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.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Yellow Fever

*please note the Burney's Bytes prep sports blog will be up and running throughout the holiday break – please visit daily for fresh takes on the local high school sports scene posted every 24 hours
The boy's basketball team at Birmingham Detroit Country Day took a little pre-holiday road trip down to the American hoops heartland of Indianapolis, Indiana earlier this week and came home with some bragging rights for the state and a record that remains unblemished.
Behind a wickedly-good performance from their three-headed monster of a backcourt, the Yellowjackets took down a highly-rated (ranked 2nd in the state) Ft. Wayne Bishop Lauers team, 93-77, in the finale of the Midwest Basketball Challenge played at Indianapolis Howe High School on Tuesday night. Country Day stays perfect in the win column and improves to 5-0.
The Yellowjackets were led by the always-incomparable, Ray McCallum, who scored 34 points, dished out five assists and corralled eight rebounds on his way to being named MVP of the event. The 6-2 senior point guard – deciding between Arizona, UCLA, Florida, & University of Detroit-Mercy for his college playing destination – did his damage early and often, connecting on 14 of his 21 attempts from the field. McCallum's backcourt-mates, juniors Chris Fowler and Lee Bailey, routinely punished the Bishop Lauer defense as well. Bailey poured in 17 points, delivered nine assists, and grabbed four rebounds. Fowler scored 15 points and gave out seven assists.
The Yellowjackets imposed their will on the opposition from the opening tip and raced out to an 18-4 lead.  The tempo was ultra-fast and the Knights had a difficult time adjusting to Country Day's speed and defensive aggressiveness. Bishop Lauers shaved its deficit to just six points midway through the second quarter, but Country Day finished the half strong and led 47-32 at the break. Any thoughts of a Knights comeback were thwarted late in the third quarter when the Yellowjackets went on a 10-0 run that sent spectators to the exits early and made the fourth quarter a mere formality.
Possibly most impressive for the Yellowjackets in the game was their ability to hold the Knights' star player, De Shaun Thomas, one of the most prolific scorers in the entire country, in check when things counted the most. The Ohio State-bound Thomas, didn't tally a single point until the final 25 seconds of the intense and fast-paced first quarter and the 'Jackets defense held him to just 10 points in the whole first half. Although he wound up equaling McCallum's game-high scoring total of 34 points, a majority of them were scored in a fourth quarter when the game had already gotten out of hand. Thomas, a one-time AAU teammate of McCallum's just a few years ago, also hauled down 11 rebounds.
Currently the 7th leading scorer in the history of Indiana prep basketball, Thomas (2,400 points) will most certainly catapult into the top 3 by the end of the season and could very well end up breaking Damon Bailey's all-time Hoosier high school scoring record of 3,134. Bailey, a prep legend in the state of Indiana with few equals played at Bedford North Lawrence High School, located 15 minutes outside of Bloomington, where he led the program to a state title in 1990. (and remember back then Indiana's high school hoops tourney was all inclusive, no class divisions and Bailey's squad would have been the equivalent to a Class C school in a modern day comparison). After taking home the state championship and a Mr. Basketball Award his senior year, Bailey went on to have a solid career in college at Indiana University – he was a starter on the Hoosiers' 1992 Final Four team.
The quality defensive effort put in by Country Day was anchored by junior forward Kenny Knight and junior center Amir Williams, who both took turns guarding Thomas. Williams, a top Division 1 basketball recruit himself, had 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Bishop Lauers is now 2-2. The Knights received a 22-point effort by junior Kenny Mullens.
Ray McCallum is no stranger to playing high school hoops in the prep-crazy Hoosier state. As a freshman and sophomore, McCallum played his first two years of varsity ball at Bloomington North, just down the road from Indiana University where his father, Ray, Sr. was an assistant coach. Ray McCallum, Sr., a Hooiser schoolboy legend of years past when he won back-to-back state championships as an all-state guard at Muncie Central in the late-1970's, is now the head coach at University of Detroit-Mercy.  Accepting the UofD-Mercy job in the spring of 2008, he placed his namesake at the athletically and academically elite Country Day School when he and his family moved to the Motor City last year.


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