Media from across the country gathered at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis Friday morning for the U.S. Basketball Writers Association’s selection of Michigan sophomore guard Trey Burke as the winner of the 2012-2013 Oscar Robertson Trophy.
Burke, who is town in preparation for Saturday’s Final Four showdown against Syracuse, became only the second guard to ever win the Oscar Robertson Player of the Year Award, named for the legendary NBA Hall of Famer.
The Oscar Robertson Trophy has been given out annually since 1959 to the most outstanding men’s college basketball players by the USBWA, an organization of journalists who cover college basketball stated by the first executive director of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Walter Byers.
“I have to thank my teammates and coaches for just trusting me,” Burke said. “They put the ball in my hands and allow me to make plays. We have more work to do, two more games to play and looking we’re forward to cutting down that net Monday.”
The award was the Columbus native’s third of the week after receiving the 2013 Bob Cousy Award, given to nation’s top point guard, and being selected as the Associated Press’ College Basketball Player of the Year Thursday, the first Wolverine to win the AP award since Cazzie Russell in 1966.
“He’s just one tough young man,” Michigan Wolverines head coach John Beilein said. “There have been three or four times this year where the trainers have come to me and have said that “this is bothering Trey, well that is bothering Trey,” but he doesn’t want you to know it.”
Leading the University of Michigan men’s basketball program to its first Final Four appearance in 20 years, the Big Ten Player of the Year managed to put up 19.2 points per game, 3.1 rebounds and 6.7 assists this season, all while shooting at 40.1 percent from the three-point line.
“What impressed me so much about him at the point guard position is that he knows how to play. He didn’t get rattled about certain things, he kept his team together,” twelve-time All-Star Oscar Robertson told the Daily World. “It’s a lifelong process, it’s not a one game thing and that’s the key. I hope he does the best, I’ll be rooting for him.”
With three national player awards already under his belt, Burke is also a candidate for the Wooden Award for the National Player of the Year.
“All of these awards may get overwhelming and are great to have, but I don’t want them to get in the way of what the team is trying to accomplish,” said Burke. “We’re trying to win a National Championship. That’s where my focus is.”
Burke started all 37 games played by the Wolverines thus far, scoring double figures and each game, helping Michigan maintain a Top 6 national ranking all season.
“I’ve had to practically beg him to come out of plays to say, ‘You need some rest,’” Beilein added. “But it’s that toughness that gives us so much trust in how he plays. The best is yet to come from this young man.”