Burke, Hardaway among standouts at LeBron James Skills Academy

Dylan Burkhardt

Photo: ESPN

Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke participated in the Kevin Durant Skills Academy and Deron Williams Skills Academy in early June. Both players were impressive enough in their respective 20-man positional groups to earn an invitation to the LeBron James Skills Academy in Las Vegas. LeBron’s camp features the top 20 players, regardless of position, from the other Nike Skills Academies.

The group gathered in Vegas featured a pair of consensus All-Americans from a year ago in Doug McDermott and Isaiah Canaan as well as two other Big Ten players, Ohio State’s LaQuinton Ross and Penn State’s Tim Frazier. The full roster with measured heights, weights and wingspans can be found here.

In an event open to the media and NBA scouts, both Burke and Hardaway impressed once more, a theme of hte summer, drawing praise as some of the top college standouts in attendance.

ProBasketballDraft.com was in attendance at the event and tabbed Michigan’s duo among the group’s best:

Among the standouts were Michigan PG Trey Burke and SG Tim Hardaway Jr., Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum, Murray State PG Isaiah Canaan, North Texas forward Tony Mitchell, and UNLV’s Mike Moser. All five players showed improved skills from the previous season and Burke in particular looked outstanding.

Pro Basketball Draft rattled off several lists of superlatives as well. Both Burke and Hardaway were picked among the top three slashers (Burke 1, Hardaway 2) while Burke also received praise as the second best mid-range shooter in attendance.

Hoopniks.com called Burke “arguably the top lead guard in attendance” among college players:

Trey Burke was arguably the top lead guard in attendance. He showed efficient shot-making, distributed the basketball and had an all-around game. He should be one of the elite point guards in college basketball next season as he continues to progress and impress with his skill level.

We exchanged e-mails with Raphielle Johnson (of NBE Sports and College Basketball Talk) and James Kerti (PremierBall.com), both of whom were in attendance in Las Vegas, to gather more feedback on the Michigan duo’s performance.

“[Burke] controlled the basketball well over the weekend and demonstrated good body control,” Kerti said. “He was patient with the ball and facilitated offense.”

Burke drew Johnson’s eye as well in a number of elements, not just the pick-and-roll or any specific drills individually. Where Burke truly separated himself was with his jumpshot, something that Johnson reported every “help defender was aware of during pick-and-roll situations”.

Johnson pointed out that Hardaway’s weekend was “a bit quiet in comparison [to Burke’s]” but added that Hardaway shot the ball very well.

“Hardaway’s shot was solid. He never really got hot or cold from my view,” Johnson said. “But he wasn’t as spotty as he was last season, and that’s a positive.”

Kerti emphasized Hardaway’s length and smooth game, noting that the Michigan junior did a great job defensively “disrupting ball handlers and getting in passing lanes” during scrimmage action.

WolverineNation’s Chantel Jennings spoke to both Burke and Hardaway about their camp experience and both players hit the requisite offseason points: get others involved, rebounding and growing as a team.

“My focus is to bring more to the team than just scoring,” Burke said. “I am trying to get everyone involved and making others around me better. Having the feel of scoring and running the point is one of the biggest things that I must learn. I am working on that in every session here at camp.”

Prep prospects impress

A pair of top Michigan recruiting targets – 2014 Devin Booker and 2013 Reggie Cameron – were in attendance with the high school group, which featured roughly 80 players.

As seems to be the case at every national event, Booker received praise from at least one national scout in attendance. ESPN raved about Booker’s showing on day two and pointed out his strong play once again on day threel:

Booker is a smooth wing who can really shoot, has improved off the dribble and has begun showing true toughness on the court. He is good now, but still shows a nice upside. Despite playing with older players, Booker has not been afraid or hesitant to be aggressive and assertive, which are traits of a true star in the making.

Kerti also shared his opinions on both Booker and Cameron:

Devin Booker has a quick release on his outside shot, which is particularly effective off the catch. Though he’s not a breakdown player, he has a solid handle.

