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.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Bonus Bytes - Part 1

Bonus Bytes - Part 1

Clarkston's Brandon Pokley is an out right stud. The best shooter this county has seen in quite some time. The only thing is Pokley doesn't have any offers from DI schools for him to go play at the next level. What a shame. This kid's a winner in every sense of the word and deserves a shot at playing for at least a mid-major somewhere in the area. Is it not enough that he's the leading scorer for the state's number one ranked team?  Anyway, on Tuesday when the Wolves were playing Rochester Adams - getting all they could handle by the way - I saw Oakland U head coach Greg Kampe in the stands taking in the action. Considering Kampe is going to lose his resident sharp shooter Eric Kangas next season to graduation, might he have been scouting Pokley to come take his place?  In the journalists mind, it would be good idea. Pokley is a winner - plain and simple. Kampe should grab this diamond in the ruff in his backyard and breath a sigh of relief the rest of the area's programs got caught sleeping.

Iam saying it right now and I might get some slack for it. But,pound-for-pound, Waterford Our Lady of The Lakes' sophomore forward, Lauren Robak, is the best girls bball player in the county. I don't care that she plays in Class D, she can flat out hoop and is a DI player right now as only sophomore. This girl has the heart of a champion too, the true mark of greatness when evaluating athletic talent.20Last Sunday, Robak single-handedly brought home the Catholic League Tournament Championship for WOLL by putting the Lakers on her back and scoring 25 of her 31 points in the second half - including the game winner and 2 free throws to send the game into overtime - in her team's 50-47 win over MC Cardinal Mooney. The performance will go down as one of the greatest in Catholic League Tournament play and should immediately get the scouts salivating. Here's to Lauren, the whole Lakers squad - my boy Steve Robak, her dad, a one of a kind class act on the sidelines, and one of the best coaches in the county - and a long run in the upcoming state playoffs.

I'm worried that the Catholic League A-B boys division may have been so tough in the regular season - its arguably the best conference in the state - that its teams are beginning to wear down and won't be at peak performance when districts start on March 9. These teams were in an all out war every night when facing off against each other. Being so close in talent differential, it would have been hard not to battle it out to the finish, as powerhous squads like De La Salle, CC, OLSM, UofD-Jesuit, put it on the line every game. That said, there has been noticeable slippage in the quality of play late in the season and that worries me. De La Salle got drubbed by Flint Powers last Saturday at Calihan Hall and CC almost blew a 17 point lead against UofD-Jesuit on Wednesday. Well see how things play ou t, but if I had to pick a team that has the where-with-all to withstand the grind and go far in the tourney, it would be CC. The Shamrocks depth and versatility play to their advantage - as opposed to teams like UofD and OLSM, who are top heavy - in shaking off the late season wear and tear and still making some noise in March.    

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Brownie Points

Kudos go out Farmington Hills Harrison senior Ken Brown for a spectacular final year playing prep sports. On the gridiron this past fall, Brown a split end on offensive and a cornerback on defense, led the Hawks football team in receptions and receiving yardage. On the hardwood, his primary sport, this winter, he's been nothing short of amazing. A slick, dead-eye shooting 2-guard, Brown, has a nose for the hoop like few others in the area. He scores points like most people blink their eyes - constant and rapidly. Averaging close to 24 points per contest, he broke his school's single game scoring record by netting 42 points on Friday night in a win against Bloomfield Hills Lahser, breaking a 21-year old mark held previously by Chad Burgess. Brown is not a selfish player either. Always looking to dish off to a teammate and not willing to force action if his shot isn't there, he averages seven assists a game as well This makes him considerably more dangerous than your average chucker. And since he was doing the same thing last year, he has been forced to go up against defenses geared to stop him. To his credit, they haven't. Because Harrison is not a basketball power - this season the Hawks have been hovering around the .500 mark all season and its the best record the program has been able to compile in quite some time - he doesn't get the accolades or recognition other high-scorers from the county get. But, don't get it twisted, he is the genuine article.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Wonders of Waterford

