2011 Recruiting Profile: Trey Burke

Dylan Burkhardt

Borrowing an idea from MGoBlog, the first of three pieces profiling Michigan’s incoming freshman class.

Trey Burke – 6-foot-1 Point Guard – #3
25767_114014861965050_100000696106762_126035_7454583_n Basics

  • Height: 6-foot-1
  • Weight: 176lb
  • High School: Northland (Columbus, OH)


Previously on UMHoops

Trophy Case:
Ohio Mr. Basketball
2nd Team Parade All-American
First Team All-State
Career 1,000 Point Scorer
Soph: 27-1, OHSAA State Champs
Junior: 23-1, AP Ohio No. 2
Senior: 26-2, OHSAA Runner-up
AAU National Champs 2009

Trey Burke’s prep career has been defined by winning. You can count the number of losses that Burke’s Northland squad suffered during his tenure on one hand. Playing for one of the midwest’s top AAU programs, All-Ohio Red, Burke added an AAU national championship to his resume as well. Despite all of his team success, it wasn’t until his senior year that Burke began to start collecting individual accolades.

Burke’s recruitment was anything but simple, as he took a long and winding path to Ann Arbor. He verballed to Penn State during the fall before his junior season. Gaining exposure while playing alongside super-recruit, and good friend, Jared Sullinger, Burke had picked up a handful of mid-major offers at that point. He hadn’t received the illustrious home town offer from Ohio State and opted to jump at the opportunity to play in the Big Ten, following in the footsteps of Columbus native Jamelle Cornley.

Seven months later Burke rescinded his commitment and was back on the market heading into his final AAU season. Schools like Cincinnati, Iowa, Nebraska and Butler moved into the picture and many had Burke penciled into Cincinnati’s recruiting class – he would later mention that they were his leader for five months. Michigan jumped into Burke’s recruitment during the July recruiting period, undoubtedly taking notice after watching him go head-to-head versus one of his AAU rivals, U-M commitment Carlton Brundidge. Just over a month later, Burke was a Wolverine.

After signing a letter of intent a couple of months later, Burke would go on to dominate the Ohio high school basketball scene during his senior season. No longer trapped in the shadows of Jared Sullinger, he led Northland to the state finals, averaged 24 points and seven assists per game and won Mr. Basketball.


Burke is a scoring point guard. That’s not to say he’s a shooting guard that plays point guard, he’s a point guard that can score. Burke is an extremely accurate three point shooter (47% on 116 attempts as a senior) with significant range. He has a great handle, is comfortable driving with the right and left hand and also possesses a nice pull up jump shot. His size and lack of elite athleticism are his primary weaknesses, somewhat inhibiting him when finishing around the hoop and also on the defensive end.

I saw Trey play several games during his senior Mr. Basketball campaign, and many others on video, but it was his performance versus Lakewood St. Edward that stood out. This was one of only two games that Northland lost all season but it defined Burke as a player. He scored 35 points on 14 of 21 (7-12) and did everything within his power to keep Northland alive in the game. He put on a three point shooting clinic in that game but what was most impressive was his clutch leadership. He lived to take the big shots and made more than he missed. Video:

Don’t just take my word for it, national pundits agree:


Burke is a lead guard that can easily slide to the shooting guard position because of his ability to score. Burke is terrific at hitting pull up jumpers after one or two rhythm dribbles or off the catch with smooth and confident stroke. Burke can knock down open threes off the catch or dribble without hesitation as well. He does a good job of running offense and can drive draw and kick to open teammates due to defenders knowing he is a scoring threat that is capable of big numbers. At times Burke will not be as aggressive as he should be which takes away from his production being as consistent. Burke must also add strength be a better defensive rebounder and continue to hone his point guard skills.


Burke continued his strong summer with a very impressive scoring display. Though he is a point guard, Burke has the natural instinct and ability to score, and when he gets into a rhythm he can be lethal from three. With All-Ohio in the lead, Burke really got it going for himself and others, and was the catalyst in blowing it wide open for them. Burke had it working from deep knocking down several three pointers, and then when the defense closed out on him out of control he went around them and made a drive for a bucket. Burke finished with over 20 points, and was the biggest reason why All-Ohio cruised to an easy win.


