Sunday night, Trey Burke was again the star attraction in his hometown.

Burke, the Northland graduate who never landed an Ohio State scholarship offer, went on to star at Michigan for two seasons and is a six-year NBA veteran, took center stage at the Kingdom Summer League. Playing at Columbus South as a member of “Team V,” Burke scored 21 points in front of a near-capacity crowd on hand to see the local boy who’s gone on to bigger and better things.

His appearance was as much about trying to help give a little back to the community as it was to knock a little rust off his game. Since high school, Burke said he’s been working out with Tihon Johnson, who helps run the league.

“He’s doing something great for the community with a summer league like this every year,” Burke told The Dispatch. “Any time I can come out here and give back by playing, my presence in the community, this is the city I grew up in so I always want to come back here and try to put on a show, always want to come back here and get some good run and competition in before the season starts.”

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Once the game came to a close, Burke could hardly get his white jersey off before being swarmed by friends, well-wishers and awestruck kids asking for autographs and selfies. After closing the 2018-19 NBA season with Denver, Burke said he’s been working out with personal trainers but hadn’t played a full-on game in some time.

“It’s always good to see where your progress is at when you can get out there with four other guys,” he said. “I felt good, man. I got a little bit of rust off since I’ve been a while since I’ve got up and down. I’m ready for what the future holds.”

What that might entail is uncertain. Drafted No. 9 overall by Minnesota in the 2013 NBA draft, Burke was traded to Utah and spent the first three seasons of his career with the Jazz before spending time with Washington, the New York Knicks and Dallas. In six seasons, the 26-year-old Burke has averaged 10.9 points and 3.6 assists.

Burke is an unrestricted free agent who has recently been linked to talks with the Los Angeles Lakers.

“I’ve got a lot of options on the table,” he said. “A lot of people wanted me to go to L.A., but at this point in my career I want to get somewhere where it’s going to be a consistent opportunity for me to showcase my talent. I’ve got a few teams that are interested right now with Milwaukee, Denver, Miami. I’m going to continue to take my time and figure out what’s the best destination for me.”

At Michigan, Burke blossomed into the national player of the year as a sophomore. He increased his scoring average from 14.8 points as a freshman in 2011-12 to 18.6 points the next year, helping lead the Wolverines to the national title game in the process.

He did that for coach John Beilein, who is now preparing for his first season in the NBA now as coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“I think he’ll do tremendous,” Burke said of Beilein. “He’s a hard-working coach. Everyone has seen over the last 5-10 years the progress he has with players. Every single player he coaches gets better, including myself. From my freshman year to my sophomore year I got tremendously better. That’s just a credit to him and his coaching staff. I wish him the best of luck.”

The Buckeyes famously didn’t offer a scholarship to Burke, who was a four-star prospect from the same high school (Columbus Northland) that produced Ohio State star center Jared Sullinger. At the time, Ohio State coach Thad Matta had Aaron Craft entering his sophomore season, who would start every game for the next three seasons, and a freshman in Shannon Scott.

Now nearly a decade removed from his recruitment, Burke said he still doesn’t know why the Buckeyes never offered him.

“I don’t know, man,” he said with a laugh. “I still feel like that’s the million-dollar question. I think everybody still wants to know that, me being a Columbus kid. It was kind of a no-brainer. I guess they felt like whoever they had at the time was a better player than me so Michigan came at the right time. I looked at it as an opportunity for me to go out there and showcase my skills and eventually get to the NBA. The NBA has always been a dream of mine. If I could replay it again I would probably play it over the same way it happens.

“Everybody wonders that, why they didn’t offer me. I don’t know.”

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy