Dunking has become somewhat of a habit for Trey Burke. So much so that one of the referees confused him high-flying hot-doggers that hang on the rim a little too long after slamming one through.
“I think I was just going too fast,” Burke explained laughingly. “Once I got the steal I thought there was someone behind me. Little did I know, there wasn’t anyone behind me. I was just going 100 miles per hour.”
“If it’s a clear lane, I’m dunking. I mean, why not? Coach Sanderson didn’t work on my legs for nothing. He gets on me about (dunking when there’s an opportunity) anyway.”
Burke’s two-handed stuff was the exclamation point on an effort that was sometimes pretty, but was more often was gritty. Arkansas cut a double-digit lead to a single point with midway through the second half. Burke’s all-around effort was key in fending off the Razorbacks. The sophomore floor general notched five points, three rebounds, two assists, and a block in nearly twelve straight minutes of play coming out of the intermission.
“I couldn’t really feel when to take over or not. I just kept getting in the paint. If the shot was there than the shot was there. If it wasn’t, then someone was open. I kind of got on Nik because I feel like he had a couple shots where he could have just knocked it in, but he put the ball on the ground and kind of let the defense recover. Me knowing him, if I kick It to him I know he is going to knock the shot down if he just shoots it. It just a matter of… and I say this every day… making reads. Their defense kind of created offense for us by their pressuring. I think we did a good job of responding to their runs.”
“Last year we may have lost that game, but this year we have more depth. With Jon and Mitch coming off the bench we have more size. We got a lot of extra possessions on offense.”
Those extra possessions played a major role in the Wolverines finishing with all five starters in double figures.
“I think that’s when we’re at our best… when multiple guys are hitting and guys are looking for each other,” Burke said afterward. “We can be a special team if we play like that…if we continue to let the offense talk and let other teams’ defense create offense for us.”
As good as the Wolverines have been, Burke knows that they can be even better. For them to do so he’ll have to continue to exhibit the kind of next-level play that he has in the last four games. During that stint Burke has averaged 17.5 and dished out 30 assists while committing only five turnovers. He credits his summer of training with pros like All-Star guard Chris Paul for his outstanding improvement.
“I learned a lot of things,” he said. “Different reads off the pick & rolls and screens… just making smarter plays out there. I think last year I was kind of playing off of instincts and talent… not really making reads before it happened. I think this year I’m a lot more comfortable with the offense. I know what to call. If coach Beilein doesn’t call a play I can call a play and guys will be more comfortable.”
For the full video interview with Burke, press play below.