Trey Burke might not have the biggest feet, but he sure will have massive shoes to fill for Derrick Walton next season at Michigan.
Burke was the Wooden Award winner last season, dominating Michigan’s opponents from the point guard position like no other player in the country. He averaged 18.6 points and 6.7 assists, while shooting 46.3 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from three, while maintaining a terrific 3-1 assist to turnover ratio. Burke not only was a dangerous, dynamic scorer, he also was able to facilitate as well as any other point guard. He not only was great, he made his teammates better. Very few college basketball point guards are able to do that; completely dominate a basketball game, night in and night out.
Walton is likely to be the starter next year. At just six-feet tall and 170 pounds, Walton has a nearly identical build to Burke’s. Walton is a high four-star player recruit, according to Rivals, sitting at No. 37 in the country. Walton is the No. 8 ranked point guard in his class, while Burke was just the No. 19 player at point guard in the 2011 class.
However, it would be more than unfair to make the expectations of Walton match the similarities he has with Burke. Walton is clearly very talented, but Burke was the best player in America. What Burke did as a freshman, winning Big Ten Freshman of the Year and being named an All-American, was incredibly rare and incredibly surpassed with an even more exceptional sophomore year.
If Walton can start throughout the season, while facilitating to Michigan’s trio of talented sophomores (Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary) it will be a successful freshman year. Anything more would just be icing on the cake for John Beilein and Michigan.
Derrick Walton could be special, but to compare him to Trey Burke before he has even played a collegiate game is unfair to both of them and silly.
As Walton told The Detroit News, “I can’t be Trey. I’ve got to be me.”