Northland made the trip across Ohio from Columbus to Cleveland to challenge the Lakewood St. Edward Eagles, the No. 11 Division 1 team in Ohio. Northland trailed through most of the contest but never fell too far behind as Michigan commitment Trey Burke hit big shot after big shot to keep the Vikings in the game. Burke finished the game with 35 points in the 84-81 loss, 21 of them coming on three pointers. Burke was 7 of 9 on twos and 7 of 12 on threes and finished with 6 assists.
St. Ed’s was well coached, playing an efficient offense game and tough full court pressure defense to force Northland into tough situations. Northland fell behind by 9 points at the end of the third quarter before Burke went into action, willing his team back to take a 1 point lead with 16 seconds remaining. The Eagles would take their final lead on a layup with 6 seconds left before Northland inbounded the ball over Burke’s head and into the hands of a St. Edward’s defender.
Apologies for the supbar video quality, I had to film the game using a Kodak handheld camera and it was running out of batteries leading to a couple missed clips. It was a tough loss for a Northland team that was 65-2 over the last two and a half seasons but it’s better to take a loss now than in the state tournament. Full scouting report after the jump.
- Clutch Leadership: If you were going to take just one thing away from Burke’s game, it better be that he wants the ball in his hands with the game on the line. Burke led Northland back from a 9 point deficit heading into the fourth quarter and connected on an array of floaters, step back jumpers, and threes down the stretch. Burke was also a leader on a floor, encouraging or getting in his teammates faces when necessary. He might wear his emotions on his sleeve a bit too much but his will to win is evident.
- Three point range: Burke has NBA range on his three point shot. He didn’t hit them all but seven made threes in one game is impressive to say the least. Burke has connected on 47% of his three point shots for the season and given the degree of difficulty of his attempts to day, that’s an impressive figure.
- Quickness: Trey is quick with the ball in his hands and knows how to instantly change speeds with the ball in his hands to get wherever he wants on the court. When he gets in the lane he has a smooth pull up jumper and also has a nice little running floater. He also has great lateral quickness defensively, making him a solid on-ball defender.
Areas to improve:
- Shot selection: You could probably say shot selection is a problem for most young guards that take a majority of their team’s shots. Burke forced quite a few “heat check” threes today but when you hit seven threes in a game, it’s tough to stop taking them. He also seemed to settle for threes a bit too often when it was clear that he had the ability to get in the lane as well. He finished 7 of 9 on twos and 7 of 12 on threes so even if he took some bad shots, he made most of them.
- Free throws: Two free throw attempts is obviously too small of a sample size to pass judgement, but Trey missed two important free throws late in the second half. With his shooting stroke and 70% (35/50) free throw shooting on the year, you can probably assume he’s an average to above average free throw shooter.
- Off the ball defense: Off the ball defense is another flaw of many high school players. Against a well coached team like St. Ed’s, this will be exposed. Burke gave up two or three back door layups when he fell asleep at the wheel.
Overall, Burke was extremely impressive. The competition was tough and Burke was obviously the best player on the floor. He showed off his shooting stroke and relished the opportunity to take big shots. As things stand now, I’d pencil Burke in as next year’s backup point guard. Morris will command 30+ minutes per game but Burke will provide a competent change of pace. I also think that a backcourt lineup of Morris and Burke would be an interesting experiment at times. Neither player is a perfect fit for the one or the two position but while they have almost all of the bases covered if they are on the court at the same time. Burke provides shooting and quickness while Morris provides the distribution and size.