Blogs > Burney's Bytes

Burney's Bytes will focus primarily on the local preps sports scene, but will also touch on some college and pro athletics, mostly in regards to athletes who hail and have played high school sports in Oakland County. My goal for the blog is to be conversational and anecdotal, a more relaxed and free formal take on high school athletics than you see in regular game day coverage.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Post Season Awards - Part II

Oakland County Boys Basketball Post Season Awards:

Dream Team

1. Ray McCallum, Jr. Junior Guard Birmingham Detroit Country Day - big time talent combined with big time floor IQ makes for one of the most complete players this county has seen in some time. 

2. Carlton Brundidge Sophomore Guard  Southfield - The area's best pure scorer and a top tier DI recruit in only his second season of varsity ball

3. Diom Sims Senior Forward Orchard Lake St. Mary's - Explosive inside-outside threat with speed, strength, and killer hops. 

4. Brandon Pokley Senior Guard/Forward Clarkston - Dead eye marksman from 3-point land and a gritty defender who loves to compete.

5. Richaud Pack Junior Guard/Forward Birmingham Seaholm - A "do it all" lethal weapon on the court and one of the premiere slashers in the state, Pack is best player in Seaholm history and single handedly responsible for making the Maples program relevant once again in the county hoops scene.  

Head Coach of The Year - Dan Fife Clarkston - Best x and o coach in the county which this year translated into the best season of his career and his first trip to the Class A final four.

MVP - Ray McCallum, Jr. Junior Guard Birmingham Detroit Country Day - McCallum, the son of UofD Mercy-head coach Ray McCallum, Sr., took the county by storm this year with his dynamic floor presence and high-flying, high-octane backcourt play. A leading candidate for next season's Mr. Basketball Award, McCallum gets the nod for MVP in a tight race over Sims and Pokley because without him and the leadership and court savvy he brought every time he hit the court, Country Day is not the number four ranked team in the nation. He simply took the Yellowjackets to another level and that's why he snares the award.

Defender of The Year - Steve Harding Senior Guard Novi Detroit Catholic Central - Could have easily been the hardest working man on the hardest working team in the state. Harding, the squad's point guard and on-floor quarterback, set the tone for the Shamrocks on both offense and defense. The trademark intensity he displayed while always checking the opposing team's top perimeter player was a major reason CC had such a great season and advanced to the elite eight.  

Sixth Man of The Year - Luke Prudhomme Senior Guard Clarkston - Led a small, yet important reserve unit for the number one team in the state and did so with poise and precision. Always a pest on defense and consistently reliable to knock shots down from beyond the arc, Prudhomme was the spark plug coach Dan Fife turned to when his team needed a jolt. 

First Team

1. Michael Fugate - Senior Guard White Lake Lakeland
2. Tim Dezelski - Se nior Forward/Center Novi Detroit Catholic Central
3. Sam Burton - Senior Guard Oak Park
4. Matt Kamieniecki - Junior Forward/Center Clarkston
5. Donovan Kirk - Senior Forward Birmingham Detroit Country Day

Head Coach - Bill Dyer Novi Detroit Catholic Central

Second Team

1. Roy Marble, Jr. - Junior Guard/Forward Southfield-Lathrup
2. Brett Smith - Senior Guard Novi Detroit Catholic Central
3. De Andre Davis - Senior Guard Pontiac Northern
4. Eric Fishman - Senior guard Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook
5. Da' Shonte Riley - Senior Center Birmingham Detroit Country Day

Head Coach - Kurt Keener - Birmingham Detroit Country Day

Third Team

1. Jordan Fowler - Senior Guard Holly
2. Bobby Wunderlicj - Senior Guard/Forward Troy
3. Jeff Hines - Senior Forward Auburn Hills Avondale
4. Kyle Vinales - Senior Guard North Farmington
5. Ken Brown - Senior Guard Farmington Hills Harrison

Head Coach - Andre White West Bloomfield

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Final Grades Are In! - Post Season Awards Part I

Oakland County Girls BBall Post Season Report Card:

Dream Team

1. Gabrielle Machado Sr. Forward Pontiac Northern - Multi-dimensional offensive threat with a silky flow to her game
2. Amber Moore Sr. Guard Birmingham Detroit Country Day - Tenacious scoring "2" guard w/ relentless attitude on D
3. Bethany Watterworth Sr. Center/Forward Lake Orion - Inside or outside, she's a does-it-all gem and born leader
4. Lauren Robak Soph. Forward Waterford Our Lady of The Lakes - Pure scorer who is the area's top rising star
5. Madison Williams Jr. Birmingham Detroit Country Day - Dominating "big" and next year's Ms.Basketball winner

MVP - Bethany Watterworth Sr. Center/Forward Lake Orion: Has the ability to take over games, which she did at all the most opportune times. Capped a legendary prep career by leading her team to a historic season. Still has room to get better and will make an immediate impact for head coach Becky Francis at OU.

