Trey Burke will walk across the podium during Thursday night’s NBA Draft and shake the hand of NBA commissioner David Stern as a likely lottery pick. The former Michigan point guard led the Wolverines to the title game as a sophomore this past season, but two years ago, Burke was tasked with replacing Darius Morris after Morris left Ann Arbor early for the NBA.
Now that incoming freshman Derrick Walton has set foot on the Ann Arbor campus this past weekend, his journey as Michigan’s next point guard begins.
Thankfully, Walton — the runner-up for Michigan’s Mr. Basketball in 2013, slightly behind Iowa State commit Monte Morris — isn’t being asked to fill the gigantic void left by the early departure of Burke.
Michigan head coach John Beilein wants Walton, a pass-first 6’0 point guard, to be his own player and not focus on comparisons as noted in a story by Nick Baumgardner for MLive.
John Beilein doesn’t expect Walton to be the next Trey Burke. He expects him to be the first Derrick Walton.“We’re very limited on comparisons,” Beilein said last week. “Other than the things we know about work habits. Just have the work habits and focus. Unpack your bags, you’re here for eight weeks. Unpack your bags, you’re here for four years unless something happens that’s really extraordinary — like what happened with Tim and Trey.“We’re not a stopover, we’re a destination. And that’s the approach we use.”
While Walton isn’t currently projected as an early NBA draft candidate at this current point in his career, it will be interesting to see how Walton develops not only as Michigan’s potential starting point guard next season, but also as a potential pro prospect after a few years of seasoning.
Michigan coach John Beilein has done a great job getting point guards like Morris and Burke to the NBA even though they didn’t have the best pro potential entering college so Walton will be the next one to watch as his career begins with his summer session in Ann Arbor.