Michigan's Trey Burke wins Big Ten Player of the Year award
Burke becomes the first Michigan player to capture the honor since Glen Rice won the award in 1989, and the sixth player in school history to win the award -- joining Cazzie Russell (1965-66), Campy Russell (1974), Roy Tarpley (1985), Gary Grant (1988) and Rice.
The award was announced live on the Big Ten Network on Monday evening. Burke was the consensus player of the year, selected by both the league's coaches and media.
"I feel honored," said Burke, who became just the eighth sophomore in league history to win the honor. "It was something I wanted to do coming into college, and I know I'd never have been able to win this award without my teammates and coaching staff."
Michigan's sophomore point guard beat out Indiana junior Victor Oladipo for the honor. Both players were considered the main frontrunners for the better part of the year, and both are also considered frontrunners for every national player of the year award as well.
Burke said he never tried to make anything personal with Oladipo, and said he just tried to focus on winning.
"Victor's a really good player, it could have went either way," said Burke, whose team fell to Indiana, 72-71, on Sunday. "Obviously we had a devastating loss yesterday, and we've got more work to do.
"We've got the Big Ten Tournament coming up and the NCAA tournament. I'm looking forward to getting better."
Burke's two-year career at Michigan has been short, and he could declare for the NBA draft this June, but it's definitely been one for the ages.
The 6-foot-1 Columbus, Ohio native came to Michigan as a three-star prospect in 2012 as a hopeful replacement for record-setting point guard Darius Morris.
Burke not only replaced Morris, he became an improvement.
"We don't make a very big deal about the individual awards during the year," Michigan coach John Beilein said in a statement. "However, this is a huge honor for Michigan basketball, for the players individually and their teammates because they are a big part of this as well. We can't say enough about Trey (Burke) and what he has meant for this program, what he has meant to the Big Ten and really what he has meant to the national profile of the Big Ten.
"He's a terrific competitor and a great teammate, and it is a great pleasure to coach him every day."
Burke exploded onto the scene as a freshman, winning co-Big Ten Freshman of the Year last season, and has skyrocketed into the nation's elite as a sophomore in 2012-13.
Burke has led the Big Ten in assists all season long, and currently averages 6.8 helpers per game. He finished the regular season with a scoring average of 19.2 points per game. His 594 points technically made him the league's leading scorer, but he played one more game than Ohio State's Deshaun Thomas, who averaged 19.7 points per game.
Fourth nationally with an assist-turnover ratio of 3.5, Burke has scored at least 15 points in every Big Ten game this season -- the only player in the league to do so.
He's just the 11th player in Michigan history to break the 1,000-point barrier in less than two seasons, and he's 24 assists shy of breaking Morris' single-season helper mark.
Burke also hopes to become the first player in Michigan history to claim either the Wooden, Naismith or Robertson national player of the year awards.
"It means a lot to me, to be the first (Michigan) player since Glen Rice to win this award," Burke said. "That goes to show just how prestigious this award is.
"We obviously wanted to get a share of the Big Ten (title on Sunday), and we were very close. ... But that wasn't our only goal, we have bigger goals in mind, and in order for us to accomplish those goals, we have to see what we can improve on."
Michigan (25-6, 12-6) opens up Big Ten Tournament play at 2:30 p.m. Thursday (Big Ten Network) with a first-round matchup against Penn State at the United Center in Chicago.
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