Blog Entry # 5
This installment of the Burney's Bytes Blog will feature some observations from the first month of the prep basketball season. There's been some great hoops action, with lots of outstanding individual performances in December and its only going to get better. Here are some notable early-year tidbits to keep your eyes on as the season progresses. Oh, and by the way: Happy New Year!!!
These days whenever the various recruiting web sites talk about the area's top sophomore guards, the first name to be mentioned is always, Southfield's Carlton Brundidge. Now, make no mistake about it, Brundidge is the real deal. He's ultra-assertive on the court, deceptively quick getting to the hoop, and already a bonafide floor leader at a very young age. That all said, lets not forget about Pontiac Northern sophomore speedster, Anthony "The Ant" Adams, who in my book is just as impressive of a talent as the more highly-vaunted Brundidge. Leading his team to a 4-0 record out of the gate, Adams is cool as a tall glass of ice water whether he's spearheading a fastbreak, driving past defenders on his way into the lane and looking to create, or pulling up for one of his silky-smooth jump shots. Make certain that the Huskies' pesky and punishing Ant is on your radar when evaluating the top playmakers in the county.
Birmingham Detroit Country Day transfer, Ray McCallum, Jr. could very well be the best high school guard I have ever seen play. Much-hyped from his time playing his freshman and sophomore seasons in Indiana, McCallum comes to Oakland County for his final two years as a prepster "as advertised" - a true hoops phenom on the basketball floor. His game is as complete as they come for a 16 year old. I've never seen a high school point guard with such outstanding court vision. He can kill you inside by driving into the circle with his unbelievable speed or crush you from the outside with his 3-point shooting. Not to mention he possess the innate ability to know exactly when to go for the score himself and when to drop a dime to a flashing teammate. The only flaw in his game at this point could be his perimeter shot, which needs some help in the consistency department. But even that said, his stroke is text book. McCallum's play is infectious as well. He has DCD, a program sometimes known to coast on its talent alone, playing at a very high level early in the year and like any true great athlete, is elevating the play of those around him. It looks as if Yellowjackets head coach, Kurt Keener, has another all-american on his hands. And with McCallum leading his team, just like when Chris Webber and Shane Battier were in his stable, the chance to take home multiple state titles.
At the start of the season, some people predicted that head coach Ernie Righetti's Birmingam Roeper girls basketball team would be down a bit this year. Its understandable, I suppose. The Roughriders', who were 24-1 last season and advanced to the Class D quarterfinals, lost its star player in point guard Bianca Barton, a do-everything floor leader that was the team's heart and soul. Well, to those pundits that thought Roeper would take a step back, think again. With Oakland County sideline legend, Righetti at the helm for his 23rd year and once again doing a terrific job at getting the most out of his talent, the Roughriders have adapted quite nicely to Barton's departure and are threatening to put together back-to-back undefeated regular seasons. Going into the new year, they're 5-0. And just like last year when they won all of their regular seasons games by an average of 22 points, they're romping through the competition and winning with relative ease - their average margin of victory so far has been 17 points. Seniors Stephanie Holloman (center) and Tricia Haslinger (point guard) have stepped forward and replaced Barton as the team's coaches on the floor and junior standout, Ashli Pearson (small forward), is excelling as the squad's new top scoring option. When you add freshman sensation Briana Ratchford and senior transfer Jessica McGlory into the mix, Righetti's Roughriders are poised for another great season and very possibly another long run in the state tournament.
For the West Bloomfield Lakers boys basketball team, Batman and Robin have left the building. Josh Eichelberger and Roderick Hurst, last season's high-scoring dynamic duo, have graduated and are no longer donning the green and white. Have no fear Lakers faithful, head coach Andre White, has put together an unheralded, yet extremely dangerous group of players for this years team, who in my opinion, will end up having more success than last years tremendously respectable 16-4 squad led by Eichelberger and Hurst. This current bunch goes ten deep and play a lightning fast and rough and rugged brand of hoops. They are tenacious on defense and everyone who makes it on the floor has a knack for the basket. The three-headed back court of Eric Ellis, Stephen McCarty, and Tyler Sarter are each smart playmakers, who motor down the court with reckless abandon. Small forward Chris Hurst is a scoring threat anywhere on the floor. Frontcourt mates, the Credit brothers - talent-laden 6-6 twins, Antonio and Antwaan -, along with Mike Martin and David Pool, both 6-7 apiece, make up imposing group threats on the block. The individual numbers on offensive won't wow you like last year, but the results on the floor will be the same, or like I predict, even better.