Defensive Player of The Year - Madison Williams Jr. Center Birmingham Detroit Country Day: Displays a presence in the lane second to none in the nation. Her agile 6-6 frame allows her block any shot that comes into her vicinity. Just having her in the game guarantees that opposing players wont get many open looks once they reach the paint. An epic performance in the state finals when she recorded the only triple double (10 pts, 10 re b, 10 blks) in championship game history has gone a long way in increasing the recruiting feeding frenzy that has already exist for the last 2 years.

Sixth "Woman" of The Year - Taryn Stevens Sr. Guard/Forward Waterford Our Lady of The Lakes: Stevens, one of the state's premiere 3-point shooters, possess the ability to start for a majority of the area's school's yet opted to craft a role for herself as the county's top reserve at small school powerhouse, Waterford Lakes. The definition of instant "heat" coming off the bench the last 3 years, she was integral in leading her team to a Catholic League Tournament championship and a tournament run that concluded in the elite eight. Forced to step into a starting slot in the post season due to a back injury to teammate Allison Robb, she adapted quickly and the team didn't miss a beat. Knocking down six triples in the Lakers victory in their regional title game, Stevens ends her prep career as one of the best perimeter shooters to play in the county this decade.

Head Coach of The Year - Steve Roberts  Lake Orion: Coached a fundamentally sound and tremendously deep Dragons team to the elite eight. The team was significantly more than just Watterworth and Zott and Roberts should get a lot of credit for that.

1st Team

1. Courtney Zott Sr. Guard Lake Orion
2. Michelle Lindsay Sr. Guard/Forward Birmingham Mar ian
3. Brooke Gustafson Sr. Guard Walled Lake Central
4. Whitney Newsom Sr. Guard Rochester Hills Adams
5. Ashli Pearson Jr. Forward Birmingham Roeper

Head Coach of The Year - Steve Robak Waterford Our Lady of The Lakes

2nd Team

1. Jordan Mueller Sr. Guard Farmington Hills Mercy
2. Chenise Miller Sr. Forward West Bloomfield
3. Tiffany Williams Sr. Guard Southfield-Lathrup
4. Amber Alexander Soph Forward Auburn Hills Oakland Christian
5. Jenna Bachrouche Jr. North Farmington

Head Coach of The Year - Frank Orlando Birmingham Detroit Country Day

3rd Team

1. Sarah Browe Sr. Forward Rochester
2. Spencer Lane Sr. Guard/Forward Birmingham Detroit Country Day
3. Faziah Steen Sr. Guard Birmingham Detroit Country Day
4. Sharena Taylor Sr. Guard Birmingham Detroit Country Day
5. Alexis Doetch Jr. Center Waterford Our Lady of Lakes

Head Coach of The Year - Ernie Righetti Birmingham Roeper

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tip Of My Hat

Congrats head coach Dan Fife and the Clarkston Wolves boys bball team. You finally did it. Final Four, here u come!!. By defeating a tenacious Flint Northwestern team by 3 points on Tuesday night in the school's sixth straight quarterfinal appearance, the Wolves have punched a ticket to the Class A final four, the program's first ever, to be played this fri and sat at the Breslin Center in East Lansing. The monkey is officially off Dan Fife's back. The seemingly impossible has been accomplished and the rabid Clarkston fan base has been walking around in a state of delirium ever since.

I've mentioned in previous blog entries that i am a "told u so" kind of guy. We'll, once again, I told u so. From my very first blog in December ive been hyping up this year's Clarkston bunch as the Wolves team that was going to break on through to the other side. And they did. And I was right. Way to go Dan and his excellent staff for helping make me sound smart!

The road to school history has been in the process of being paved for the last two years. Last season's heartbreaking loss to eventual state champ Saginaw in the quarters - tanking a 5 point lead with the ball in the final 25 secs of regulation -, would have broken a lot of team's spirits. Instead, it strengthened the Wolves' resolve. Learning and responding to the adversity, C-Town's favorite band of hoopsters came out for the '09 campaign poised and primed, and most of all hungry. Running o ff 18 straight to open the year put people on the notice.

Rallying past a fast and feisty Flint NW squad in the second half of their tilt in the regional semi's thanks - coming back from a halftime deficit to win in blow out fashion - to key performances from role players Brandon Verlinden and Luke Prudhomme, gave the team the knowledge that they were firing on all cylinders at the right time. This WAS going to be the year the dream became a reality. 

