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.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Surprise, Surprise

In one of the biggest surprises of the last decade in Oakland County, Class D Southfield Christian has turned into a hotbed for big-time college and professional athletes.  Over the past 12 months, two players from the school's recently-founded football program have garnered themselves scholarships to the Big Ten Conference. I don't know for certain, but I would guess that one would be hard-pressed to find any small school football team in the state that can make such a claim. And the Eagles just started their squad five years ago and have only qualified for the playoffs once (2008).
In June, gargantuan incoming senior defensive lineman, Shafer Johnson (6-1, 305) verbally committed to Indiana after wowing Hoosier coaches with a spectacular performance at an elite recruit camp held in Bloomington. A similar situation developed last year when then-senior defensive end Taylor Calero used the offseason to skyrocket up recruiting charts to land a scholarship to Michigan State. Calero's classmate, the recently-graduated Devon Bailey, a two-time all-state tailback, had numerous scholarship offers from the MAC, yet chose to walk-on at MSU instead.
Amazingly, the Eagles have also produced a pair of NHL players, despite not having a hockey program. First, Brian Rafalski, a 1991 grad of the school, is one of the best American-born players in the league. Rafalski has won three Stanley Cups and has played in five Stanley Cup Finals. Following an All-American collegiate career at Wisconsin, however, he couldn't find his way into the NHL for five long years, a time in which he spent his playing days in Sweden. Finally, in the 1999-2000 season, he was inked by the New Jersey Devils. That's when his career took off. By 2002 he had been selected as an NHL all-star and in 2007 he signed a 30 million dollar contract with his hometown Detroit Red Wings. An Olympic selection for Team USA earlier this year, his play was a major reason the Americans almost came away with the gold, coming mere minutes away from upsetting favorites Team Canada.
Besides Rafalski, NHL'er and former Eagle Rob Globke also found success as a pro. Graduating from SC in 2000, he played his college puck at Notre Dame and became a 2ndnd round NHL draft pick of the Florida Panthers, a team that he is going into his 11th season playing for.
 Not to be outdone by his famous fellow alumi, John Coyle, who graduated from the school in 1986, took home a Silver Medal in the 1988 Winter Olympics as a speed skater.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Five For Fighting - Lights, Camera, Action!

In honor of actor James Gammon's recent death (Gammon played fictional Cleveland Indians manager Lou Brown in the 1989 movie Major League), I have decided to break down Burney's very own top five list of the best high school coaches in Movie and/or TV history. Alright, as The Black Eyed Peas say, lets get it started!
Burney's Top 5 – Fictional Prep Head Coaches
1 Norman Dale (Hoosiers, 1986) – By far the greatest fake sideline general of all-time in the by the greatest sports movie of all-time!  Played brilliantly by Oscar-winning actor Gene Hackman, Dale led the middle-of-the-road Hickory Huskers all the way to the 1952 Indiana high school state basketball championship and he did it by teaching a group of undersized scrappers, including arguably the best on-screen hoopster of all-time in Jimmy Chitwood, to play as a unit on the floor and use fundamentals and defense to take down larger-sized, more athletically gifted teams en route to the crown. Famous for once playing almost the entire second half a game with only four players on the floor as a means to teach his No. 2 scorer, the team and the entire community, a lesson in humility, discipline and pride.   
2 Ken Reeves (White Shadow, 1978-1981) – By far the coolest TV head coach in history! Played by Ken Howard, Reeves was a injured white pro basketball player who found his way to coaching a minority-dominated team in inner-city Oakland, California, filled with colorful characters like: Warren Coolidge (a afro-wearing big fella and the squad's best player, who in one episode that proved to foreshadow events almost two decades later, is considering going pro and declaring for the NBA right out of 12th grade), Morris Thorpe (a sly and cerebral point guard that knows how to keep the team loose both on the floor and off with his slick-witted antics), James "Hollywood" Hayward (Thorpe's backcourt, who had a mean mid-range game and could take it to the rack with the authority and doubled as the team's No. 1 ladies man) and Mario "Salami" Petrino ( the team's only white player and its defensive specialist and sparkplug off the bench).

The kind of coach that you would both want to play really hard for and then hang out with after school.
3 Vern Nickerson (All The Right Moves, 1983) – Gets points deducted 'cause despite his awesome motivational tactics and inspirational speeches heading the Ampipe HS football team in a dim Pennsylvania steel town, he tried to blackball his grittiest and hardest-hitting player (Stef Djorgevic played by none other than Tom Cruise) from getting a scholarship to play in college because of personal differences. Still, his pre-game speech before the epic clash with Walnut Heights gives me chills every time I watch this movie (which today is currently at the No. 567 re-watch mark). Nickerson's decision to not take a safety late in the game and instead hand the ball off to an average running back in the middle of a rain storm and on his own goal line (which said running back immediately fumbled due to the weather's slippery conditions and Heights recovered for the game-winning TD as time expired) goes down as the all-time biggest coaching blunder in movie history!
In a taste of things to come, the role of Nickerson was played by Craig T. Nelson, who would eventually go onto stardom as a fictional college football coach in the hit TV sitcome, "Coach" in the late-80s and early-90s.

4 Eric Taylor (Friday Night Lights TV show, 2006 - Present)
– I personally liked the book and the movie FNL (about high school football and small town life in West Texas) better than the TV show, but that said, actor Kyle Chandler's portrayal of coach Taylor is pretty amazing and many of the storylines (the Jason Street saga and the Tim Riggins character-arc, especially) are very intriguing.
5 Bobby Finstock (Teen Wolf, 1985) – Not a very good hoops coach at all, however, unbelievably funny and even though he only has less than a dozen dialogue sequences in the underrated film classic that is Teen Wolf, you find yourself in stitches after every single one.
A few choice clips:
There are three rules that I live by: never get less than twelve hours sleep; never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city; and never get involved with a woman with a tattoo of a dagger on her body. Now you stick to that, and everything else is cream cheese.
What is it, gambling? Drugs? You know I'd really like to help you but I'm kind of tapped out this month. The IRS is coming down on me like it's some personal vendetta against Bobby Finstock.
Well, Christ, Thorne, look at the sneakers those guys are wearing. If our guys had sneakers like that there's no telling what they could do.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Bonus Bytes - Summer Bulletin Board

