Feb. 24, 2013
By Morgan Bailey, U-M Public & Media Relations
To reach 1,000 career points is a landmark that only a distinguished number of Wolverines have been able to accomplish, and to do so in only two years is a feat that a very select number (7) of Wolverines can claim. Amongst the short list of extremely talented players in Michigan history are Bill Buntin (1963-64), Cazzie Russel (1964-65) and Phil Hubbard (1976-77), all of whom have their jerseys hanging in the rafters of Crisler Center, forever honored. Sophomore point guard Trey Burke is now amongst those players, scoring his 1,000th point Sunday afternoon (Feb. 24), in the Wolverines' victory over Illinois.
"It's definitely an honor to be able to say that I have hit that mark here in only my sophomore year at Michigan," Burke commented following the game. "I'm just honored to be mentioned with that great group of guys like Cazzie Russel, Phil Hubbard and the others who accomplished this as well. They paved the way for me to be here today, they brought this program to what it is now."
With only seven points in the first half against the Illini, Burke and the Wolverines returned with a vengeance in the second half to take down Illinois, 71-58. Burke had 26 points total and eight assists in the contest.
"I couldn't have reached this point without my teammates," said Burke. "They set me up, they hit me when I'm open, and Coach Beilein does a great job getting me in space to make plays for the team. It's not as hard to reach 1,000 points with a group of guys like we have."
Burke is only the seventh sophomore in Michigan history to hit the landmark in his sophomore year and the 11th Wolverine to do so in their second year after factoring in freshman ineligibility.
"That's a lot of points in under two years," head coach John Beilein commented. "He has had a great mix of leading us in assists and leading us in points -- not a lot of people can do that."
Burke now joins fellow teammate Tim Hardaway Jr. with more than 1,000 career points; Hardaway became the 46th Wolverine to reach the landmark earlier this season when the Wolverines defeated Slippery Rock on Nov. 9. With both guards averaging better than 15 points per game and driving Michigan's dynamic offense, the duo has been regarded as one of the best backcourt combinations in the nation.
"It's great to be out there with Trey and know where each other are out there on the court," Hardaway said. "It comes with preparation, which we have been doing since the summer. It's just great to have him back there with me. You only get to the 1,000 point mark if you do it as a team. My team helped me get there, and now we've helped him get there. It's really great."
"It makes me a much better coach than I am, to have both of them out there," Coach Beilein remarked. "They look for each other, they're defending well, and they're great leaders; it's truly a pleasure coaching them. They do things instinctively on the court that you can't teach, yet they are very receptive to being taught, and that makes us better as well."
Throughout the week, Burke was well aware of how close he was to landmark, thanks to the reminders from his family. "My mom couldn't remind me enough this week that I only needed to get 13 points to hit 1,000," Burke laughed. "Once I got fouled with 12 points, I knew that I needed one more point. I just tried to be calm on the free throw line and knock them down. I'm honored by the accomplishment, and I just want to thank my teammates and coaches -- they're the ones that put me in this position."
"That is a very special moment," Hardaway said, as he can relate to the feeling. "Trey works very hard in the gym and gets up as many shots as possible. He's just an all-around player. We love him to death and congratulations to him."
The impressive landmark is just one of several accomplishments that have landed Burke as a Top 12 finalist for the Bob Cousy Top Point Guard Award and Oscar Robertson Player of the Year Award. He also remains as one of the finalist for the John Wooded Player of the Year Award.
The Wolverines are back in action on Wednesday (Feb. 27), as they travel to State College, Pa., to face Penn State.