We have almost endless amounts of Burke video, which you can mostly find on his recruiting profile page. Here are a few notable clips:

All-Ohio City Series:




Trey Burke is not Darius Morris. They play the same position, and No. 3 will be expected by many to replace No. 4’s production, but their games are vastly different. Morris uses his size and strength, perhaps Burke’s greatest weaknesses, to bully smaller defenders. On the other hand, Burke’s game builds off of his jump shot, deadly from midrange to well beyond the three point line, and quickness with the ball in his hands. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, and there’s no way that Burke matches Morris’s production a year ago, but Burke should have every opportunity to earn the starting point guard spot on next year’s team.

Beilein’s “two guard” offense was originally designed to minimize the need for a point guard, but last season demonstrated just what a luxury it is to have a true point guard and distributor. Of the scholarship players on next year’s roster, Burke is the only one that has played on the ball for his entire career. This is the primary reason why Burke will receive every opportunity to earn the starting point guard role on next year’s team. Beilein also hasn’t shown aversion toward starting true freshmen, Darius Morris started 19 games as a freshman, Evan Smotrycz started 24 and Tim Hardaway Jr. started 35.

True freshmen point guards struggle in college basketball but Burke playing meaningful and efficient minutes at the point guard is the best case scenario for next year’s team. It will be interesting how Burke’s attitude and mindset transitions to the next level. He’s a fiery competitor that plays the game with a certain swagger about him. He’s a fighter and will set foot in Ann Arbor expecting to earn a spot, not being handed anything. His workout videos should make that much clear.

That’s not to say there aren’t questions that need to be answered about his game. How effectively can Burke run the pick-and-roll? Will he get Michigan’s shooters the ball in the right spots? How will his size affect his ability to score in the lane, or defend other guards? Morris made others around him better, picking up double digit assists like it was nothing, and Burke has yet to demonstrate that he can be that sort of creator for others. He’s not a bad passer by any means but he’s attempting to replace arguably the best setup man in Division-I basketball.

Looking at next year’s roster, it’s clear that Burke is the most important incoming freshman. Opportunity is the most important factor toward a successful freshman campaign and, with Darius Morris in the NBA draft, Burke will have every chance that he could ask for. Now it’s time to see what he can make of it.

  • *JD*

    I read in another article that Burke has put on 4 pounds in the last two weeks and wants to get up to 185 by the time he hits A2. That should help in him taking hits and also (hopefully) on D.

    I want to see him make Ol’ Apple-cheeks Craft cry next year!

  • georgeesq.

    One thing I liked about Darius was that, not only did make the passes on the pick and roll, the break and the kick-outs, but he put the ball right where it had to be so the recipient had no wasted motion, did not fumble with ball or need to hesitate and gather himself before finishing the play. Trey can learn the offense, but he’ll have to make accurate passes on the fly to make the offense really click.

  • Tom, Too

    Plays like Iverson in HS…good news.

    • Thats exactly who came to my mind.

      • grandchamp

        Yeah except for the the fact that Iverson was a superb athlete and Trey is rumored to lack great athleticism.

        • georgeesq.

          You don’t need rumors. There’s plenty of video out there on Burke. Comparing him to AI is not fair, but Trey is very athletic – and he’s a true PG, AI was not. AI rarely gave the ball up.

          • grandchamp

            He looks like a fine athlete to me, but when I hear Dylan also say that he lacks elite athleticism I do have to put some stock into it. He is gonna be a great player regardless I believe.

  • maxwell’s demon

    I think the pick and roll could still be deadly with Burke but with a slightly different look. Morris made the two defenders decide between allowing Morgan to roll or to let Morris drive to the hoop. What defenders didn’t have to worry about was stopping Morris from pulling up for three. For Burke I can envision making the defenders between giving him the open jumpshot and Morgan rolling to the hoop. I definitely don’t expect it to be as effective as it was with Morris but Burke’s ability to shoot should really help.