Just the thought of the loaded Lake Orion Dragons facing off with coaching legend Bud Rowley and his Oxford squad in the Wildcats inaugural game in the OAA to open up the 2010 high school football season next month gives me GOOSE BUMPS!!
Word is out that local prep football stud Valdez Showers, MH Madison's heavily-recruited dynamo of a RB/DB combo, might announce his college destination in the next few days.  Right now the Eagles' "Reign Man" is deciding between Big Ten schools Michigan, MSU, Iowa and Wisconsin and SEC powers, Florida and Auburn. Burney's feeling on this is that Showers is most likely headed to the DIRTY SOUTH for his collegiate career, which will almost certainly be played at the cornerback spot despite being a stat-munching, juke-expert of a prepster tailback in THE OC.
Condolences go out from Burney to the family of recently deceased Birmingham Seaholm varsity wrestling and softball coach Mike Hessling……Coach Mike was a great guy and will be dearly missed!
Reaching For The Stars
The REACH Legends have been downright dazzling in tourney play on the road over the last week, compiling a 7-1 record. During a tournament in Las Vegas, the squad of mega-ballers advanced all the way into the Elite Eight. OC hoopsters, Allen Robinson (OL St. Mary's) and Juwaan Moody (Pontiac), each came with their respective 'A' games, averaging over 25 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists combined in the Vegas run
Touching down in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday for their next tourney stop, the Legends have reeled off three straight victories. Leading the squad's efforts from the area cage brigade were Juwaan Moody (25 pts and 7 dimes) in game 1; Novi Detroit CC's Kyle Cooper (12 points, 6 reb) in game 2; and Moody (12 pts, 4 asst), along with Birmingham Brother Rice's Drew Holinski (10 points, 4 reb, 3 asst) in game 3. Also highlighting the team's offense in their recent hot streak has been former OC baller, Evan Webster, who just graduated from OL St. Mary's in June after three years on the Eaglets varsity roster. Webster continues to impress as he tries to play his way onto a roster at the next level this summer by showing well in front of college coaches. (his young age for his grade allows him to play an extra year of AAU ball). Stroking the rock from downtown at a very high-rate of profficiency (he was 6-8 in game 3 in Cali for a game-high 18 pts), Webster is finally being able to display some of his very marketable traits on the court that often got hidden during his prep career behind a stacked group of teammates.
Tough Luck
AH Avondale's feisty floor general Tony Harris drained what appeared to be a 15-foot game-winner from the right baseline at the buzzer in a tourney final in Orlando for Dorian's Pride, but the dramatic shot was taken off the scoreboard when the officials ruled that the Pride bench had called for a timeout prior to Harris' heroics. Sadly, that was the blow that officially took the wind out of the Pride's sails and they went on to lose in OT. Luck has not been on the side of the Pride this summer and its coach Tim McCormick as this was the fifth time in the last three months the team has lost in the final seconds of a tourney championship tilt.
Sniper Roll Call
Juniors-to-be Chris Dewberry (Waterford Mott) and Nick Tatu (Clarkston), two of the best long distance bombers the OC has to offer, each have kept things toasty behind the line while preparing for the 2011 season by touching up the twine just as much as ever on the summer circuit. Dewberry of the AAU Stars notched a 25-point outing last week as did Tatu of OAA Select two weeks ago. Both marksman drilled five triples apiece.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sleeping In Southfield

Once again this prep football season there are going to be a good amount of hidden gems, "Sleepers" if you will, in the county's ranks. These are the type of players who might not have a ton of hype going into the fall's gridiron campaign, but are already squarely on the radar of college recruiters and ready to make their way into the headlines as soon as the season starts up in a little over a month from now.  In case you didn't know, THE OC is full of closely-guarded treasures all over its high school sports landscape.
If you check into this blog regularly, Burney has already given you the rundown on the likes of 2011 "Sleeper Extraordinaires" like Alex Fine (Lake Orion), Bryan Bell (WL Central), Willie Beavers (Southfield-Lathrup), Conor Hart (Birmingham Brother Rice) and Devonte Synder (MH Madison)....among others, so here are a couple of more names to keep a look out for this year. 
And guess what?.......They're all DEFENSIVE ACES from SOUTHFIELD!!!
1 Shafer Johnson (DT – Southfield Christian): Without a doubt the crown jewel of this season's "Sleeper Class" and the second player in the past two seasons to earn a scholarship to a Big Ten school for the Eagles program, entering only its fifth year of existence. Johnson, a 6-feet-1 inch, 305 pound defensive lineman, shot up the recruiting charts this spring and in June was offered and accepted an invitation to play at Indiana University starting in 2011. GREAT JOB and KUDOS to SC head coach and AD Tim Fracassi (note to any school looking to start up a prep football program in the future - look to THE FRACASSI WAY as the blueprint and everything will be alright....and FAST.

Recently departed Eagles, Taylor Calero (DE) and Devon Bailey (All-State running back) are both set to be at Michigan State this fall with Calero on scholarship and Bailey coming on board as a walk-on.
2 Cameron Boyd (CB – Southfield-Lathrup, 5-11 170) – Could wind up being the best "cover cornerback" in the county by season's end – has definite "lockdown"-status written all over him judging by his slew of grade-A performances this offseason. Currently receiving interest from coaching staffs at Michigan State, Indiana, Western Michigan, Bowling Green, Toledo and Northern Illinois……..honed his cover skills going up against former teammate Montrell Robinson ('10, currently at Cincinnati) in practice last year
3 Carthel Garth (S – Southfield, 5-11 180) – This Bluejays safety has Toledo and Grand Valley State currently in hot pursuit for his hard-hitting and instinctive talents calling signals in the defensive backfield

