Burke: Wolverines are “national championship contenders”

Dylan Burkhardt
on

bilde[1]Trey Burke insists he “wasn’t close to leaving” but Michigan’s point guard had one foot in the NBA draft in April. Three months later, Burke is back and focused on just one thing: winning. With the 2012 draft in the rear view mirror, Burke has no regrets and is ready for move forward.

“I’m really happy [with my decision],” Burke said. “The freshmen look great and we have a lot of experience coming back. Everyone looks good out there. We have that chemistry from last year combined with the freshmen coming in and I really think we are national championship contenders.”

Now Burke isn’t focused on the past. He’s focused on improving this summer to make this year’s Michigan squad better than the one before it.

The Wolverines are more athletic than a season ago. John Beilein has a more versatile collection of players from the post to the perimeter and his returning leaders have seen as much in practice.

“I think this team is very versatile. We can go big, go small, go slashing with all guards and Mitch,” Hardaway explained. “We just have to wait and see. Coach Beilein has been talking to everyone about [how they fit]. Coaches are going to do whatever they can to make everyone feel comfortable.”

Burke feels the Wolverines can fight for a national championship by building on last year’s disappointments.

“I feel like [we are national championship contenders] because last year a lot of people overlooked us. A lot of people didn’t think we were that good,” Burke explained. “Us losing to Ohio gave us experience and we know what to do in those situations now. That was the most disappointing time of the year. It was really like a dream to me. I just saw us going further than that whether Sweet 16 or Elite Eight.”

“Next year will be different. We’re ready for the challenges.”

Burke wasn’t sure what went wrong down the stretch last season. He wouldn’t say the Wolverines were overconfident or overlooked Ohio, pointing out that Michigan was a common upset pick, but couldn’t put his finger on the problem before settling on a season long diagnosis.

Slow starts.

“Our main problem was that we started slow.” Burke said. “Remember the Arkansas game, we got down 20 points and then had to work our way back. I’m going to try to get this team to come out [from the tip] with the same intensity that we had in the second half in each game [last year].”

Hardaway, who pledged to rebuild the Wolverine program when he made his commitment to John Beilein, wouldn’t discount the progress that’s been made but insisted the end goal is something much more.

“It’s rebuilt but we have a long way to go,” Hardaway said. “We are trying to get to the national championship just like everyone else. Until we get there, it’s still rebuilding.”

  • COOP15

    love the confidence…sky is the limit and with the athletic guys we have coming in just makes it that much more sweet….GO BLUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • sarah

    Anyone else a season ticket holder who is probably going to get hurt in this new seating program? I have been attending every home game for the past 18 years and because I can’t afford to pay a huge donation I won’t have my same seat this year and who knows where I will end up. I am curious to what other’s thoughts are about our AD showing no loyalty to those who were there after some successful seasons. I will still be there..but curious to others thoughts.

    • geoffclarke

      I just wrote a long response, but had trouble posting. Anyway, I’m in the same boat as you and think the AD could have taken a few measures to appease us returning season ticket holders. For example, I think they GROSSLY miscalculated the bonus priority points they gave us, among other things.

    • A2JD

      There are definitely some things that Domino’s Dave Brandon just doesn’t get. He’s most focused on making money for the school. Alum/Fan loyalty and tradition seem to occasionally fall by the wayside.

      • geoffclarke

        Hopefully he doesn’t alienate the loyal fans who aren’t currently, but one day may be, bigger donors. I may fall in that category.

        • A2JD

          I like what he’s done with the Spring Game and I like the outdoor hockey games (both U of M and the upcoming Wings game) but the bumble bee football unis, piping in music during football (nobody needs to hear “Don’t Stop Believing” for the 1 millionth time. At least just have the band play it.) and the jacking up of prices seems like he doesn’t really know or care about his fanbase. We don’t need Michigan Stadium to become JerryWorld North.

  • http://twitter.com/sshields1989 Stephen Shields

    Goals of this season: Sweep MSU. Take 1 of 2 from ohio. Win the B1G. Make it to at least the Elite 8.

    • A2JD

      I think we have a better shot at sweeping ohio than spartie. I expect another split there.

  • section13row15

    I was in the 15th row the past 4 years and I didn’t even make a PSD tier because my points are so low. It is a travesty.