April 9, 2012

Beilein: great decision for U-M

Trey Burke thought about it - hard. He prayed about it. He consulted with family, and coaches, and even a former coach. In the end, though, he figured he need to spend his next basketball season at Crisler Center.

John Beilein admitted he's not disappointed in that choice - not one bit.

"We're obviously very excited about the future of this team," Beilein said. "This is an exciting part of basketball today. There is so much change and transition. You can't look at it as doom and gloom. The game continues to survive, and it survives with young men faced with very important challenges and decisions."

Burke admitted the decision to return to Michigan was indeed a difficult one. He went back and forth, and at one point was leaning more toward casting his lot with the pros.

In the end, that's not where all of the input took him.

"Talking it over with my family, praying on it, I just felt like I could develop more," Burke said. "Me coming back to this team next year, we have a great shot of competing for another Big Ten championship and competing for a national championship, which was our goal this last year.

"Losing our first game [in the NCAA Tournament] to Ohio was one of the most disappointing times of the year for us. We have unfinished business. With the recruits coming in, and the returning players, I feel like we have a great chance of winning the national championship and conquering some of the goals we didn't get to this last year."

Burke noted despite his leanings at one point, he never had "two feet all the way in" when it came to NBA considerations. He also noted it was "more of a risk" to try and make the jump.

And yes, he admitted, he began feeling the tension along the way.

"It was definitely stressful at times," he said. "When it got to that type of point, I just relaxed and decided to look at it as a positive. I know a lot of players would love to be in position to conquer their goals of playing in the NBA. Whenever it got to the stressful points or the depressing points for me, I just embraced the moment.

"It felt more like the recruiting process. It was a really tough decision. After praying on it, talking to God about it, and my family and my coaches, it was best for me to come back."

Those coaches included one from his past. Satch Sullinger, his high school mentor and father of OSU's Jared Sullinger, weighed in at one point.

"He was honest with me," Burke said of the elder Sullinger. "He told me that he thinks I should stay another year, come back. I could develop more. Jared said the same thing. Jared would have loved to see me leave, but he supported either way I went."

Burke insisted he tried to stay away from social networking sites and keep his focus far from the media. Meanwhile, Beilein kept the lines of communication open as best possible.

Beilein and Burke communicated nearly every day, the head coach said.

"I think you learn every single time," Beilein noted, regarding the process. "But it's a good problem to have. We have some young men who really have the potential to play in the NBA. We want them to look at this, take their time, do it the right way.

"We never want them to have any regrets. We want them to be 100 percent certain, so you don't talk somebody into it, you don't talk them out of it. You just give them information, and rely on their family, their education, and the information you give them to make a good decision."

Beilein appreciated the maturity Burke demonstrated, not only throughout his freshman season, but also in the decision-making process.

"He's still growing, but at the same time, he showed a lot of growth in this, the entire process of his freshman year," Beilein said. "It's incredible, to see him go through all of this. Every young man dreams of playing in the NBA, and he certainly has that potential."

Redshirt sophomore Jordan Morgan, along with a host of other teammates, was on hand to hear Burke make his decision public. Morgan admitted he's thrilled, like the rest of the Wolverines.

"I'm not going to lie," Morgan said. "I was pretty excited when I heard the news. We're just happy. We're genuinely excited to have him back, but we would have supported him either way he decided to go."

Burke talked about the excitement he's feeling for next year, the talented freshmen coming in, and the nucleus of a Big Ten championship team returning. Meanwhile, Beilein didn't hesitate when asked if his prized point guard made a good decision.

"Time will say what was the best decision for him," Beilein said. "I think it's a great decision for Michigan basketball."

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