One week after losing a heartbreaking national championship game, Michigan guard Trey Burke, the recently named National Player of the Year, was in Oklahoma City to accept the Oscar Robertson Trophy.
And because of that, he was able to give his unique perspective on one of the hottest topics in the local sports scene: Should Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart go pro?
Burke didn't specifically direct Smart either way, but rather shared his own personal experience from a year ago.
Although not projected to go as high, Burke had the opportunity to skip his final three seasons in Ann Arbor for a chance to go to the NBA.
Instead, he stayed put, grew as a player and person, averaged 18.6 points and 6.7 assists and led Michigan to its first Final Four since 1993.
Burke has already declared for this June's NBA Draft and is projected as a top-10 pick. And looking back, he shared his opinion on how that original decision to stay might have benefitted him in the long run.
Q: What are your thoughts on the one-and-done rule?
A: “I think everybody's situation is different. Everybody is in different scenarios. I feel like if you have that opportunity and you feel like you're ready, then you should be able to look into that opportunity or want to see where you stand in the draft, like I did last year. Some people may want to go after the first year because of their financial situation, because of their family situation, they need to take care of people. So everybody's situation is different and I can't just sit up here and say everybody goes through the same process. So it's going to all come down to your heart.”
But coming back for another season seemed to benefit you personally, correct?
“Definitely. I was able to come back for another year, grow mentally and physically and I was able to be more of a leader really. That was one of the biggest areas I needed to grow, being more of a leader and allowing my team to hear my voice out there and I think I did a good job of that.”
What about from a personal standpoint?
“Going back to school and the whole college experience, that was something I needed again after my first year and I wanted to come back and still be a kid, be a kid again, go to school and get the whole college experience and I think that allowed me to grow up as well.”
Have you been able to see much of Marcus Smart?
“I've seen him play a couple games. It's hard to see guys out of the conference, because we don't play against them, but me just being a basketball fan, knowing good players, I've seen him play. He's a phenomenal player.”
What kind of ride was this year for you?
“Lot of ups and downs as a team. But as far as the whole year, I think we had a really good year as a team. We came through a lot of challenges and overcame a lot of challenges and it's allowed us to grow as a team and make a deep run in March. Overall, I had a pretty good year in my opinion. But I'm my biggest critic, so I'd be lying if I sat up here and said I had a great year, but I think I did a good job of leading this team, coming back my second year and being more of a voice on the court.”