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May 23, 2013Former Michigan point guard Trey Burke continues to impress even after leaving U-M for his shot at the NBA. Most believe he'll go in the first eight picks, and he's even more optimistic.
Burke told The Huge Show's Bill Simonson Saturday he'd heard he could go anywhere from No. 2 to No. 6. If he falls to No. 8 he'll be a Detroit Piston, playing only a few miles from Ann Arbor.
"It's pretty much a toss up now, up in the air," he said. "I'm looking forward to seeing what happens in the next month or so.
"It would absolutely be great being able to play for the Pistons right there near where I always played for Michigan. It would be wonderful, and I would be looking forward to it if it were to happen."
Burke nearly left after his freshman season, but he chose to stick it out for another year. He predicted a deep run in the NCAA Tournament before the season and proved prophetic.
"It was the right thing to do, go back to school, mature a little more not only in the game but mentally," he said. "It was the right decision I got the right advice last year thinking about it from my coaching staff and family.
"We had three [highly rated] freshmen, five total, complement the team and everybody coming back. No. 1, the mindset was to win and compete for a national championship. They told me the NBA was going to be there after one year and I could come back and improve my game, stay in school for an extra year. Next year I'd have the same opportunity, and it worked out.
"I had said in summer this team could compete for a national championship, and I told the media. I said that because I honestly felt that way. I was with the team every day in open gym, the type of talent we had. I saw the potential we had. It showed in full by the end of the year going all the way to the national championship game."
Now all that's left is to show he can do it at the next level, something he's eager to prove.
"They came a couple times, but not a lot," he said. "They pretty much knew what they wanted to do. I told him that at end of day it came down to their decisions. There were a lot of guys pulling them in different directions, so they had to make the decisions themselves.
"I think either was right for them. Either one of them could have left or stayed. I was supporting them 100 percent whatever their decision was and I told them that, but with the guys they have coming back next year and the incoming freshmen, they can be just as good."
Burke added he had no doubt Tim Hardaway Jr., now projected by some to go as high as No. 23 overall, would find success in the NBA.
"We talked about it on different occasions, and it ended up how we finished as a team, they way he played," Burke said. "The best thing for him to go pro, as well. There's no doubt in my mind wherever he goes he will be a great player for that team. He's a guy who will do whatever it takes for his team to win just like he did at Michigan. He's a high volume shooter. When you have those qualities, you'll be a good player. I think it was the right decision for him."
"A lot of people will say the shot, but just after that win we went into the next couple of games with momentum," Burke said. "That was one of the greatest wins I've ever been part of, being down the whole game and winning going on that run. It was the best moment I had with Michigan."
Head coach John Beilein proved to be the perfect coach for his progress, Burke said.
"Coach allows players to play through mistakes, gave players confidence," he said. "I didn't expect the type of freedom I had within the offense. That was one of the most important things about playing for Michigan. One of the things I appreciated about the coaching staff was how they played with freedom."