NEW YORK — It took a detour in Westchester, but Trey Burke is back in the NBA.
“It felt great getting called up,” said Burke. “Having four years in the NBA under my belt already, I fit right in with the team as soon as I came up.”
Fitting in with the team off the court is one thing, but being able to play at the NBA level is another. Westchester head coach Mike Miller said he knew all along that Burke’s talent was up to NBA standards with his play to start the year.
“Trey did a great job for us. He was so consistent every day in his approach,” said Miller. “He managed his time here very well — it wasn’t just to come in and play some games. His numbers, his production, his fourth quarter play, it was all so impressive.”
Burke was the second-leading scorer in the NBA G League for most of the season while playing with Westchester. He averaged 26.6 points, 5.3 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 2.0 steals in 26 games this season at the NBA G League level. He dropped 30-plus points on eight different occasions, including a 43-point outburst in just his second game of the season, which helped lift the Knicks to a 113-111 victory over the Delaware 87ers on Nov. 6.
“Trey is just a dominant scorer and he was such a play-maker in Westchester. Offensively, he requires so much attention from other teams. He’s very efficient,” said Knicks two-way player Luke Kornet, who has played with Burke in both New York and Westchester. “He produced every single game [in Westchester]. Teams had to do so much extra to try and stop him. His talent level is definitely NBA-caliber.”
Burke came right in and made a statement with 18 points each in his fourth and fifth game with New York — both off the bench — including 14-straight points in the fourth quarter during the Knicks’ 107-85 victory against the Suns on Jan. 26.
“I’ve always been a confident player, that’s what everyone knows about me and that’s what I bring to a team. I want to bring that scoring,” said Burke. “I’m continuing to grow in other areas. Film has been great for me. I’m going to continue to get better and learn here with the Knicks.”
Knicks rookie Frank Ntilikina, who plays the point along with Burke, said he sees the talent from Burke and he’s fit in well with the team.
“He’s obviously a great player who can make plays, he’s skilled and can play defense, too,” said Ntilikina. “Since we play the same position, we talk a lot off the court and want to push ourselves to the top.”
Burke has been reunited with former Michigan teammate Tim Hardaway Jr. in New York, which has helped him build chemistry on the court with his team.
“We know each other obviously; we play well off each other,” said Burke. “For me, I’m getting more and more minutes so the more I get to play with my teammates, the more comfortable I’ll be.”
But Burke credits his improvement, leading to his Call-Up, to his experience with Westchester.
“It was great. Being able to lead and be a mentor to those guys, while still being young,” he said. “It was a great experience for me that I will never forget. I wish the best to those guys, and I see they’re playing great even without me. There’s some great talent down there.”