Less than 24 hours ago, the Michigan basketball team was fighting for a national championship. Now, a handful of players are faced with a tough decision about their futures.
Sophomore point guard Trey Burke, junior guard Tim Hardaway, Jr., freshman forward Glenn Robinson III and freshman center Mitch McGary will decide whether to leave school early to enter the NBA Draft or come back to school for another run in 2014.
Burke, Hardaway and McGary talked to members of the media about their decisions Tuesday afternoon at a Welcome Home part at Crisler Arena. All three said either no decision has been made or that they haven't even begun to think about it.
After the Wolverines' deep run in the NCAA Tournament, the players will not have much time to process. The NBA's deadline for withdrawal from the Draft is April 16.
"However long the deadline is to put your name in," Hardaway said, when asked how long it will take to make his decision. "I want to talk to my parents, coaching staff and teammates. My teammates are my blood brothers, and I really want to hear what they have to say, as well.
"I have no idea. I haven't been in this situation before. The best people I have to talk to are my father and Trey Burke. Trey has been through this before. I know I am going to make the right decision, for myself, my team, my coaches and family."
Burke, the John Wooden Award winner as the nation's best player, has long been considered a shoo-in to leave school early.
But the point guard has not come to a firm decision either way. As he did last year, Burke will consult the NBA Draft Advisory Committee, as well as his coaches and parents, before announcing his intentions.
"It's not a decision that I am going to be able to make on my own," Burke said. "It's a decision that I will have to have guidance with. It's something I will be talking over with my coaching staff and parents over the next week or two. I haven't set a timeline on my future.
"Coaching staff and parents. I know I can trust my coaching staff and my parents. They didn't steer me wrong last year, and they won't this year. They're going to be up front and honest with me."
Last season, Burke seriously flirted with the idea of exiting the Michigan program after just one year in Ann Arbor.
After the loss to Ohio in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Burke made a checklist of pros and cons that led him back to school for his sophomore campaign. After his All-American honors and national awards, Burke's list won't be the same this time around.
"It's a totally different list," he said. "We made a farther run this year. I don't know. I haven't sat down to talk out the pros and cons. Once I do that, it will make my decision easier. My coaches and mom and dad won't lie to me. They'll make sure I'm making the right decision.
"It won't be easier. The process is always going to be hard, because I'm only a sophomore. Like I said, I am going to need guidance from my parents and coaches."
McGary bluntly stated, "I haven't thought about it." Robinson was not available to media after the welcome home event.
Both Burke and Hardaway were asked about Michigan football fifth-year senior offensive tackle Taylor Lewan's decision to come back for his final year, foregoing big money in the NFL Draft.
"You always think about those types of situations, what you could do to help your teammates and brothers," Hardaway said. "Like I said before, I have to look into it. Once we have a decision made, between myself, my coaches and my father, you guys will know."
"That was definitely shocking to me, when he decided to forego the NFL Draft," added Burke. "Our situation is different. That's a tough question. Taylor Lewan, that is a bold decision he made to come back to school. It inspires me, to see him come back for another year and graduate. I am happy for him."
Michigan coach John Beilein said he has already spoken with all four players about the decision, and the gears are in motion to help them make their decision
"We have already started the information-gathering process," Beilein said. "We've gone to the NBA Draft Advisory Committee again. We'll get as much information as we can. It's already in progress right now.
"Some of the timeline is a little distorted right now. They still have until the end of the month to go. They just don't have time to test the waters, so to speak. We'll be able to give them enough information in order to make educated decisions, for all four of them."