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Lake Show

Head coach Mike Boyd and his Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes football program have had quite a few spectacular football talents sport the Blue and White with the pride and purpose over the years. Because Boyd has traditionally been a fan of a Bo Schembechler-type offense – three yards and a cloud of dust, nothing fancy just hard-nosed, smashmouth and successful – through his 25 seasons-plus of leading the Lakers on the gridiron, not many of them have  been quarterbacks.
As a result, when gritty-gunslinger of a field general, Mike Sullivan, came on to the squad as a freshman in 2007, Boyd was forced to change up his offensive philosophy to better mesh with his new top-rate tosser, not to mention a player that would wind up being his starter under center for the next four seasons. The response to the shift has been a resounding success alas more of the same for Lakes from Sullivan, entering his senior campaign this fall as one of the top quarterbacks in Oakland County, and his tough-as-nails teammates: In other words, no matter what offense Boyd decides to run, the program continues to win as evidenced by the team's three consecutive playoff qualifications with Boyd's more vertically inclined play calling and Sullivan's school-record eclipsing performance throwing the pigskin downfield.
Since he plays at such a small school – WOLL is D8 – major colleges didn't come flooding to his doorstep right off the bat. This didn't dissuade Sullivan from striving to achieve his dream of playing D1 college football and his consistent improvement of the past three years added with a number of eye-catching showings at offseason camps and combines the last five months, has made that dream an almost-certain reality. Two weeks away from starting training camp as a fourth-year starter calling signals, he has several major and mid-major college football recruiters hot on his trail, a reward for his refined skill and hard work.
In 2009 as a junior, Sullivan (6-1, 165 lbs) threw for 1200 yards, 11 TD's and a 65% completion percentage. This summer, he's been on his grind double-time, attending over a dozen showcase camps and demonstrating to recruiters that despite hailing from a small school in the prep ranks, he can play just as efficient when matched up against players from bigger programs. The schools most interested in attaining his services at the D1 college level appear at this moment to be Western Michigan, Colorado State, Florida Atlantic, Cornell, Wyoming,Bowling Green and Toledo. Programs like Notre Dame, Michigan State, Ohio State, Cincinatti, Utah, UNLV and Vanderbilt have also showed interest in Sullivan.
Those in attendance at a recent 7-on-7 scrimmage held at Lake Orion got a preview of what is to come for defenses in the CHSL this year. Getting into a comfort zone early on, he picked apart a very good Lake Orion' 'D' for 4 TD's in a shootout with standout Dragons' QB Sean Charrette (4 TD's against Lakes in the same game).
With a solid nucleus returning for Boyd and the Lakers, including Sullivan, Austin Karbowski, Paul Goedeke and Anthony "The Koz Man" Caiozzo, WOLL has a solid shot at making a run to Ford Field this November and the D8 state championship game. Now, Koz Man, "Sully the Sidewinder" (my new nickname for Sullivan 'cause he has an arm like a cannon), "AK-47" (my new nickname for Karbowski 'cause he as deadly on the field as a AK 47 assault weapon) and "The Plow" (my new nickname for Goedekke 'cause he plows over/past anything in his way with reckless abandon) go out there on the field this fall and GET 'R DONE for your boy Burney……….I'm talking undefeated season, conference crown, TWO trips to Ford Field and another WOODEN MITTEN …… state title for the school's trophy case!!!!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Twice As Nice

After starring on the football field and basketball court in each of the last two years as sophomores and juniors, Auburn Hills Avondale's slippery-fast and silky-smooth pair of Tony Harris and Ray Tillman are back to punish the competition at every opportunity as a seniors this upcoming school year and cement their legacies as two of the best athletes to ever don the purple and gold.
On the football field, Harris and Tillman form an elusive and stat-chomping duo of wide receivers/cornerbacks for the Yellow Jackets. When it comes to hoops, they make up a devastatingly productive backcourt, with Harris running the point and Tillman flanking him at the two-guard spot.
These JUGGERNAUT 'JACKETS have been preparing for their final year in the prep ranks by torching opponents (per standard procedure mind you) on both the hardwood and gridiron this summer in a series of camps and summer leagues.
Tony, Tony, Tony has done it again!
Harris was ON FIRE 10 days ago at the Great Lakes Invitational AAU Tournament, averaging close to 25 points and 6.5 assists per game. In the tourney semi-finals, he put up a 33-spot while dishing off five dimes and corralling five boards. Can you say CHRIS PAUL clone? His performance at split end and d-back in several 7-on-7 camps with the Yellow Jackets football squad was just as scintillating as he reached double-figures in touchdown receptions and combined picks/pass deflections. Oh, did I mention that he has Deon Sanders-like moves on kick-off returns and is a threat to take it to the house whenever a team decides to boot it in his direction on special teams?
"Tony is having an unbelievable summer basketball-wise and has really taken his game to another level," said his AAU coach, Tim McCormick. "He's a great lead guard who sees the floor very well and knows when to score the ball and when to pass it. His consistency has improved a lot since last summer and that just makes him that much more dangerous."

I've decided to nickname Harris "The Truth" for the simple fact that this kid's game never lies!!!!
Sweet as Sugar
Tillman matches his buddy, "Truth's" exploits at every turn, equaling his output in both sports – for example the pair sported nearly-identical stat lines on the hardwood last season…22 ppg, 6 apg, 4 rpg. Touching up defenders for a bevy of spectacular moves at a number of recent AAU tourneys has raised Tillman's already-toasty stock up a few notches on the college basketball recruiting radar. His near-flawless showings at several football camps in the last two months has provided him the opportunity to choose what sport he wants to play at the next level. Late last season on the gridiron, Tillman absolutely BLEW UP, giving opposing secondaries and defensive coordinators alike nightmares by catching 13 balls for five TD's in the final two games of the season. In the team's second to last contest of the year, he racked-up a whopping 210 yards receiving with 3 TD grabs.
NICKNAME ALERT NO. 2.....Like with Harris, I've decided to bestow upon Tillman a long-deserved nickname. This is going to be very easy and very appropriate. From this point forward Rapheal Tillman (his real name) will be known as "Sugar Ray" because his game is just so so SWEET!
Watch for both "Tony the Truth" Harris and "Sugar Ray" Tillman to continue their accolade-filled ways this upcoming school year and finish out their prep careers just as strong as ever and probably much much stronger when it's all said and done.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Five For Fighting - G.O.A.T part IV

OC Top 5 – All-Time Boys Prep Basketball Greats
1 Chris Webber (Birmingham Detroit Country Day) – Took DCD to three straight state titles as a prepster before going on to garner college hoop icon-status by headlining the immeasurably popular and culture-altering Fab Five at Michigan (leading the Maize & Blue to back-to-back NCAA championship games) and becoming the first overall pick in the 1993 NBA Draft. Very good pro career with a multitude of teams.....a rare 20-10-5 guy for most of his 15 year run in the league
2 Campy Russell (Pontiac Central) – The first in a long line of legendary Russell boys that starred for Pontiac Central and an eventual All-American forward at Michigan who went on to become a first round draft pick in the NBA (by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1974), a nine-year league vet and future NBA All-Star (1979)
3 Shane Battier (Birmingham Detroit Country Day) – Patrolled the paint with unbridled ferocity and dogged determination for the 'Jackets in the mid-to-late-1990s, leading the program to three straight state championships alas CWebb less than a decade earlier. When Battier hit college he expanded his game out onto the perimeter and kept his reputation for in-your-shorts 'D' resulting in an All-American career which concluded by being named National Player of The Year in 2001 and winning a National title with Coach K and the Duke Blue Devils. First round NBA Draft pick who has carved out an impressive niche for himself in the league the last decade as a better-than-average outside shooter, top defensive ace and ultimate "glue" guy
4 a B.J. Armstrong (Birmingham Brother Rice) – Dynamic and fiery floor general for the Warriors in the high school and then as an All-American at Iowa in college and playing alongside Michael Jordan on the three straight NBA World Champion Chicago Bulls teams of the early-1990s.
4 b Tim McCormick (Clarkston) – Best big man in the county's prep hoop landscape of the late-1970s leading the Wolves to an undefeated regular season and appearance in the final four during his senior campaign in 1979-1980. An all-conference selection at Michigan and drafted in the second round of the NBA Draft by the Seattle Supersonics in 1984, McCormick had a 10-year career in the NBA playing for a half-dozen teams and several Hall of Famers like Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, Dr. J, Hakeem the Dream and Dominique Wilkins.
5 Bruce Flowers (Berkley) – Workhorse forward for the Bears in high school who dominated the county's post game in the early-1970s. Went on to have a solid collegiate career at Notre Dame and then a short stint in the NBA with the Cleveland Cavs
HM: Ray McCallum (DCD), Team Fife - Dan/Dugan/Dane (Clarkston), Lester Abram (Pontiac Northern)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Five (10) For Fighting - G.O.A.T part III

