Saturday afternoon No. 20 Michigan will travel to Columbus, Ohio to play rival No. 3 Ohio State for first place in the Big Ten.
But for one Wolverine this game means more than first place and a win over a hated rival.
For freshman guard Trey Burke it’s a chance to come home and show his family and friends he made the right choice by leaving his hometown Columbus, Ohio for Ann Arbor.
“It’s a game I’m definitely looking forward to,” Burke said. “Just the opportunity to go back home and play is big.”
Burke turned away from a lot when he choose to head to, what former Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes called U of M, ‘that school up north.’
Burke had all the reason to stay home and play for the Buckeyes.
Not only has OSU been on top of the Big Ten lately but his best friend growing up is the team leader.
Burke and Jared Sullinger became best friends in elementary school and in high school during Burke’s junior season the two led Northland High School to national No. 1 ranking by ESPN HS and USA Today before losing in the regional finals to Lincoln High School.
The year before the two led Northland to a State championship. Burke hit two late free throws and set up the pass to Sullinger that led to him getting to the free throw line for the winning buckets.
“He (Sullinger) was always at my house,” Burke said. “We were more like brothers when we were younger, we don’t talk as much now but still have a great relationship.”
In his senior season Burke was named Ohio’s Mr. Basketball and he saw the opportunity to start immediately as a Wolverine when guard Darius Morris left for the NBA.
“U of M was the best place for me,” Burke said.
After he chose to go to ‘the school up north,’ Burke was heckled by Buckeye fans everywhere. He attended an OSU game wearing a Michigan shirt and heard plenty from the hometown faithful.
“I’m going to hear traitor and things like that,” Burke told Dave Dye of the Detroit Free Press. “Once I chose Michigan I found out who was really there for me.”
There is no doubt that come Saturday when the announcer says ‘starting at guard from Columbus, Ohio number three Trey Burke,’ it will be followed by plenty of boos and taunts.
But Burke will be looking to shut up all of those haters back home and head back to his new home with a win and first place in the Big Ten.