In the midst of a fantastic Final Four run, Michigan’s basketball program could have just been dealt some bad news on Thursday. According to reports, both Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. will jump to the NBA after this season.
Darren Heitner, a sports business writer for Forbes, is reporting that both Burke and Hardaway are headed to the league. Burke was just named the AP’s Player of the Year and has been projected as a top 20 pick all year, with the possibility of jumping into the Top 10. So obviously it would make sense if the sophomore took off after this year.
But Hardaway Jr. has a lot of work to do on his stock. The junior guard has averaged 14.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game this season, but is almost universally regarded as a fringe first-round pick at best. At 6’6′ and 205 pounds, Hardaway Jr. has decent size for a shooting guard, and is an excellent three-point shooter (38.7 percent this season), but he’s not well-rounded offensively and his defensive effort leaves much to be desired.
Freshman Glen Robinson III’s stock is also on the rise and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he left after this season as well. He is solidly regarded as a mid-first-round pick and could go higher if he proves he can consistently hit outside shots. His raw athleticism and aggressiveness have some teams salivating over what he could become with some seasoning.
If those three guys leave early to the NBA, the Wolverines could be in serious trouble next season. In what is sure to be a stacked Big Ten, they would only bring back Mitch McGary and Nik Stauskas among their key contributors. There will be a serious leadership void, and those two will have to step up and be big-time contributors. Both guys have the potential to do just that, but they will need some serious help.