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Despite a departure, and possibly more to come, all smiles for men's basketball team at year-end banquet

By Everett Cook, Daily Sports Editor
Published April 16, 2013

Sophomore point guard Trey Burke and five seniors are officially gone. There could be as many as three other departures from the Michigan men’s basketball team over the next two weeks, depending on if junior guard Tim Hardaway Jr. and freshmen forwards Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary decide to enter the NBA Draft. The team could go from a Top-25 preseason pick to an unknown fate, depending on what the three decide.

But on Tuesday, at the end-of-season banquet, it was all smiles for Michigan.

For the second straight year, Burke won the team MVP award, becoming the 23rd Wolverine to earn multiple team MVP awards.

The only surprise award from the night was the Rudy Tomjanovich Most Improved Player Award, which went to Hardaway. He was the team’s second-leading scorer last year as well as this year, but improved on his 3-point percentage by more than nine percentage points in addition to slightly improving his field-goal percentage.

Here are the other awards given out on Tuesday night:

•Wayman Britt Outstanding Defensive Player Award: redshirt junior forward Jordan Morgan
•Steve Grote Hustle Award: McGary
•Thad Garner Leadership Award: senior guard Corey Person
•Travis Conlan Sportsmanship Award: redshirt sophomore Jon Horford
•Bodnar Award for Academic Achievement: senior guard Matt Vogrich
•Gary Grant Award for Most Assists: Burke
•Loy Vaught Rebounding Award: McGary
•Outstanding Free Throw Shooting: freshman guard Nik Stauskas
•Sixth Man Award: McGary
•Iron Man Award: Robinson
•Most Generous Teammate: senior guard Josh Bartelstein
•Best Dressed: Robinson
•First Player to Marry: Vogrich
•Most Likely to Succeed: Burke
•Florence Nightengale Award (most time spent in training room): Bartelstein
•No. 1 NBA Talker who doesn’t know what he’s talking about: Stauskas
•Best Dressed Assistant: LaVall Jordan
•Dunk of the year: Hardaway’s Tomahawk in the final of the NCAA Title game

The scene inside the Crisler Center for the banquet reflected the good vibes surrounding a team that had reached the National Championship game for the first time since 1993. Before the ceremony, an autograph line stretched for more than half of the concourse. Six years ago, when Michigan coach John Beilein first took over the program, the autograph line wouldn’t have lasted more than five minutes.

“The first banquet, we had about five tables,” Beilein said. “It’s come a long way, and it’s come from a lot of great people.”

The positive feelings have been going all week. Last week, Beilein and Burke flew to Los Angeles, where Burke accepted the John R. Wooden award given to the nation’s top player. In Los Angeles, they were stopped “many, many times” according to Beilein. Everyone wanted a picture or to congratulate Burke on a year that saw him win every major individual award.

Six years ago, Beilein and the program didn’t have a player anywhere near Burke’s caliber. Six years ago, the entire floor of the Crisler Center wouldn’t have been sold out for a banquet. Six years ago, the patrons inside Crisler wouldn’t have given Beilein a standing ovation or treated him like a celebrity.

There was a man standing by the entrance to the floor, and when Beilein walked by, he said, “Thank you coach. Thank you, forever!”

With or without Burke, it’s a different era for the Michigan basketball program.

NOTE: Beilein said that because of travel, he hasn’t had a chance to sit down with McGary, Robinson or Hardaway to talk about their NBA decisions, but he did have each assistant coach sit down with the players. The trio has until April 28 to make their decisions.