  • alan

    still dont understand how rivals can give him a 3 star ranking…maybe they should just stick to giving gatorade to football players

    • Beast1530

      They tends to give more weight on AAU circuit than HS because the competition tends to be better with players playing for a spot to play college ball in the next level. This is why Carlton Brundidge is rated higher than Burke even though Burke had a good year in HS.

      • bmorant

        Not sure about that… Burke won a national championship during the summer before his Jr. season (09). He had a stellar AAU career. Rivals…… well, I will keep it positive!

        • Lee

          Carlton Brundidge’s AAU team (The Family) defeated Burke’s All Ohio Red team in the Prestigious Nike Peach Jam during their junior summer. Brundidge led his team with 27 points. Also, last summer Brundidge led the star-studded New Nike Elite Youth Basketball league in scoring. The league feature practically all the McDonald’s All American. He scored 53 points against Tony Wroten #16 ESPN and Gary Bell who is a top 100 player.

          • Blue4life

            Both Brundidge and Burke were among the top 7 scorers in the EYBL last year. All Ohio Red beat the Family in L.A. on a last second shot from Burke. We are getting two quality players that makes our future look bright. Go Blue

          • Mattski

            I’m mystified by why people aren’t into Brundidge. There must have been 20 posts here to date that evinced some mysterious need to take him down a peg in comparison to Burke.

            I can see that Burke has fire, and he can hit from outside–nothing else is a given, from what I can see, including how he handles getting banged around in the B10. We are going to struggle early against some very fine competition, and there is going to be a lot of gnashing of teeth. Beilein’s strategy of putting together a tough early-season slate is really going to be put to the test with Morris gone. It would have been so great for this kid to spend a year getting comfortable. Oh well!

            Dylan–as the summer wears on, I will be curious what you hear as to how Trey is meshing with team members in workouts, and what kind of approaches the rest of the team are taking to improve their games.

  • alan

    and i wonder how all this hype and talk about Burke is effecting Carlton…i wonder if he’s putting in the extra work like Trey to shock the world??? Any thoughts on if Carlton has been a forgotten man in all of this. If i remeber correctly before Burke came, carlton was a beast and very much in the discussion for the top player in Michigan. Can someone with knowledge comment on Carlton?

    • billiam

      I still think that CB is the better slasher, and that might lead to him getting PG minutes.

    • Sam

      Yeah, I have somewhat wondered the same things, but I have faith in Brundidge’s work ethic and drive. There was one really good article about him a little while back in some recruiting magazine that showed a tremendous thirst to improve, much like Burke, and a willingness to work hard to succeed. I actually think that when it’s all said and done, Brundidge will turn out to be the most productive member of this recruiting class. There is a reason he is rated higher than Burke on all the recruiting sites, and he is going to be an adept scorer one day. I also can see him playing a little 1 in his college career along with Burke. While he is generally listed at the 2, he did a lot of ball handling for Southfield and really everything ran through him, as their offense was very unorganized and very uncomplicated.

      • DMoney

        I think Brundidge could be more important for us next year than Burke. The one thing that Darius could do that we’re going to miss next year was he could get into the lane any time he wanted to, which opened up shots for everyone. We don’t have a guy on the roster who can do that. Hardaway is getting there, but the role he plays as a scorer is slightly different. If Brundidge can get into the lane, I think that makes a difference for us next year.

  • eddie

    My biggest concern with D-Mo leaving and Burke’s lack of size, strength and finishing ability is the void the team will have to fill in the paint. In 09-10, Deshawn got his points down low, but no one else was able to get production from inside the paint. In 10-11, D-Mo was able to get in the lane and finish, or dish to Morgan. If Burke isn’t able to penetrate with a threat to score, will our shooters get the open looks that they were able to get this past season? It became quite clear in 09-10, that having one low post option wasn’t enough. Teams let Sims get his and focused on stopping the shooters. That strategy didn’t work this year because D-Mo was so adept at breaking down a defense, getting underneath, and scoring in the lane or passing for a score in the lane.