OC Top 10 – All-Time Prep Football Greats
1 Pete Dawkins (BH Cranbrook) – Won a Heisman Trophy at Army in 1958 as an All-American tailback before becoming a Rhodes Scholar studying at Oxford and a Brigadeer General in the Vietnam War. As a prepster at Cranbrook, Dawkins was the starting quarterback on the football team, a high-scoring forward on the Crane's hockey team and the baseball team's ace pitcher and clean-up hitter. Demonstrating his merit as a supreme specimen of an athlete, he also lettered in hockey at West Point and while completing his prestigious Rhodes Scholarship in England he became a standout rugby player for Oxford's varsity squad.
2 Mill "The Thrill" Coleman (FH Harrison) – The most electrifying prep football talent the county has ever seen winning two state titles and being named a 3-time all-stater at the quarterback position in the late-1980s and early-1990s. Coleman became the state of Michigan's all-time leader in career passing yardage and touchdowns for the Hawks before going on to have a solid collegiate career as a wide receiver/kick returner at Michigan State and a pro career with the Chicago Bears of the NFL and Montreal Alouettes of the CFL
3 John Miller (FH Harrison) – The consummate workhorse of a two-way player (RB/S) in the early-1980s for Coach Herrington's Harrison squads (leading the Hawks to a state title in 1981) and then in the mid-to-late 1980s for the MSU Spartans as a crafty defensive back  
4 Kirk Gibson (Waterford Kettering) – An All-American wide receiver for Michigan State in the late-1970s following a three-sport varsity career for the Captains in the earlier portion of the decade
5 David Bowens (OL St. Mary's) – A dominating defensive player/tight end for the Eaglets in the mid-1990s winning a state title in 1994. Played collegiately at Michigan and Western Illinois as a tenacious pass rusher before embarking on a decade-long NFL career (drafted in the fifth round of the NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos) that is still going strong. He also had a spectacular prep hoops career as a rim-rattling all-state power forward for several state-ranked Eaglets basketball teams, helping the school advance to the Class C state championship game as a junior. Bowens is currently under contract with the Cleveland Browns.
6 Brian Brennan (Birmingham Brother Rice) – The quintessential "possession receiver" in the 1980s with the NFL's Cleveland Browns who quarterbacked his high school team at Rice in the late-1970s and caught passes in college from Heisman Trophy winner, Doug Flutie in the Big East at Boston College
7 Torin Dorn (Southfield) – Arguably the greatest defensive back in the history of Oakland County prep football who went on to have an all-conference career in the ACC at North Carolina in the late-1980s and then a seven-season run in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams throughout the 1990s.
8 Charles Johnson (Birmingham Detroit Country Day) – Johnson was the ultimate option QB in both high school and college where he won both state and national championships. In college with the 1991 National Champion Colorado Buffalos he was named the MVP of the Orange Bowl, which that year served as the quasi-National Championship game. He is currently the assistant athletic director in Boulder, Colorado at his alma mater where he does color commentator for the Buffalos basketball team. As a high schooler, Johnson was the point guard on Kurt Keener's first final four bball squad in 1986, the same year he led the Yellow Jackets' to the state title on the gridiron.
9 a. Jim Miller (Waterford Kettering) – Tough-as-nails QB with the Captians and MSU Spartans before having an 11-year pro career in the NFL, leading the Chicago Bears to a NFC Central title as a starter in 2000
9 b. Todd Krumm (West Bloomfield) – Instinctive free safety who recovered the game-clinching fumble for the MSU Spartans in their 1988 Rose Bowl victory over USC and went on to have a short pro career in the NFL with the Chicago Bears. Played both football and baseball in East Lansing and as a prepster at West Bloomfield he won a state title in 1983 on the diamond. Krumm was a big hitter and all around playmaker on the gridiron in college, finishing his four years with the Spartans as the school's second all-time leader in career interceptions with 18 total picks.
10 a John Wangler (RO Shrine) – Sparked the Michigan Wolverines to a memorable 1981 Rose Bowl win over Washington after an all-state career slinging the pigskin for the Shrine Knights in High School. Can be seen in several nationally-recognized highlight clips from his days in Ann Arbor delivering the ball into the hands of future NFL all-pro wide out, Anthony Carter for a number of spine-tingling touchdowns in the Big House.
10 b L.J. Shelton (Rochester) – Mammoth offensive lineman who earned All-American honors at EMU in the late-1990s before being drafted in the first round of the 1999 NFL draft by the Arizona Cardinals. Shelton, the son of former NBA center, Lonnie Shelton, was an all-conference performer in both football and basketball as a prepster and has been in the NFL for over a decade. He is currently under contract with the San Diego Chargers

Friday, July 23, 2010

Five For Fighting - G.O.A.T part II

OC Top 5 – All-Time Prep Soccer Greats
1 Alexi Lalas (BH Cranbrook) – A genuine icon of American soccer over the past two decades as a player, team executive and broadcaster. Lalas was named the state's Mr. Soccer as a senior at Cranbrook (where he was also an all-state forward on a state championship Cranes hockey team) in 1987 and went onto to have an All-American career as an ace defender at Rutgers (where he was also an all-conference forward on the school's hockey team), leading the Scarlet Knights to a pair of NCAA final four appearances. Selected as a member of the U.S. National Team in 1991, he was a part of two World Cup squads, has scored nine goals at the international level and became the first American player to ever play in Italy's top pro division. 
2 Ryan Mack (Birmingham Seaholm) – Another Mr. Soccer Award winner (1997) hailing from the OC who went onto have an outstanding collegiate career. Mack was an All-American at Indiana University in the late-90s and early-2000s and helped lead the Hoosiers to back-to-back National Championships in 1999 and 2000 as a high-scoring forward/midfielder. Started his pro career in 2003 being drafted by the MLS' Chicago Fire and is currently still playing professionally with the Milwaukee Wave of the Major Indoor Soccer League. While with the hometown Detroit Ignition (formerly the Detroit Rockers) in 2006 he tallied 29 goals in 37 games of action.
3 Jordan Gruber (Birmingham Groves) –Single-season scoring leader in the history of the state of Michigan by blasting an amazing 69 goals into the back of the net for the Falcons in the fall of 2000, spearheading them into a place in the D2 state championship game. Gruber played in college at Michigan State before embarking on a multi-year pro career which has taken him around the world and allowed him to play in places like Israel, Greece and Turkey.
4 Billy Weaver (Lake Orion) – Scored over 100 career goals for the Dragons in his four-year career, notching 53 goals (and 27 assists) as a senior in 2003, good for 10th all-time in state history and the state's Mr. Soccer Award. Weaver played his college ball at Indiana just like Mack and earned Academic All-American honors in his time with the Hoosiers from 2004-2008.
5 Tim Webb (Birmingham Detroit Country Day) – A gifted midfielder who captained three consecutive DCD state title squads in the late-1980s and early-1990s and then went on to have a great college career in the Ivy League at Brown

