The freshman has a tendency to relax when defending one-on-one. He also seems to lack that intensity and aggression that he always provides on offense. 

Projection

Burke is not a John Wall or Derrick Rose-level talent. But with a dearth of good true point guards in the college ranks, the freshman is appearing on many draft boards. While he is far from a finished product, Burke has first-round potential if he continues to improve.

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