The Michigan Wolverines ended up being the runners-up in the National Championship game. Really though, they have nothing to be ashamed of and the program as a whole seems to be more than just stabilized, but are now a possible perennial force to be reckoned with.
Now, however, the program needs to worry about which players are headed to the NBA and which are returning to the program for at least one more season.
Trey Burke feels like he just has to go pro. There is nothing else, outside of winning a National Title, left for the National Player of the Year to do. This is a situation, regardless of where he is on mock boards, that his stock can only be hurt by coming back. Whatever you think of him as a player, the idea of his potential far outweighs his limitations on the court. Coming back for another season would only end up hurting his potential tag.
Tim Hardaway Jr. is a pretty interesting player. He is a player that is in a different position than most. Assuming he is not hurting for money, Hardaway will only go if he feels like he is ready and his stock won’t get any higher. If Burke were to leave, however, it could provide Hardaway with a better role in the program and establish his stock by coming back for next season.
Another son of the NBA, Glenn Robinson III, is as intriguing as he is not actually ready to be a pro. His potential as a player is so high that if he were to come out, he would be a first-round draft selection. His game is not ready for the pros, but that hasn’t stopped a slew of other players from declaring for the draft in the past.
Oh, Mitch McGary. The freshman became a lottery pick thanks to a few good performances. Then, in one game, he was exposed while playing against an actual NBA-type of player. Personally I have always felt that, at best, McGary would end up being a high-end role player on someone’s bench. His decision to come back will likely rest on how badly his draft stock was hurt because of a lackluster title game.
If I were him, though, I would cash in now as coming back next year and under-performing could be a deathblow to any NBA chances.
Everyone else of significance is coming back next season. It is not impossible to think that the Wolverines might only lose Burke. Heck, even Burke may want to suit up in a Michigan uniform for one more year. The worst case scenario is for their big four to declare, but I can’t see them all making the leap — if only for some of their ability to improve their draft stock with the departure of one or two other NBA hopefuls.