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Five For Fighting - G.O.A.T part I

OC Top 5 – All-Time Greatest Prep Baseball Players
1 Kirk Gibson (Waterford Kettering) – The definition of clutch and gritty as a pro in the 1980s when he was a two-time World Series Champ with the Detroit Tigers and L.A. Dodgers (National League MVP Award winner in 1988)
2 Bill Freehan (Royal Oak) – One of the best MLB catchers of the 1960s and early-70s who played his entire 15 year career with the Tigers and helped the franchise win the World Series in 1968 while expertly managing a pitching staff headlined by Denny McClain(an eye-popping 31 wins that year) and Mickey Lolich
3 Ted Simmons (Southfield) – One of the best hitting MLB catchers of the last half of the 20th Century, compiling a career .285 batting average – he hit over .300 seven times and made 8 All-Star games – in over two decades in the pros
4 Steve Howe (Clarkston) – MLB Rookie of The Year (Dodgers) and World Series Champion (Dodgers) plagued by drug and alcohol issues from early on in his multi-season pro career, which saw him rack up a total win-loss record of 48-41, with 91 saves and a 3.03 ERA
5 Bob Welch (Hazel Park) – CY Young Award winner and multiple World Series winner for the L.A. Dodgers and Oakland A's in the 1980s as well as the only MLB pitcher over the past 38 years to top the 25-victory plateau when he won 27 games for the A's in 1990.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Blazing a Trail To Greatness

The county is about to have yet another titillating two-sport stud in its midst.  Word out of the Orchard Lake St. Mary's football program is that Eaglets' baseball star, Blaise Salter, one of the top incoming seniors on the state's prep diamond scene, will be head coach George Porritt's starting tight end this fall on the gridiron.
Salter, an all-state catcher in the spring and verbally committed to play in 2012 for Michigan State, is expected to replace recently graduated three-year starter, Mike Padula, in St. Mary's line-up when the football season opens for the Eaglets on August 27 on the road at Grand Rapids West Catholic. His large frame, large hands and high-levels of agility and speed make him a perfect fit at the position and his presence in the offense will ease the transition of the team's new starting quarterback by his sheer ability to act as a potent safety valve on broken plays and alternate reads.
On the baseball diamond, Salter hits a ton – over the .375 mark – at the plate and possesses a lethal gun of an arm behind it, making it nearly impossible to steal bases on the Eaglets' defense. The coaching staff at MSU knew how valuable this kid was and was eager to get him into the fold up in East Lansing as quick as possible. A scholarship offer was proffered and a commitment secured from him before the start of his junior campaign this past spring.
Success in both baseball and football runs in Salter's family. Bill Freehan, former MLB all-star catcher, not to mention one of the best prep athletes to ever spawn from Oakland County, is Salter's grandfather. Freehan was an all-state catcher and running back at Royal Oak High School back in the late-1950s before accepting a dual-athletic scholarship (baseball and football) to the University of Michigan and helping to lead the Wolverines to a win in the College World Series in 1960 during his sophomore year. As a professional ball player, he played 15 years in the big leagues, each and everyone of them with his hometown Detroit Tigers, 11 of which he was named to the MLB American League All-Star team.
In 1968, he was an integral member of the Tigers' World Championship squad, finishing second in the balloting for American League MVP behind teammate Denny McClain and recording the final out of the World Series that October on a pop foul down the first base line that sent the entire city of Detroit and state of Michigan in general into a state of delirium. Up until 2002, he was the all-time MLB leader in fielding percentage for catchers. Following his retirement in 1976, Freehan has held a series of television and radio broadcasting gigs and for a period of time in the late-80s and early-90s he was the head baseball coach of his alma mater UofM up in Ann Arbor.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Midas Touch

Everyone knows that your boy Burney is a master prep prognosticator and an all around high school sports guru, but did you know that he also has a Midas touch when it comes to grooming outstanding athletic talent from a very young age?
Well, Burney himself didn't even know about this crazysupercool hidden skill of his until he realized it the other day while walking his old stomping grounds of Roeper Summer Day Camp on Woodward Avenue in Bloomfield Hills.  It all came back to me in a rush of memories. I couldn't believe that I had found yet another fascinating and unique part of my own life story. YEE HAW, BURNEY!
Ya see, I used to work as a counselor at the camp when I was a teenager back in the 1990s and if memory serves correct – which it always does by the way – I mentored quite a few awesome area athletes as youngsters.
Now, let's break the situation at hand down a little bit more so I can continue to give myself shameless PROPS!
It started when I was 15 and a CIT and in the group of six year olds I had the privilege of looking after was a kid named, Charlie White. Yeah, the same Charlie White who just recently won a silver medal in the Winter Olympics a few months back in ice dancing. White could also get his Puck On as a prepster in the early-2000s and played forward on a state championship hockey team for BH Cranbrook.
Then a few years later, when I was a full-fledged counselor I had Ryan Zinser and Aiden Murdock – both all-conference studs in basketball and baseball respectively this past year – in my group.
This is all not even mentioning the fact that my CIT when I was a counsel for Zinser and Murdock was Joe Tate, who would soon go onto have an all-state football career as an offensive lineman at Southfield-Lathrup before suiting up as a two-year starter at Michigan State on the college level.
NOTICE TO ALL PARENTS READING THIS BLOG WITH CHILDREN THAT ARE ASPIRING VARSITY ATHLETES: If you want, you guys can pay Burney a couple of hundred dollars an hour and I will gladly take your child under my wing for the summer and with my proven track record personally guarantee that in 10 years from now they will be starring in the local prep ranks in whatever their chosen sport......LOL

