Nov. 13, 2012
By Morgan Bailey, U-M Public & Media Relations
On the night of his 20th birthday Monday (Nov. 12), sophomore guard Trey Burke finished the game with 22 points and tied a career high with nine assists in helping lead the University of Michigan men's basketball team to a 91-54 victory over IUPUI in the NIT Season Tip-Off opener. The win was even more special for Burke because it was the first time this season his parents were in the stands watching him.
"It is very exciting to be back," Trey's mother, Rhonda Burke, remarked during the game on Monday. "The fact that the new Crisler Center is so new and gorgeous, it makes it that much better -- it's like stepping in here the first time as if he were a freshman. I brought him on his first visit here and they were showing us blueprints of what it was going to look like, but the pictures did not do it justice."
With Burke considering entering the NBA draft after last season, the Burkes were not sure whether or not they would be watching him play this season at Crisler Center. With the decision made, his mom is more than thrilled with Trey's decision.
"Trying to make that decision last year was very stressful," commented Mrs. Burke. "But I'm so glad he made the right decision and came back for another year. He's really excited to be here -- it's a great team and we're having fun already."
Burke first picked up a basketball when he was just three years old -- 17 years ago to this day. Taking the time to reflect back on the past 17 years of his career, his mother commented about the first game the point guard ever played in.
"He first picked up a basketball when he was three years old in our basement," Mrs. Burke reflected. "When he started playing on a team he was four years old, but you had to be five in order play in this league. He actually wasn't even four yet, but they made an exception to allow him to play. We have a highlight of him making a hook shot at the age of three. It seems so long ago."
According to Burke, his age was not the only exception that league made for him to play.
"I don't remember the first game, but I definitely remember the league," Burke said. "They changed the rules for me because every time I went over half court I stole the ball. They said I couldn't go over half court because it wouldn't be fair because I was faster than everybody else."
Even though he's a year older today, Burke remarked that it was a good day because he got to spend it with his family and team.
"It means a lot to have my parents here," Burke said after the game. "It shows how much support they give us and I love them for that. I don't feel older; it's just a good day. I'm glad that I was able to spend my 20th birthday on a day like this with my team and getting a win. We still have a lot of work to do, but it was a great day."
The Wolverines need just one more win in order to advance to New York, N.Y., to play in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off. Already hopeful about Michigan's chances, the Burkes have planned a family vacation around the experience.
"Trey and I are the only people in our family who have never been to New York," Mrs. Burke commented. "We already have reservations for everything and we're exciting to make a family vacation out of it."
The Wolverines will have a quick turnaround, as they face Cleveland State on Tuesday night (Nov. 13) at 8 pm. A win on Tuesday would secure the Wolverines' ticket to the Big Apple, where the team is more than hopeful to spend their Thanksgiving holiday.