Matt Gade, Deseret News
LOS ANGELES — Utah Jazz point guard Trey Burke is putting together a solid rookie season, and he's impressed people around the league so much that he's swept the last two Western Conference Rookie of the Month awards for December and January.
And one of his biggest fans is his own coach, Tyrone Corbin, who is mighty proud of the way the former University of Michigan star has handled the imposing challenge of stepping his game up to the next level.
"He's a guy that's willing to put the work in, and we've seen it with us — watching film, talking to the coaches," Corbin said.
"Example the other night: Coach Sidney (Lowe) was sitting down talking to him about watching (Miami's) Ray Allen work, and then fortunately Ray was nice enough once he got done going through his pregame routine, he came over and shared some words with Trey and talked to him about the work that it took and finding out what routine works best for you, and how you get that routine and work it and to continue to be good and get better every year."
Burke, whose clutch jump shot with 24 seconds left was critical in Utah's 94-89 victory over the Heat last Saturday, appreciated the opportunity to chat with Allen, the NBA's all-time career leader in 3-point baskets.
"It was a good conversation," Burke said. "He just talked about routine, getting on a consistent routine early in your career, how it helps you efficiency-wise out there on the court. It's always good talking to a guy like Ray."
Burke is averaging 12.7 points, 5.5 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game and is the first player in Jazz history to win the monthly rookie award more than once. In fact, Karl Malone is the only other Jazzman to be so honored, and he won it just once — back in December 1985.
"It really does," Corbin said when asked if it impresses him how his rookie guard has played during his first NBA season. "The times he's not afraid of those moments at this level — and he hasn't shied away from any thus far — and that's a great indicator that the guy is willing to perform under a lot of pressure.
"And we'll need that as he gets more astute and smarter about the time to take over, when to go and manage the clock. We know that he's a guy you can put the ball in his hands — he's not afraid to take the big shot — so that's a great thing for a young guy to have."
ALL-STAR REPRESENTATIVE: Burke will represent the Jazz in a pair of events during the NBA's annual All-Star weekend being held this coming weekend in New Orleans.
He'll play in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge for "Team Webber" on Friday, when rookies and second-year NBA players will square off, and then he'll join forces with the Portland Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard, the former Weber State star, for the Taco Bell Skills Challenge on Saturday.
Burke said he isn't sure what to expect during All-Star weekend and just wants to enjoy the moment.
"It's my first All-Star game and I don't really know what to expect, so I'm just going to try and have fun with the whole experience," Burke said. "My family will be there; I'm sure a lot of people I know will be down there in New Orleans, so I'm looking forward to it and I'm gonna try and have fun with it."
Coach Corbin was glad to see his rookie guard receive that recognition, too.
"I think it's a tremendous honor for him," he said. "I think it's a good opportunity for him to go down there and be around some of his peers and top guys in this game. All the guys there have reached some kind of accomplishment this year, some of the best players in the league, and to be at the All-Star game.
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