Monday, July 19, 2010

Heart of A Warrior

The pedigree is perfect. The stage is set. Now, all Birmingham Brother Rice senior football stud, Conor Hart has to do is show up on the field this fall and fill his rightful place in his family's pantheon of gridiron greats. No easy task for sure. However, make no doubt, Hart, a big and fast tight end/defensive end prospect is sure to be ready to produce.  CAN U SAY BREAKOUT YEAR? If u believe your boy Burney that is exactly what is going to happen! Take it to the bank!
After doing his work quietly in the background for the Warriors the past two seasons, this 6-feet-4 inch 250 pound menace is set to be a featured part of both the team's offense and defense this year.  On offense he will be catching the ball across the middle from quarterback Tyler Lendzion, who like Hart himself is in the midst of an extremely productive and improvement-filled summer. His speed – he is an all-conference runner during track and field season in the spring clocked as fast as 4.5 in the 40 – will also allow the Rice staff to send him on fly routes, a very pleasant, yet very rare facet of any prep tight end's game. On defense, he will provide the upfront pass rush on Rice's 'D line alongside fellow DI recruit Levi Richards. Last season, Hart collected 7 sacks and 73 total tackles playing defensive end, the position he projects to be at the college level right now.
This kid's genes alone tell you he's going to be a keeper in the college ranks. Leon Hart, Conor's grandfather won the Heisman Trophy in 1949 at Notre Dame before going onto an all-pro NFL career with the Detroit Lions. Kevin Hart, Conor's dad, also played at Notre Dame (as did his older brother Brendan) and was a member of the Fighting Irish's 1977 National Championship squad.
The unfortunate lack of exposure of Conor's talents earlier in his prep career has translated into the majors of the recruiting game failing to come flocking right away. He currently has offers from mid-majors Toledo, Central Michigan, Ball State, Buffalo, Colorado State and Miami (OH), but as of right now no offers from any major programs.  That said, he has significant interest from some of the Big Boys like MSU, Notre Dame, Missouri, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin, Northwestern and Colorado and offers are certain to start pouring in from them as well as others if Hart has the type of season everyone is predicting.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Five For Fighting - Shooting Stars

OC Top 5 – Fastest-Rising Stars
1          Matt Godin      Jr.        Novi Detroit CC (Football)                 
            This Shamrock lineman prospect is a one of a kind talent!  Expect BIG THINGS from this big fella in the trenches for the Mach Express the next two years
2          Conor Hart      Sr.        Birmingham Brother Rice (Football)
            Hailing from a rich lineage of gridiron greatness, Hart is an athletic and sure-handed tight end primed for a breakout senior year with the Warriors
3 a.      Tony Harris     Sr.        Auburn Hills Avondale (Football/Basketball)
            Don't sleep on this double-sport gamer (smooth as silk point guard for the 'Jackets in the winter and shifty wide          receiver/defensive back combo in the fall)that I've decided to  nickname "The Truth" because he has been living at the corner of AWESOME and AMAZING all offseason long….can you say an AAU tourney high 33 points this past week in Swartz Creek.
3 b.      Josh Fugate     Sr.        Holly (Basketball)
            The Bronchos brand new captain, floor general and No.1 scoring option is absolutely ON FIRE this summer!
4          Tariq Akeel      Jr.        Birmingham Detroit Country Day (Boys Soccer)
            Stayed in the shadows a bit last season as a super soph until late for the defending state champion, Yellow Jackets, but this sleek and light-footed midfielder will no doubt take center stage this fall in the team's quest for a repeat
5          Aaron Burbridge Jr.    Farmington Hills Harrison (Football)
            The next in a long line of excellent Hawks split ends ready to keep building on what was an outstanding rookie varsity campaign as a sophomore in 2009 – 44 catches, 762 yards and 8 TDs

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bonus Bytes - Quick Hits

Congrats go out from Burney to Keith Garrison, who was recently named the new head varsity football coach at Waterford Mott
Has anyone like myself, ever wondered why a background character in the epic 1980s teen movie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, is sporting a Birmingham Groves varsity jacket throughout the film? ………(the movie is supposed to take place in Chicago)
OL St. Mary's Allen Robinson, a two-sport star in the state of Michigan with few equals, has offers in football from BIG Ten schools, Penn State and Minnesota as of right now, with several more conference programs circling the perimeter and expected to offer soon. A high-scoring two guard in the winter with the Eaglets basketball team, Robinson (6-3 195) is a spry playmaker on the gridiron, whether lining up at wide receiver on offense or free safety on 'D'
Deandre Sheppard has replaced the legendary, Tarlton Small, as the new athletic director at Pontiac High School
Speaking of Phoenix Nation, incoming senior hoopster Juwan Moody has been lighting it up for the REACH Legends on the AAU circuit these past few weeks. Down in a tourney in Kentucky, he tallied a game-high 24 points, going 5-for-5 from long distance range, in the squad's quarterfinal win before bowing from the tournament with a team-high 20 points in a loss in the semis. Fellow OC cage stud, Samier Ozier (Novi), put up double-doubles in both games (12-10, 10-10 respectively). How awesome is it that Moody aka "The Surgeon" and Ozier, aka "The Big Sham Wow" are tearing it up on the hardwood TOGETHER this summer?
Burney is mega-excited that Moody's backcourt-mate in the winter, Anthony "Ant" Adams will be Pontiac's featured ball-carrier this fall on the football field and can't wait to see THA ANT get his touchdown on!!!
Birmingham Brother Rice's varsity football team is currently undefeated on the summer in 7-on-7 competition
Props to the Dorian's Pride 16-U AAU basketball squad, led by Rochester "Sir Grind-A-Lot", Taylor Perry for going down to Indianapolis and taking home the first place championship trophy in the annual Adidas Invitational. Perry and the boys almost made it two straight tourney titles, but they took a slim loss on Thursday in the finals of the Great Lakes Invitational played at West Michigan hoop Mecca, THE CAGE, in Swartz Creek.
Birmingham Detroit Country Day's Kenny Knight, one of the top-rated wide receivers in the local college recruiting game, caught 42 balls for 565 yards and 10 TD's last season and Burney predicts a 50/725/15 TD season on the horizon this fall for the 'Jackets "Mr. Extra Crispy"
. Knight currently has offers from half of the Big Ten!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Two of the hottest prep basketball prospects in the county right now are Waterford Mott's Chris Dewberry and Novi's Chris Milon. Both local hoop kings are showing off their skills on the AAU and showcase camp circuits this summer and people are taking notice.
Dewberry, nicknamed "RIP City" for his similarity to Richard Hamilton on the hardwood, right down to his protective face mask, is the more-known of the pair right now. He has been a major player on the county's varsity hoops scene for two seasons already and he is only going into his junior year. Starting out at Oak Park as a freshman on a stacked Knights squad, Dewberry transferred to Waterford Mott last season and helped lead the Corsairs to a conference championship with his dead-eye shooting and sparkplug defense. This summer Dewberry has been grinding hard and upping his recruiting value every time he steps on the court with his STARS AAU squad. Besides being named to a number of all-camp and all-tournament teams, his outside-marksmanship has been exceedingly good – he went 7for7 from downtown in a recent tourney outing – and is ability to create his own shot off the dribble is quickly improving. Oh, yeah, he's AUTOMATIC the charity stripe too. To categorize Dewberry's game in one word – EFFICIENT!
I knew Dewberry was going to be an outright CAGE STUD the first game I saw him play as a 9th grader at Oak Park when he came into a nip-and-tuck battle with Pontiac Northern and scored seven points in five minutes, including a game-tying triple to send the contest into OT.
Milon, who I have decided to nickname, "The Million Dollar Man" (because this kid is pure MONEY running the floor), is a 6-5 wing going into his senior campaign this winter with major hops and a soft touch from 15 feet inward. He's kind of been in the shadows the past two seasons as a role player for the Wildcats, sharing minutes with upperclassmen, but if this spring and summer are in indication, he's ready to BLOW UP this year. Playing with the OAA Select in AAU comp, Milon has emerged as a leader and scrap-master in the paint and on 'D'. The OAA Select 17-u team has had a lot of success recently and Milon, flanking Holly gunner and fast-improving point guard, Josh Fugate, has been a big reason why. Taking a steady flow of Fugate passes on the fastbreak these past few months, he's really been able to give scouts and fans alike a taste of his monster slam dunking skills and his stellar finishing ability at the rim.  In the winter, expect Milon to team with Wildcats' teammate and fellow high-riser Samier Ozier (arguably top inside-outside threat in the county alongside Seaholm's Shawn Conway) to form one of the best frontcourt tandems in Metro Detroit.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Top of The Heap

