Trey Burke will announce his intention to enter the NBA Draft on Sunday, shifting the focus of the college basketball world to Michigan's upcoming season. With decisions still to come from Glenn Robinson III, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Mitch McGary, a lot more will shake out before the April 28 deadline to declare. But how, specifically, will coach John Beilein use his returning cast and incoming freshman to replace a Naismith winner?
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The short answer: he can't. Burke led the Wolverines in points, minutes, assists, steals and free throw percentage in his sophomore season. He acted as the primary ball-handler and was the go-to option late in games. That was evident in the NCAA Tournament when he nailed a 30-footer to send the game against Kansas into overtime, a game Michigan would go on to win. Odds are that no one player can replicate that production in 2013-2014, but Beilein has some options to play with.
Returning are three guards who were part of the Wolverines' rotation last season, all as freshman. Nik Stauskas was a sniper from downtown, hitting 44 percent of his three-pointers and logging over 30 minutes per game. At 6'6, the Ontario native's size will continue to make trouble for Big Ten defenders looking to close out an excellent shooter. Caris LeVert and Spike Albrecht were true bench players combining for almost 20 minutes per game. Spike had a memorable moment or two, if you remember. If Albrecht can improve his handle, his range and fearlessness could be a weapon in the reduced Wolverine arsenal. LeVert, however, hasn't shown much of the shooting ability he was recruited for, but will continue to use his superior athleticism to log valuable minutes as a sophomore.
As for as the incoming recruiting class, coach Beilein has some potentially special talent. In addition to forwards Zak Irvin and Mark Donnal, Michigan signed Detroit's Derrick Walton -- a point guard. Walton is ranked No. 35 on the ESPN100 and, like Burke, stands six feet tall. As the heir apparent to the Big Ten Player of the Year, a lot will be expected of Walton, especially if Hardaway and company decide to follow Burke to the NBA.
Michigan will certainly enter the 2013-2014 season with lowered expectations after a major re-shuffle. But with a combination of maturing guards, a fresh face to lead the point and maybe even a healthy Jordan Morgan, the Wolverines could make a splash as a borderline contender next March.