In an entry from the Rodney Dangerfield, "I get no respect,"
department, I thought I'd say a little something about the girls
basketball team at Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes. Despite having
compiled a robust 15-1 overall record so far this season, the Lakers do
not a hold a spot in the latest Associated Press Class D rankings, nor
are they ever spoken about when the local prep pundits - ir..Tom
Markowksi and Mick McCabe - wax poetic on the state's hoops landscape.
Why this is, I have no idea. WOLL are one of the best girls bball teams
in Oakland County regardless of class and school size and I am quite
certain they are worthy of a place in the Class D top ten. Not only is
the omission from the AP rankings a slap in the face to head coach
Steve Robak's more than stellar bunch of lady hoopsters, to add insult
to injury, the Lakers have not even received a single vote in the tally
that decides the top ten. This is an injustice of epic proportions and
I am willing to bet that WOLL will make all the voters, not to mention
Markowski and McCabe eat their words - or lack there of - when
tournament time rolls around in two weeks. Mark it down, the Lakers are
going to make a run and are likely to be playing in the state
quarterfinals against the winner of the Birmingham Roeper district,
which pits Roeper, ranked number two in the state and Cardinal Mooney,
ranked sixth in the state, in an early tourney match-up.

If you get a chance to check WOLL out on the court over the next month,
I suggest you do it - next Sunday in the Catholic League Finals against
Cardinal Mooney at Callahan Hall is a great opportunity. I promise you
won't be disappointed as the Lakers play an up tempo, fun style of ball
that sees a lot of long range bombing and displays a great deal of
solid fundamentals on both the offensive and defensive side of the
ball. Sophomore small forward Lauren Robak, the coach's daughter, is
one of the area's fastest rising stars. She can score in a variety of
ways and has an uncanny knack at finding the bottom of the net at the
most important times of a game - Robak hit a game-winning 3-pointer
against Cardinal Mooney earlier in the month and led a fourth quarter
rally from a double digit deficit in last Saturday's Catholic League
semi-final against Riverview Gabriel Richard which was capped by her
game winning free throws with 20 seconds to play. Augmenting Robak's
high-scoring antics is a super group of seniors that are the heart and
soul of a team that has returned everybody from last year's 18-4,
district championship campaign. Point guard Jen Losiowski might now
show up much in the stat sheet under the points column, but she is one
of the best floor generals in Oakland County girls basketball. Shooting
guard Allison Robb is a one of a kind sharp shooter, who would be the
leading scoring option on most other teams. Sensational sub Taryn
Stevens is the best "sixth man" in the area and provides instant
offense off the bench with her dead eye 3-point marksmanship. Jamie
Irwin and Abby Walbrook are do everything types who leads by example
and junior center Alexis Doetch is a beast in the post.

Hoop heads, I recommend not sleeping on this squad because they are the
definition of a quality sleeper pick come March.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mid-Season Player Rankings - Part II

Most Underrated

1. Eric Ellis - Sr. West Bloomfield
2. Art Dreimanis - Sr. Milford
3. Jeff Kohl - Sr. Groves
4. Brett Smith - Sr. Catholic Central
5. Ryan Zinser - Jr. Roeper

Best Point Guards

1. Anthony Adams - Soph. Pontiac Northern
2. Sam Burton - Sr. Oak Park
3. Jordan Fowler - Sr. Holly
4. Mike Fugate - Sr. Lakeland
5. Ray McCallum - Jr. Detroit Country Day

Best Post Players

1. Antwaan Credit - Sr. West Bloomfield
2. Austin Fowler - Sr. Brother Rice
3. Matt Kaminieke  - Jr. Clarkston
4. Donovan Kirk - Sr. Detroit Country Day
5. Da' Shonte Riley - Sr. Detroit Country Day

Best Reserves

1. Mike Furlong - Jr. Orchard Lake St. Mary's
2. Fred Gilmore - Sr. Pontiac Northern
3. Steve Harding - Sr. Catholic Central
4. Stephen McCarty - Jr. West Bloomfield
5. Amir Williams - Soph. Detroit Country Day  

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mid-Season Player Reports

all player reports are in alphabetical order and any and all feedback
is welcome and encouraged:

Top Scorers

1. Chirs Bellamy - Sr. Novi
2. Carlton Brundidge - Soph Southfield
3. Eric Fishman - Sr. Cranbrook
4. Richuad Pack - Jr. Seaholm
5. Kyle Vinales - Jr. North Farmington

