Trey Burke eclipses the 300-assist mark, about to pass Darius Morris on Michigan's all-time list
When Darius Morris declared for the 2011 NBA draft, a number of analysts sold the Wolverines down the river as a team that could have been good moving forward, instead casting them as a squad that would likely struggle without a top-notch point guard.
Oh, how wrong they were.
Michigan sophomore point guard Trey Burke scored 18 points and handed out 8 assists Wednesday night during the team's 68-46 win over Northwestern, passing both Louis Bullock and Ray Jackson -- both four-year players -- on the school's career assist list in the process.
Burke, who is now No. 13 on the all-time list, has 306 assists in his less than two-year Michigan career -- just 13 shy of Morris, who sits at No. 12.
"He's tough," Northwestern coach Bill Carmody said after the game. "He's just a very, very good player.
"You can try to concoct defenses to stop him, but he's not greedy, he finds guys."
Through 21 games this season, Burke's averaging 7.1 assists per contest. Not only is he on pace to become the first Big Ten player since Magic Johnson to average at least 17 points (Burke's averaging 17.9) and 7 assists per game for a full season, but he's also on pace to break Morris' single-season Michigan assist record.
In 2010-11, Morris' final year at Michigan, he handed out 235 assists in 35 games -- breaking a record that Gary Grant held for 23 years.
Less than two seasons later, Burke is on pace to hit 221 assists by the end of the regular season. If Burke stays at his average through two Big Ten tournament games, he'll tie Morris' record.
If Michigan can manage to play 34 games this season (which seems rather likely at this point), he's on pace to break it.
Not only is Burke on pace to break Morris' assist record, but he's also distributing the ball much more efficiently. Morris averaged 2.9 turnovers per game in '10-11. Right now, Burke has just 39 turnovers through 21 games -- a minuscule average of just 1.8 per night.
"I'm just valuing (the ball) more this year," Burke said Wednesday. "Last year, I don't think I valued it as much. This year, I know it's real important for us to get as many possessions as we can.
"I think that's why we're so good on the offensive end."
Two years ago, Michigan had a point guard in Morris who looked like he was poised to become the team's next great star.
Two years later, Michigan has a point guard in Burke -- who is the team's current great star, as has the Wolverines at No. 1 in the country for the first time since 1992.
Apparently, a lot can happen in 24 months.
"He's the big key factor to all of this," Michigan freshman forward Glenn Robinson III said Wednesday. "He just reached his 300th assist, and I told somebody before, he just seems to find us at the right place at the right time."
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