I think the Wolves have an excellent shot at winning the whole enchilada. A match up in the state finals between Clarkston and Detroit Pershing, would be epic. The potential clash of prep powers who each employ contrasting styles of play could be one of the all time great games in state tourney history. Even though Clarkston is far from a sleeper, the showdown might elicit comparisons to the fictional "Hickory-South Bend Central" game from the movie Hoosiers with Pershing being the big athletic urban city school and Clarkston playing the role of the homebred country boys who as Shooter Flack might say, "Chucks'em from the cheap seats".

Pershing would be favored, but I have a inkling that this is the Wolves year of destiny. If senior point guard Tom Staton can effectively dribble drive into the paint and create for his wings, it will open up the outside for classmate and ace long distant dialer, Brandon Pokley, possibly the state's top 3-point bomber. Junior20center/forward Matt Kamienecki must be on his p's and q's all game long against Mr. Basketball Derek Nix in the post and I have a hunch he will be. Kammy knows that a strong showing against Nix will translate into more looks and offers from DI schools and that will be ample motivation to get the job done. Staton will also have to bring his "a" defensive game to lock down all-state junior sensation Keith Appling. When u sprinkle in a little tough as nails defense from Verlinden, Prudhomme, Tyler Scarlett, and Tommy Ronk on the Doughboys speedy guards and it could be an upset special in the making.  

I'm going with Clarkson by two in OT.  Check back on Sunday for my "told u so."

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Second Season

Alright, the second season has been upon us for over two weeks and I've been out of commission..aka..struggling to finish my book - "Family Affair - Greed, Treachery, & Betrayal In The Chicago Mafia" available at book stores in August, plug plug - and getting pressured by my editors in NYC to devote my entire life to completing the manuscript and thus ignoring this blog.  My bad, people. It was out of my hands. I apologize.  

But just because I was in the trenches trying to get the book done doesn't mean I was ignoring my favorite time of the year - March Madness!!! I saw a lot of the games and was up on all the exciting action. So lets do a little re-capping. Good to be back everyone, so enjoy.

The girls hoops scene in Oakland County had a great year, sending two teams to the final four and one to the elite eight. Props to Country Day for going back-to-back, claiming the Class B title for the second straight year and being one of the more dominant girls bball teams to play in the area in quite some time. The word stacked doesn't do this team justice. Five D1 players and another three or four more lurking in the shadows, made these Yellowjackets a buzzing headache for anyone who crossed their path. Seniors Amber Moore, Faziah Steen, Spencer Lane, Sharena Taylor, and Emma Golen and underclassmen Madison Williams, Troy Hambric, and Imari Redfield dominated the competition, compiling a 27-1 record. Most of their games were blow outs,20but the state finals proved these Yellowjackets mettle. Rallying from a fourth quarter deficit to win by double digits showed what this team was really made of. Maddie Williams, the leading canditate for the 2010 Ms. Basketball Award, demonstrated why she has the college recruiters swarming, and recorded the only triple double (10 pts, 10 reb, 10 blks) in the history of the girls bball state finals. Since they won last year's title, head coach Frank Orlando and his girls came into the season with very high expectations. I think its fair to say they met them.  

On a final note, its sad to see the lack of student support these last two DCD squads have received. These were two teams for the ages and it seemed like nobody at the school, minus some teachers and coaches, really cared. I was at a regional final game where there was literally not one student in attendence to watch the lady jackets claim the programs 12th straight regional crown. come on DCD students, I know you're better than that. So next year, come out in droves and help the lady jackets try to make it three in a row.

Lake Orion made a run to the program's first ever Class A final four and culminated a historic season in Dragons bball. Senior "do everything" forward Bethany Watterworth could be the best player in the state and its a downright shame that she wasn't nominated for the 2009 Ms. Basketball Award. Running mate, Courntey Zott, a senior floor general, could be one of the state's most underated players. Head Coach Steve Roberts played some great ball through the tournament, winning the school's first regional hoops title and providing continuous excitement for the many Dragons fans that traveled with the team. The 2009 squad sets the bar high for future Lake Orion teams and I know Steve Roberts wouldn't want it any other way.