Top 3 Point-Shooters

1. De Andre Davis - Sr. Pontiac Northern
2. Jordan Dumars - Sr. Detroit Country Day
3. Mike Furlong - Jr. Orchard Lake St. Mary's
4. Brandon Pokely - Sr. Clarkston
5. Kevin Rohner - Sr. Rochester Adams

Most Versatile

1. Ken Brown - Sr. Farmington Hills Harrison
2. Tim Dezelski - Sr. Catholic Central
3. Mike Fugate - Sr. Lakeland
4. Roy Marble, Jr. - Jr. Southfield-Lathrup
5. Dion Sims - Sr. Orchard Lake St. Mary's

Best Dunkers

1. Shawn Conway - Soph. Seaholm
2. Bennie Fowler - Sr. Detroit Country Day
3. Alan Hardy - Sr. Lahser
4. Ray McCallum - Jr. Detroit Country Day
5. Kallante Miller - Sr. Oak Park

Best Freshman/Rising Stars

1. Chris Dewberry - Oak Park
2. Matt Doneth - Catholic Central
3. Jack Gorland - Roeper
4. Quaran Jones - Orchard Lake St. Mary's
5. Devaughntre Webb - Avondale

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Year of The Maple

A mere side note at the start of the season, Birmingham Seaholm's boys
bball squad, sporting a 12-2 record so far this year, is turning into
one of the county's best feel good stories of the 2008/2009 prep
campaign. The Maples are anchored by high-scoring junior swingman
Richaud Pack, averaging close to 25 points per game and a player
beginning to make a name for himself with college recruiters across
the midwest with the way he is leading the Seaholm hoops program to
heights not seen at the corner of Cranbrook and Lincoln in quite some
time. The last time a Maples team was this formidable was back in 1997,
when the likes of hard-working studs Jon Borovich (Central Michigan),
Matt Ishpia (Michigan State), and David Schaeffer (Michigan State for
Football) gave opponents fits on the court with their tenacity and
guile while taking the school on a long and unexpected run in the state
tournament before losing in the sweet sixteen in a hard fought battle
against current NFL All Pro Tight End Antonio Gates and Detroit
Central, who eventually went on to win the state title. With Pack
pumping in points at a robust clip - as well as the team getting solid
contributions from high-flying sophomore Shawn Conway (Pack's first
cousin) and junior post men, Dan Meredith and Jack Quigley - this bunch
of Maples may be able to pull the same type of surprise during March
madness that its hardwood counterparts from over a decade ago did. The
great thing about this team is that it is underclassmen dominated. So
no matter what happens the rest of this year, Oakland County should be
on the look out for this squad of Seaholm shining stars to be a factor
next year too.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Burney's Bytes - Blog Entry # 13

Oakland County Girls Basketball Top 10 - for last week of January '09

1. Birmingham Detroit Country Day 13-0 - may not lose a game all year

2. Birmingham Marian 12-1 - took down Mercy last week, which proved to me that they are for real

3. Lake Orion 12-1 - is there a better "one-two" combo in the state than Watterworth and Zott?

4. Rochester Hills Adams 12-1 - the Lady Highlanders are doubling their pleasure and their fun this season courtesy of the Newsom twins

5. Pontiac Northern 9-3 - Gabby Machado has opponents doing their best Roberto Duron impression and saying, "No Mas!!" 

6. Birmingham Roeper 13-0 - free sailing for the Roughriders until districts when they'll face off against Catholic Laeague juggernaut Marine City Cardinal Mooney, the same team who bumped them off in the quarters last season.  Luckily for Roeper, the game will be in the friendly confines of its own gym.

7. Waterford Our Lady of The Lakes 12-1 - if the Lakers avoid playing Cardinal Mooney, whom they've lost 5 straight to, they'll be in for a long run come March

8. Bloomfield Hills Andover 11-2 - point guard Lena Thomas is one of the best juniors in the area.

9. Troy 9-3 - the Colts are starting to burn up thanks to Colleen Burns

10.  South Lyon 11-0 - need some signature wins to show they mean business.  playing in a weak KLAA doesn't help their cause