Reggie Cameron has a good jump shot from midrange and out to beyond the arc. His instincts and feel for the game make him an asset to his team, especially on the defensive end of the floor.


Of course with so many national scouts tucked away in a Las Vegas gym, there was plenty of sideline tweeting taking place. Here are some of the highlights featuring Michigan players and recruits.

  • GregGoBlue

    Looks like staying in college for another year and hitting up the camp circuit has been helpful for Burke’s draft stock already.

    • Daniel

      No kidding. It seems like he’s been lighting it up everywhere. I think people seriously underestimate his work ethic; a year ago, people didn’t think he’d be anything more than an average college player. Now, we’re even having conversations about how well he could do in the NBA.

  • michaeltheoriginal

    Burke is awesome, by all accounts. Really, my favorite player. But damn, he looks really small in this picture. And he IS small. I’m sorry but I just don’t think he will be an impact NBA player. I can see him being an absolute beast and star in college for years to come, but if you’re gonna be that small you need to have lightening speed in the NBA. And for all of Burke’s virtues, he isn’t Nate Archibald, Spud Webb, or Mugsey Bogues.

    • geoffclarke

      He is strong and probably getting stronger and has a 6’5″ wingspan. Plus, he was named as the top slasher. I’m not saying he’ll be an all star, but I think he can make a good career in the NBA.

      • A2JD

        Travis Best is who he reminds me of. Travis had a solid but not great NBA career. He was still great in college. I think Trey can at least duplicate that level of play, if not surpass it. He’ll certainly put in the work.

        • geoffclarke

          Like this comparison.

    • Ghoward44

      Scouts are saying he was better than 3 of the 4 point guards drafted this year in the 1st round. Being measured in shoes at 6’1 he’s fine. Being one of the best at this camps are the same players he will be competing against for a draft position. I think he’s made his point!!

      • A2JD

        It looks like he was measured at 6’0″ in shoes. That still may be enough in the eyes of scouts.

    • Steve2081

      Those guys were all freakishly short for the NBA. Trey would only be slightly undersized.

  • webbdog

    Does Burke look really small or is Hardaway really Huge?

    • Daniel


    • A2JD

      It looks like TIMMAY is standing a few inches closer to the camera. Then again, TH Jr. is 6’6″ and Trey is 6’0″. Probably a combination of those two factors.

  • familyfirst11805

    Trey is a workhorse and everytime we say “he can’t”, he proves “he can”. 6’1 (w/shoes) and a 6’5 wing span ain’t bad for a PG… Let’s enjoy him and the Michigan team this year and let the future playout however it’s meant to be…I’m truly excited about U of M and the possibilities of an aMAIZEing season!! GO BLUE

    • serious

      Where are you guys getting 6’1 with shoes? Did you click the link? It says 6’0 with shoes… we can stop exaggerating his height now.

      • familyfirst11805

        Ok, take an inch from him…He’ll still go to work. I’m just wonder why all the focus on his height instead of his ability???????????? Wonder what the next negative focus will be?? LMBO!

      • jblair52

        Seriously “serious”?!? (ha ha) Who cares…don’t get your panties in a bunch over 1 inch

      • Billiam

        he has the same wingspan as THJ. U iz silly.

        ^Size<Wingspan for PGs. Like, der.

  • gwizzy

    i can’t even begin to express to you how excited I am for this season

  • goblueballer13

    a little off topic but i was trying to get the gameday torrent from mich-ohio game last year and am stuck with no seeds. was wondering if anyone had this?

  • leon jones

    I think once McGary and the boys start laying waste of their opponents this season, the commitments will come in fast and furious.

    • Steve2081

      I like the way you think.

  • troy

    who wins a national title first–hoke or beilein??

    • jblair52

      Hoke…only because football season will roll around before basketball season! BOOM!

      • familyfirst11805

        Nice!!!! Lol

  • gobluemd16

    Trey Burke will win B1G Player of the Year this season.