The local high school football scene lost a good chunk of prep quarterbacking talent with the graduation of a slew ace signal callers from Oakland County last month.  Gurus of the gridiron need not fret though, since there still remains a steady amount of fire-throwing field generals hailing from the area ready to light-up scoreboards like pinball machines this upcoming season. Sitting sturdily in the upper-echelon of that list is Madison Heights Lamphere's Ryan Horvath, set to enter this fall as a third-year starter and one of the top high school quarterbacks in the state.
Last season, he threw for 1575 yards and 20 touchdowns against only eight interceptions, in leading the Rams into the playoffs. This season, it should be more of the same since Lamphere returns not only Horvath, but his top receiving target, Mitch Kozlowski and the team's top defensive player in linebacker Jackson Lewis.
Horvath is one of those true thoroughbreds of a teenage athlete, already having earned eight varsity letters and multiple all-conference honors in three sports. Besides taking snaps under center for the Rams football team, he is the starting shooting guard on the school's basketball team and the starting second basemen on the baseball squad. During the winter on the hardwood, Horvath is a top-flight long distance gunner with a picture-perfect stroke. Come springtime, he hits over .350 in his baseball cleats.
In a strange way, Horvath, nicknamed "Wizard" for his defensive prowess on both the baseball diamond and basketball court, has been hurt in the football recruiting game by his desire to compete in other sports. During the summer, Horvath plays travel baseball with the widely-acclaimed South Oakland A's, which cuts into his time attending camps and combines for football.
College scouts these days prefer prep athletes that put all of their time behind one sport of their choosing in order to get a better gage of their future priorities (i.e coaches don't want to spend three years recruiting a kid for basketball to all of a sudden find out their senior year that they decide they want to play football at the next level instead).
But the cream, as they say, will always find a way to rise to the top and that's just what has happened with Burney's main triple-threat homey, "Wiz" Horvath. While visiting Lamphere coach, Jason Charron last winter, Michigan State coach, Mark D'antonio, was shown some film of Horvath torching opposing secondaries last season and it more than peaked his interest. On the spot, he invited Horvath up to MSU in the summer for all of their elite prospect events. Soon word was getting around about this somewhat hidden super-slinger and schools like Purdue, Indiana, Northwestern, Bowling Green and Toledo have all started to show interest. Since he is such a good student in the classroom – holding close to a 4.0 gpa – a bunch of IVY league schools have begun to sniff around as well.
I personally can't wait for THA WIZARD's senior year in 2010-2011. That said, I don't really know what I'm more looking forward to: Horvath's lightning bolt TD throws in the fall, his nothing-but-nylon 3-point bombs in the winter or the frequent rope-a-dope hitting clinics he puts on in the spring?

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Doctor Is In

If you blinked you could have missed him. Former Oakland County prep hoop star, Sam Burton (Oak Park '09), didn't play that long of a time in the area, but anyone who had the pleasure of watching this gutty point guard DO HIS THING on the floor knows that the kid they call "Doc" was the real deal HOLYFIELD and then some.
Well, those who didn't have the pleasure of witnessing Burton's brilliance as a do-it-all floor general back in the 2008-2009 season with the Knights – he played his first three years of varsity ball at Detroit Central before transferring to Oak Park for his senior season – might get their chance again to watch him on national television these next few years running the offense for a D1 squad at the NEXT LEVEL.
Following a productive freshman year at Mott CC up in Flint, where he was the starting point guard averaging 13 points, 7.5 assists and 7.5 rebounds per contest for the state's community college champions, there is word on the street that a number of D1 mid-majors are interested in bringing Burton on board this winter. Cleveland State, Akron, Toledo, Wright State, Bowling Green and Eastern Michigan are all in the recruiting picture as of right now, jockeying for the services of the lanky and versatile "doctor of the hardwood." At 6-feet-4 inches tall and not afraid to play up-in-your-shorts 'D', Burton is equal man's scoring point guard and distributing point guard and exhibits all the tools to excel on the big stage that is D1 basketball.
My personal favorite "Doc" Burton moment was when I saw him go for a triple double of 26, 12 and 12, including scoring a game-tying hoop to send the game into OT and assisting on the winner in OT, against Pontiac Northern in early-2009 in front of a raucous Knights home crowd.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Home Away From Home

