2021 Draft Workouts: Marcus Burk

July 26, 2021 - IUPUI guard Marcus Burk speaks with Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss following his pre-draft workout with the Pacers at the Ascension St. Vincent Center.

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2021 Draft Workouts: Marcus Burk

July 26, 2021 - IUPUI guard Marcus Burk speaks with Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss following his pre-draft workout with the Pacers at the Ascension St. Vincent Center.
Jul 26, 2021  |  02:05

2021 Draft Workouts: TreVion Crews

July 26, 2021 - Bethel guard TreVion Crews speaks with Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss following his pre-draft workout with the Pacers at the Ascension St. Vincent Center.
Jul 26, 2021  |  02:08

2021 Draft Workouts: Matt Mitchell

July 26, 2021 - San Diego State forward Matt Mitchell speaks with Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss following his pre-draft workout with the Pacers at the Ascension St. Vincent Center.
Jul 26, 2021  |  02:39

2021 Draft Workouts: Jordan Schakel

July 26, 2021 - San Diego State guard Jordan Schakel speaks with Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss following his pre-draft workout with the Pacers at the Ascension St. Vincent Center.
Jul 26, 2021  |  02:29

In-State Trio Show There's Elite Talent at All Levels

IUPUI's Marcus Burk, Bethel's TreVion Crews, and Indiana Wesleyan's Kyle Mangas Headline Monday's Pre-Draft Workout
by Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor
@Wheat_Hotchkiss

The phrase "We Grow Basketball Here" applies to all levels of Indiana basketball, as evidenced by Monday's Pacers pre-draft workout. Three of the five prospects who auditioned for the Pacers at the Ascension St. Vincent Center were native Hoosiers who starred at in-state colleges.

When it comes to college basketball, most of the attention within the state is focused on the power-conference quarter of Indiana, Purdue, Butler, and Notre Dame. But there is plenty of talent at other schools. IUPUI's Marcus Burk was the seventh-leading scorer in NCAA Division I last season. Meanwhile, Indiana Wesleyan's Kyle Mangas and Bethel's TreVion Crews were All-Americans at the NAIA level for multiple seasons.

All three of those players had the chance to work out for the Pacers on Monday.

"Having the hometown team call my agent and have me come work out means everything," Burk said. "Growing up, coming to Pacers games, watching all the guys, it's just a dream I've had since I was little."

It was actually the second workout for Mangas, a two-time NAIA National Player of the Year. He first worked out with the Blue & Gold on July 7, then returned on Monday when the Pacers needed another guard to fill an open spot in the workout group. This time, he was joined by some familiar faces.

"We had three Indiana guys in here today and two were small college players, me and TreVion, from the same conference," Mangas said. "It's just awesome. Basketball in this state, I think it's just different. People are really passionate about it. I just think it's awesome the Pacers want to bring in guys from their own state. I just think that's really cool."

Burk, a 6-3 guard, helped lead Franklin Central to four straight sectional titles before starting his college career at Campbell. He was the Fighting Camels' second-leading scorer at 14.8 points per game and shot 40.3 percent from 3-point range as a sophomore, but elected to move closer to home, transferring to IUPUI.

After sitting out a season, Burk starred for the Jaguars over the last two years, averaging 21.3 points as a junior and 21.7 points per game as a senior. He surpassed 1,000 points at IUPUI in just his 47th game at the school and finished his collegiate career with a 3-point percentage just under 40 percent (.398).

While Burk was one of the best scorers in all of college basketball last season, he said that doesn't have to be his role at the next level. In fact, he said he only took on that lead guard role in college out of necessity.

"I take pride in it, but I don't even really like scoring that much," he said Monday. "I'd rather just have my teammates get involved and play the game the right way. They just had to look to me because I was one of the main options."

Burk sees himself being a combo guard in a "3-and-D" role at the next level. He has been working out in Westfield over the past few months, focusing on strengthening his hips and boosting his lateral quickness in preparation for guarding bigger, quicker guards in the NBA. His shooting should provide him with plenty of professional opportunities, but being able to defend at a high level will be necessary if he wants to land an NBA roster spot.

Realistically, Burk likely will not hear his name called in the NBA Draft on Thursday night. But he should have offers to play for a team in Summer League in August and with a strong showing there, could parlay that into a training camp invite or a two-way contract.

It's an uphill climb, for sure, but Burk is used to being underestimated.

"I do feel like I'm an underdog," he said Monday. "Coming out of high school, I only had one D1 offer and it was Campbell. I've made it this far. That just continues to push me to work even harder to try to be the best I can be, to see how far I can take my ability."

To date, only one player from IUPUI has made it to the NBA, former Pacer George Hill. Burk said he speaks to Hill occasionally, one of a number of NBA players who have helped advise him as he goes through the pre-draft process. He also has spoken with his former Campbell teammate Chris Clemons, who played last season with the Rockets, as well as Indiana natives and recent draft picks Desmond Bane with the Memphis Grizzlies and Kyle Guy with the Sacramento Kings.

Monday's workout was the last for Burk, who will now set up at home and wait to see how the next week unfolds before officially embarking on the start of his professional career.

While Burk feels overlooked, Mangas and Crews may well have been invisible to most fans, but that doesn't mean they didn't have decorated college careers. Mangas' achievements are longer than a CVS receipt, with a few of the highlights for the Warsaw native including winning a national championship as a freshman, amassing 3,453 career points, and earning All-American honors all four seasons at Indiana Wesleyan.