    While Burke’s shooting is a BIG step-up at the PG position than what Beilein has had since he’s been here, I worry that teams will stack their defense on the perimeter and really cut down on our primary strength.

    I suppose that is why THJr and Brundige will be called upon to break down their man and get to the hole more often. That said, I have a feeling that Beilein will recognize what he has and we may see an entirely different offensive look this year.

    • georgeesq.

      Our big men are working on inside scoring moves. Morgan actually has pretty good footwork and uses the hoop to protect against shot blockers. Just hasn’t gotten that many chances.

      • Beast1530

        Actually, Morgan looks mechanical and awkward on doing post moves. Not real defined. He’ll work on it in the off-season as well as his mid-range jumper so he can be more of a threat in pick and roll even though he does a good job of rolling to the basket.

        • Other Matt

          I thought his little baby hook developed pretty nicely as the season went on.

  • Kevmc21

    Hey Dylan, what player from the past or present would you compare Trey Burke to? Either a former Michigan player or just anyone who seems like a good fit. Thanks!

    • Tweeter

      Two guys that he reminds me of. One, Jameer Nelson. Somewhat similar size, though Nelson is a bit thicker. But they are both primarily shooting point guards that can slash to the basket and understand how to use their bodies. Two, Victor Paige. Former Georgetown PG during part of the Iverson era. He was a lefty, but Burke plays at the same type of pace that Paige played with. That smooth pace where guys dont look like they are moving fast but they really are.

      • *JD*

        I’ll go with Travis Best.

  • Lee

    To answer the issue on Brundidge. He is controlling the things that he can control and that is taking it one day at a time. Its not about the notoriety Burke is getting because the young man desires the accolades. But you will be pleasantly surprise how much better Brundidge is after getting in shape. Brundidge was often at Michigan open gym and held is own against the current players. I can assure you they know how good this young man is and can be. The kid is now coming down the lane dunking the ball with ease during open gym at his high school,

    • bluerev

      Great to hear! I’d love to see B&B completely handle the point even this year, although I expect to see Douglass spend half his minutes at the point. I do expect B&B will be very capable of doing so by soph year with 25-30 minutes per game each. It would be a little shorter backcourt which make can make defense tougher, but offensively they will be hard to stop–with TB’s outside shot and CB’s ability to drive.

  • Kenny

    Burke and Craft has very similar ranking and size. He will be our starting PG by the conference play start.

  • JB…


    MSU picks up transfer guard from Valpo.

    • MichBall2010

      Wow. Huge pickup. Surprised more people aren’t talking about this. MSU was really lacking in both guards and guys who have had 2-3 years of experience. I think this pickup could help them from being a middle of the road big ten team to a team that hangs near the top of the standings all season and finishes somewhere 2-4 in the big ten.

      • KRN

        Meh, we’ll see. They still have other issues and holes to face with their roster.

    • Kenny

      good move by Izzo with no downside risk.

  • Brad

    gotta say, I’m a little confused about the “lack of elite athleticism” part… I understand that he’s not 6’4 and can fly, but he’s right around 6 foot, is extremely quick (I’d even argue that he’s quite fast) and can jump pretty well (I’ve seen highlights of him dunking)…for a pt. guard, how much more athletic can you get? He’s built pretty solid and can defend…so the only knock I can see is that he’s not taller. But I’d counter that by saying, how many pt. guards in the Big 10 are taller?

    • Tweeter

      agreed. I dont think athleticism is a big knock here. Yes, he may not have elite, NBA level athleticism. But he is plenty athletic for a college point guard. I would say he is well above average in that regard. Didnt he win some AAU dunk contest?

      His size is a knock though. He will probably struggle to defend bigger guards until he beefs up a bit and learns the tricks of the trade. Even at that point, he is going to have to make people pay for playing bigger guards against him, by scoring on the offensive side.

  • Mattski

    Well, Trey is game for the challenge:


    Didn’t see this posted anywhere. . . Pretty neat drills that his trainer gets up for him.