Homesickness will not be a problem for local prep sports stars that decide to go and play at the University of Iowa in the near future. It looks like former OC stud athletes Kevonte Martin-Manley (football-Brother Rice '10) and Roy Marble, Jr. (basketball-Southfield-Lathrup '10) are going to have some company from back home on campus next fall, since Jake Duzey of Troy Athens, one of the state's top tight end prospects for the Class of 2011, has just verbally committed to the Hawkeyes football program.
The commitment caps a feverish three months in the big time recruiting game for Duzey (6-4, 220), who rapidly ascended up scouting reports with several primetime-worthy efforts at a number of offseason combines and camps. Reports out of the Duzey camp as recent as late last week, indicated that the Raging Red Hawk was leaning towards committing to Michigan State. These reports obviously proved false and its speculated that Duzey decided against the Spartans due to their recent signing of another top-rated tight end prospect two weeks ago and their desire to possibly turn him into a part-HBack, which goes against his strengths as a pass threat and someone who could find seems in the middle of defenses downfield.
One of the primary reasons for Duzey's increased exposure – close to a dozen offers from major college programs – was the fact that he has been continually clocked at between 4.48 and 4.50 in his 40-yard dash time. This kind of stat, coupled with his big hands and outstanding character as a human being, makes college coaches GO WILD! Accordingly, they did. And in the end Iowa and Kirk Ferentz won out in the race for his services.
Last season, Duzey, a two-sport star also excelling at basketball as an all-conference power forward- caught 40 balls for 546 yards and 6 tds. He is currently ranked No. 19 in the state in his class by
Do I sniff Playoffs for Red Hawks Nation this fall? Could be………..

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Best Around

Somebody please get out the fire extinguisher, Oakland County prep football star Valdez Showers is so HOT on the recruiting trail right now he is currently engulfed in flames! Showers, who is a 5-foot-11 inch and 180 pound, running back/cornerback combo heading into his senior campaign at Madison Heights Madison, is the top-ranked local player in the state and gaining steam in his recruitment efforts every day.
Even though Showers is the best running back in the county going into THE 201O SEASON (1600 yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground for the conference champion Eagles in '09), he is being projected as a cornerback at the college level. His 4.4 40-yard dash time and bucket full of Dazzling performances at offseason camps and combines since January has skyrocketed his status as an elite recruit.
First, the local majors made their way into the picture, as Showers picked up offers from Big Ten powers Michigan, MSU, Iowa, Wisconsin, Penn State and Purdue in the spring. Then summertime hit and with the increase in temperature, the Eagles very own, "REIGN MAN," caught red-hot fire and proceeded to BLOW UP like DA BOMB he is.
Right now, national powerhouses like Florida, Notre Dame and Auburn are all in rapid pursuit and have each laid out offers at Showers' doorstep the past month. Last week he showed off his resiliency and rock-solid competitive spirit by playing the entire Badger 7-of-7 Classic held up in Madison at the University of Wisconsin with a strained hamstring and still earning first team All-Camp honors with his Detroit Elite travel squad. Bad hamstring and all, he STILL MANAGED to be clocked at a 4.48 in a 40-yard dash timing conducted at the Badgers' Camp Randall Stadium.
Let's not forget, that Showers is a very good student off the field as well. He holds a 3.2 overall gpa and is totally clearinghouse eligible for the 2011 college football season. A true multi-threat in whatever he does, Showers was also an integral part of Madison's conference title-winning hoops squad last winter, plying his trade on the hardwood as a valuable back-up guard and defensive specialist for coach Steve Rhoads' team
Get Super BUsy Reign Man and lets see ya take a few to the HOUSE and grab a D3 state title for the Burnmeister himself in a few months!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bonus Bytes - News & Notes

The world-renowned St. Cecilia's High School Summer Basketball League is kicking off its second session on Saturday and is scheduled to run up until the end of the month. Some of the best players in the history of the state as well as a plethora of legends from the professional and college ranks have cut their teeth on the tiny court housed in a church on the city of Detroit's Westside (quick side note: Burney himself played in this rough and rugged league back in the 90s. quick side note part 2: Burney's first appearance on the Cecilia floor was not a pretty site and resulted in him being yanked within two minutes of entering the game due to getting lit-up like a pinball machine for nine straight points on 'D' by future Kent State hoops stud, Andrew Mitchell of now-defunct East Catholic)
As usual, many boys and girls prep hoop squads from the area are venturing down to "The Saint" this summer to test themselves against the best Metro Detroit has to offer.
Some of the local teams you should expect to see down there:
Southfield (boys and girls), Birmingham Brother Rice (boys), MH Madison (boys), Oak Park (girls and boys), Southfield-Lathrup (girls and boys), Ferndale (boys), Waterford Mott (boys), Novi Detroit Catholic Central (boys), West Bloomfield (boys), Novi (boys), North Farmington (boys and girls), among others. recently released its list of the top 25 prep football prospects in the state's Class of 2011 and Oakland County more than held its own in the rankings. Five gridiron gladiators from the county's incoming senior class dotted the list:
No. 7    Valdez Showers           RB/DB             MH Madison
No. 11  Shawn Conway            WR/DB/KR      Birmingham Seaholm (Michigan)
No. 14  Kenny Knight               WR/DB                        Detroit Country Day
No. 18  Allen Robinson            WR/DB                        OL St. Mary's
No. 19  Jake Duzey                  WR/TE             Troy Athens
Burney is excited to hear that OL St. Mary's is installing lights in its football stadium and will be hosting the school's first night game this September against Highland Park. The game has added significance since the Polar Bears upset the Eaglets in 2009 and St. Mary's will be looking for some serious payback.
On the AAU hoops front, the REACH Legends 17-U showed extremely-well down in Indianapolis this past weekend in the annual Indy Hoops Shoot-Out Tournament, winning its first four games of the event, before bowing in the tourney quarterfinals. OL St. Mary's grad, Evan Webster, the Legends' starting combo-guard, torched the nets for 21 points on 7-for-9 shooting from 3-point distance in one of the squad's preliminary games. Because he is young for his grade, Webster, a three year varsity letter-winner in both football and basketball for the Eaglets, is allowed to participate in this summer's AAU hoops circuit as a means of trying to up his value in getting placed at the next level. Judging by how the Legends are performing as of late and the heat being generating by his shooting stroke, it appears Webster is reaching Mission Accomplished-status.
Interesting tidbit about recently-retired Pontiac AD Tarlton Small: During Small's first job teaching high school out of college back in the late-1960s in North Carolina, he was good friends with the school's football coach, Herman Boone. The name doesn't ring a bell? Well, just think back to the classic sports film, Remember The Titans, a movie centered on Boone's exploits as a coach in Virginia a few years later. Boone was portrayed by Denzel Washington.
More Pontiac Phoenix News
Dominique Shaw and Kevontae Hollis, both recent-grads from Pontiac and all-conference football selections last season, have found homes at the next level. Shaw, a wide receiver, who led the Phoenix's offense in touchdowns last season, is going to playing at Saginaw Valley State University, while Hollis, the leader of the stout Pontiac defense last season from his spot at linebacker, is set to be in uniform with Western Arizona (one of the country's top JUCO programs) this fall.