For the past few seasons, Crews has been one of Mangas' biggest rivals. The 6-foot guard from Fort Wayne played three seasons at Bethel after starting his career at Jackson Community College in Michigan and racked up a number of accolades himself. He finished with 2,223 career points in just three years and was a two-time first-team All-American. As a senior, Crews averaged 24.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 2.1 steals, the only player at any level of college basketball to average at least 22 points, five rebounds, five assists, and two steals.

"I would say my game is very Chris Paul-ish," Crews said. "I use the pick-and-roll a lot, transition threes a lot, and I get my guys involved a lot. I'm not selfish with the basketball. I also rebound a lot and I play some good defense. I'd say I can do a little bit of everything."

Crews and Mangas met three times as seniors in the Crossroads League, producing some memorable duels.

Indiana Wesleyan prevailed, 95-92, in the first matchup at Bethel on Nov. 25, despite Crews' 30-point, six-rebound, four-assist, and five-steal performance (Mangas had 27 points and eight boards in the victory). The Wildcats then won by 20 at home on Feb. 13, with Mangas dropping 37 points, five boards, four assists, and four steals (Crews scored 31 in the loss).

But Crews and Bethel got the last laugh in the NAIA Tournament, upsetting top-seeded Indiana Wesleyan in the Round of 16. Crews had 29 points, six rebounds, seven assists, and two steals to lead the Pilots to an 83-77 victory, while Mangas' college career came to an end with a 22-point, eight-rebound, six-assist performance.

Now, the two rivals have been teaming up. They share an agent and have worked out together a lot over the past few months. Monday was the fourth pre-draft workout for Mangas, who also visited Cleveland and Detroit in addition to his previous workout with the Pacers. It was the first workout for Crews, however.

"I was nervous a little bit going into the workout, but I talked to my agent a lot about it," Crews said. "He just told me to be who I am and just come out and play hard."

Both Mangas and Crews face even steeper uphill climbs than Burk when it comes to making an NBA roster. Earning an invite to play on a Summer League team would be a success for either prospect, though at the very least they both should have considerable opportunities to play professionally somewhere, likely overseas.

And for now, having the opportunity to compete against more well-known players from bigger schools has allowed them to see where they measure up.

"It's been fun," Crews said. "I actually play semipro back at home, so I play against a lot of semipros and ex-D1 players. It's fun competing against people that are at a high level and (showing) that I can play at that high level."

Matt Mitchell, Jordan Schakel

San Diego State teammates Matt Mitchell (left) and Jordan Schakel (right) were reunited at Monday's pre-draft workout in Indiana. (Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images)

Aztec Teammates Meet Again in Indiana

The other two players at Monday's workout (Maryland's Aaron Wiggins did not participate due to illness) were very familiar with one another. Not only did Matt Mitchell and Jordan Schakel play together for four years at San Diego State, they usually guarded each other in practice.

On Monday, they found themselves matched up once again.

"It's always great seeing Jordan," Mitchell said. "We were together four years. I'm sure he doesn't really enjoy guarding me now that we're all graduated and done. But it was a pleasure to see him back on the court and be able to chop it up on the road."

The two former teammates are now both making their case to potentially be selected in the second round of the draft. Mitchell, the Mountain West Player of the Year for 2020-21, has the more all-around game. The 6-6 forward averaged 15.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1.4 steals as a senior.

Mitchell said his pitch to teams revolves around his versatility and his ability to contribute in a variety of ways.

"I'm going to be that guy that's diving for loose balls on the defensive end, diving for loose balls on the offensive end, chasing offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, guarding different guys, switching onto guys," he said. "Being able to step out and make the open shot as well as put my shoulder into a guy and take him to the rim.

"I think I can really be a utility guy coming off the bench and really just be a spark."

Mitchell's career really blossomed after he committed to reforming his diet. He lost over 20 pounds thanks to a focus on healthy living, keeping a strong frame (he measured at 239 pounds at the combine) but slimming down enough to gain extra quickness and agility.

"I think I kind of came into my own on the collegiate level, was able to muster a lot more confidence after I lost the weight," Mitchell said.

Mitchell quipped that he hoped that decision would "get me a lot of money hopefully" and then explained that making it to the NBA was a key factor in changing his lifestyle.

"This is my dream," he said. "This is what I've always wanted to do. Nothing was going to stop me."

While Mitchell possesses a versatile skillset, Schakel is more of a specialist. The 6-6 wing was an elite 3-point shooter over his time in college. He shot 42.7 percent from beyond the arc over his four-year career and, most impressively, he improved his 3-point percentage every season despite taking a higher volume of shots.

As a senior, Schakel averaged 14.4 points and 4.4 rebounds while shooting 46.1 percent from 3-point range over six long-range attempts per game.

"I think it's just a product of how much work I put in," Schakel said of his shooting prowess. "I don't really think about it during a game. You can't really think about your percentages like that."

Shooting will be Schakel's ticket to the NBA, but he also stressed his winning mentality on Monday. He said he grew from a foul-prone, below-average defender as a freshman to a stronger player capable of holding his own over the course of his career at San Diego State, one example of his strong work ethic.

"Playing hard is a skill and I do it all the time," Schakel said. "Just diving on loose balls, playing hard on defense, making the little plays. Just making the open shots, it doesn't have to be necessarily threes, but open shots. I know every team has a guy that can create for others and they need guys that can knock down shots and I can do that."

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