Finally, my girls at Waterford Our Lady of The Lakes, a team that wasn't even ranked until the final week of the season, culminated an outstanding post season by advancing all the way to the Class D quarterfinals.  I'm totally an "I told u so kind of guy", so I'm gonna tell everyone I told you so. I've been propping the Lakers all season and deserverdly so. These girls could flat out play. Sophomore Lauren Robak is a bonafide superstar. Seniors Allison Robb and Taryn Stevens kept opponents honest and were excellent from the outside. Throughout the course of the season, junior center Alexis Doetch developed into a walking double double. Point guard, Jen Losiowski, was the straw that stirred the drink, controlling tempo and being the Lakers' top distributer. Jamie Irwin, Abby Walbrook, and Megan Topolewski, were "glue" type players that made the whole thing stick together. Head coach, Steve Robaks' expert motivational skill paired with his well-honed game strategy and player-management technique, gave WOLL an instant edge the moment the team hit the court. 

What's tragic is that the Lakers were unable to play conference rival Marine City Cardinal Mooney, a team that had beaten twice over the final month of the regular season, at full-strength in their elite eight game. Allison Robb, the team' second leading scorer, battled a back injury the entire post season and was limited to less than 10 minutes on the floor in the quarterfinal against the Cardinals, who exploited her absence by double teaming Lauren Robak. I can bet you that if Robb was at full playing capacity the game would have been significantly closer than the 20 point differential that was put up in the quarters. Anyway, with Robak and Doetch coming back, the Lakers are certain to be dangerous again next year, as they will continue to rep the county's small school population with their trademark dignity, skill, and pride. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Foot Steps of Legends - Part II

1. Matt Kamianiecki jr. Clarkston bball/baseballl - son of former major league baseball player Scott Kamainiecki (NyYankes/Baltimore Orioles). Matt is a quality baseball player no doubt, but it looks like his future is in hoops. A sturdy 6-7, Matt can play inside and out and his getting recruited by several D1 programs. Like his pops, is very cerebral on the field of battle.

2. Michael Curry, Jr. jr. Rochester Hills Adams bball - son of Detroit Pistons head coach and former NBA journeyman, Michael Curry. Michael displays his dad's trademark feistiness and gets up and down the court with as much reckless abandon than anyone in the county. A top notch high school hoopster, who may be limited at the next level due to his lack of size.

3. Roy Marble, Jr. jr. Southfield-Lathrup bball - Roy Jr. is one of the true hidden gems of the 2010 recruiting class. Just like his father, Roy Sr. - a all-big ten player at Iowa in the late-80's and NBA first round draft pick of the Atlanta Hawks - he has a knack for the bucket, utilizing a tantalizing array of offensive moves. An owner of one of the sweetest strokes in the state, Marble will be a huge sleeper for whatever college coach grabs him.

4. Tom Staton, Jr. sr. Clarkston bball - son of Tom Staton Sr., local high school legend when he played at Ferndale and captain of a early-1970's UofM team. With a slim but strong 6-5, Tom is a great athlete, who anchors the much-va unted Clarkston Wolves backcourt. A one time small forward, he has adapted well to his move to the point guard slot this season - proving to college coaches his durability and unselfishness. One of the more underrated hoopsters in the state.  

Friday, March 6, 2009

Footsteps of Legends Walk In Oakland County Prep Scene - Part One

The other day I was thinking about many kids in the county prep scene spawn for great athlete parents. I thought of quite and few. Here's a little breakdown:

Jordan Dumars sr. bball player at Birmingham Detroit Country Day - son of Detroit Piston Hall of Fame guard and organization current general manager, Joe Dumars. Father and son both have dead eye range. Watch out for Jordan playing for South Florida in DI next year

Aly Joubert soph bball player at Farmington Hills Harrison - daughter of former UofM guard and Detroit Southwestern great, Antoine "The Judge" Joubert, one of the most dominant prepsters of the late 20th Century and current men's head coach for Oakland Community College. Aly follows in her father's footsteps and has a sweet touch.

Jessie Haji-Shiek jr bball/football plater at Bloomfield Hills Lahser - son of former super bowl-winning placekicker Ali Haji-Shiek of the New York Giants and UofM Wolverines. Jessie was a kicker and wide receiver on the 2008 state semi-finalist Knights football team and is guard on the hoops squad. Ali helps coach the Lahser football team.

Alan Hardy, Jr. sr. bball player Bloomfield Hills Lahser - son of Alan Hardy.Sr, the former UofM basketball player who was a member of the Wolverines final four team in 1976. A wiry big man with a great hops just like his old man was, Hardy is a force to be reckoned with on the hardwood.

Hallie Wangler. soph. bball player Royal Oak Shrine - daughter of former UofM Rose Bowl winning QB John Wangler, a prep legend himself in the area. Playing for her pop's alma mater, Hallie is a stand out on the basketball floor.

check back tomorrow for some more classic family combos!