Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. have both taken to the national camp circuit to improve their games this spring. Players return to campus for summer classes, and team workouts, later this week but the spring term is a chance to improve individually.
Michigan’s top two returning players grabbed that opportunity, participating in a few of the nation’s most prestigious summer camps for college players. Burke took part in Chris Paul’s Elite Guard Camp in early June along with the Nike Deron Williams Skills Academy last week. Tim Hardaway Jr. is participating in Kevin Durant’s Skills Academy which tipped off on Sunday night and runs through Tuesday. Both Wolverine guards have more than held their own to this point.
While Hardaway just arrived in Chicago for Durant’s Skills Academy on Sunday, early returns from Sunday night’s session (which was open to the media) are encouraging. One writer in attendance reported that Hardaway played well and might have grown an inch or two (he measured in at 6-foot-6). Another NBA Draft writer in attendance tweeted about Hardaway’s strong showing:
Michigan SG Tim Hardaway looked good today, expect a big year. Should form Big10s best backcourt w/ Trey Burke. Both should be 1st rounders.
— Probasketballdraft (@Probballdraft) June 25, 2012
Burke has also put forth an impressive effort on the summer circuit. ESPN’s Reggie Rankin named Burke as one of four standouts at the Deron Williams and Amare Stoudemire Skills Academies. Here’s what Rankin had to say about Burke, the only point guard (of a group of 16) in his top four:
At 6-foot and 185 pounds, Burke has continued to improve. He has a great command of the ball and is a terrific open court passer. He can also knock down open jumpers on the break or when reading the defense as he comes off ball screens, can nail ball-reversal spot up 3s and make a play when the offense breaks down.
Burke has worked to become a complete point guard and his improvement is easy to see, along with his improved strength.
“I had to learn how to read the way teams were guarding me and then adjust to score and get my teammates involved,” he said. “I had to get in the film room and learn all the reads off pick-and-rolls and it has really paid off for me.”
Michigan’s returning stars also received official measurements in Chicago. Burke measured 6-foot, 185 pounds, with an impressive 6-foot-5 wingspan while Tim Hardaway Jr. is 6-foot-6, 193 pounds, with a 6-foot-7 wing span.
Burke was no less impressive at Chris Paul’s Elite Guard camp earlier in June – drawing praise as one of the most impressive college players in attendance. That camp group featured a number of opponents Michigan saw last seaason including Aaron Craft, DJ Cooper, Victor Oladipo and many others. Roger Bohn, of Slam Magazine, was in attendance at Chris Paul camp and named Burke to his top list of college players, citing an impressive array of moves:
— Rodger Bohn (@rodgerbohn) June 10, 2012
Camps provide valuable opportunities for college players to receive quality instruction and competition against some of the best players in the country. Burke has faced off against star college guards like Aaron Craft, Isaiah Canaan, DJ Cooper, Tim Frazier, BJ Young throughout the last month. Hardaway will workout with an impressive group featuring names like Michael Snaer, Adonis Thomas, Otto Porter, Elias Harris and potential 2012-13 opponents such as Rodney McGruder, Lorenzo Brown, Laquinton Ross, and Rodney Williams.
That competition is great for personal improvement, but is also vital for NBA Draft scouting. Skills Academies and summer camps are closed to college coaches, and even to the media at times, but are open to NBA scouts.
Preps: A pair of important Michigan recruiting targets are also participating in the the Kevin Durant Skills Academy: 2014 guard Devin Booker and 2013 forward Reggie Cameron. Booker measured in at 6-foot-5, 186 pounds with a 6-foot-6.5 wingspan while Cameron is 6-foot-7.5, 221 pounds, with a 6-foot-7 wing span.