November 29, 2012
Borton's Blog: Burke likes upgrade
Trey Burke doesn't discount what's been accomplished, not one bit. But Michigan's sophomore point guard looks about as satisfied as a Great White after one bite of seal, regarding the Wolverines' basketball resume.
Don't misunderstand, Burke urges. He loved seeing the 2011-12 Big Ten championship banner hoisted to the rafters of Crisler Center, right before the Wolverines knocked off N.C. State to go 6-0 on the season.
As a matter of fact, he intends to enjoy the banner's presence for a long, long time.
"That's big for us," Burke said. "I was happy when I saw the banner go up. I'll be able to say in 20 years that we won the Big Ten championship in 2012. It's definitely big for us, but we want to win another one."
That's a big but, and Burke cannot lie. Once the cloth symbolizing all the blood, sweat and little green tears locked into place at the top of Crisler, he wasn't thinking about it anymore.
Not now. Not anytime soon.
"We've still got work to do," Burke said. "I think we did a good job moving forward, from the banner going up to the game. I didn't know how guys were going to respond to that. We did a good job at it."
He did a good job, even without scoring a point in the first half against N.C. State. Burke tossed off nine assists, on his way to 11 without a turnover, and before joining in the second-half scoring with 18.
He's the envy of every other team in the Big Ten, for his ability to control the game, score from outside, feed others, and rack up huge assist numbers without turning it over much.
And Burke? Well, he loved last year. He might like this one even better.
"Last year, sometimes, the offense would be stagnant," Burke said. "Guys would be used to seeing just a pick-and-roll, a three. With guys like Nik [Stauskas] and Glenn [Robinson] that can catch alley-oops, and Nik that I can hit on the perimeter and hit threes, it's kind of a different feel this year."
Burke has already made the shift from one year to the next. He's experienced more of a breather, when freshman point guard Spike Albrecht (looks like Ollie, savvy as Jimmy) comes in for relief.
"It's been an adjustment, but it hasn't been a hard adjustment," Burke said. "I play with these guys every day, and I'm pretty much used to playing with them right now. It's a matter of me making the right read, bottom line. It's a matter of Spike making the right read when he comes in. If guys are open, it's our job to get them the ball."
If defenses want to try and clamp down on him, that's fine, Burke insists. They'll pay.
"The defense is not going to be able to play off our shooters and stop me from scoring all game, or Nik is going to have 40, or Tim [Hardaway, Jr.] is going to have 40," Burke said. "They're going to eventually end up gapping off and getting back.
"That's where I can get down into the paint and make a play for the big, or even finish and get to the foul line."
Sure, Burke enjoyed last year. But last year is hanging from the rafters, and he's eyes straight ahead. It doesn't take long for him to let you know he thinks this year holds even more promise.
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