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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.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Training Camp Report - Blue Heaven

The Southfield Blue Jays will tip-off the 2009-2010 hoops season this Tuesday night against Macomb Dakota with a re-shaped line-up and aspirations of bypassing the limited success experienced by the program last season when they finished up at 11-11.
Last year, the Blue Jays were a one man-team – that one man being all-state junior combo-guard Carlton Brundidge, who led the OC in scoring as a sophomore. With the new season upon us, Southfield has undergone a face-lift and is sporting newfound vigor.  No longer is it accurate to categorize the Blue Jays as having a one dimensional attack. Injected with an influx of talented transfers to combine with his mega-star Brundidge, head coach Gary Teasley knows another .500 season won't be acceptable and that this is the season for the Blue Jays to take flight.
Expectations around campus and within prep pundit circles are high - and rightfully so. Joining Brundidge (verbally committed to UofM) in the backcourt this season will be crafty and cagey junior point guard Desmond "Pee Wee" Barnes, a highly-touted transfer from Detroit Community. The addition of Barnes, a best friend and AAU teammate of Brundidge's for the past eight years, gives Southfield two of the top ten ranked guards in the state's recruiting class of 2011 and arguably the best back backcourt combination in all of Michigan.
The presence of Barnes (16 pts, 7 asst per game as a sophomore at Detroit Community) in the Blue Jays' lineup will allow Brundidge to play off ball and get fed and created for instead of having the pressure to have to create for himself every time down the floor like was the case last season. Brundidge and Barnes existing chemistry and innate knowledge of each other's games spells mountains of pending doom for all opposing defenders.
Barnes is thrilled to be coming on board at Southfield. "I know I can come in immediately and take some of the pressure of CB and help the team right off the bat, so that makes it an exciting situation," he said recently in a phone interview. "Carlton is probably the best scorer in the state and its' my job to get him the ball in the right spots. Each of us knows how the other likes to play and we have an unspoken bond on the floor that makes both of us better as individuals."
Teasley will be running a lot of three guard-sets thus season to try to take advantage of his two junior thoroughbreds. Senior Trey Ware (10 pts, 4 asst per game last season) will start alongside Brundidge and Barnes in Teasley's 3-headed monster of a backcourt. Ware can shoot the rock and has a gritty mentality to his game that is often contagious. For a small guy, he likes getting into the lane and initiating contacts. Getting to the line where he strokes it with a high percentage is his forte'.
Southfield's frontcourt will be athletic and physical. Junior center Patrick Owenu is long, lean, and active near the rim.  He looked good in spot minutes last season as a sophomore and should only improve.  Senior power forward Kevin Kelly, a transfer from Detroit Henry Ford, will be the team's bruiser and banger. Kelly is a lunch pail kind of player and displays unbridled tenacity when going to the glass. He will also serve as the Blue Jays' resident protector of star players, Brundidge and Barnes. In return, whenever his two star guards get in trouble driving the lane, he will be the first option for the dish and easy score.   
Coming off the bench will be senior guard/forward William Lyons, a good defender and role player and high flying junior jumping jacks, Jalen Floyd and De Juan Williams, who will bring energy, spirit and rim-rattling aerial maneuvers every time they hit the floor. Antonio Wright, a transfer from crosstown at Southfield-Lathrup, will be eligible in January and will most likely join the playing rotation second semester.
"I got the commitment out of the way and now I can focus on the season," said Brundidge in a recent phone interview. "I chose UofM, mostly because it's close to home and I feel a strong connection with coach Beline and the whole coaching staff and I like the style they play. Now that Pee Wee's hear and we're going to be playing together for the rest of our high school careers, I really like our chances at doing some nice things. Everyone will contribute this season and the new guys give us some fresh legs and the ability to mix things up a bit more than we've been able to do previously. I can't wait to get started."


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