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, November 17, 2011

Training Camp Report - Another Green Day

The West Bloomfield boys basketball team surprised a lot of people last winter with its play.
Second-year Lakers head coach Jeremy Denha hopes it will be more of the same for the upcoming season.
"This is going to be an interesting year because we have a nice mix of talent, but they haven't played that much together as a unit," he said. "They love playing the game that's for sure and a couple of them are very skilled. I'm hoping we can sneak up on some teams like we were able to do last year."
In Denha's first year at the helm of West Bloomfield's hoop program, the Lakers were picked to finish at the bottom of their league's standings, however, they stood at the top of the Oakland Activities Association Red Division for most of the 2010-2011 season, finishing the campaign with an overall record of 13-8. WB's 2011 cage crew impressed prep pundits from around the state by sweeping its season series with back-to-back final four participant Southfield and its terrorizing inside-outside tandem of Carlton Brundidge (Michigan) and Patrick Onwenu (Texas Southern).
Denha's current squad will be led into battle by senior all-league guard Darren Byrd, the Lakers' only returning starter, and a pair of potential impact transfers in senior Jake Daniels from Waterford Kettering and junior Byron Williams from Orchard Lake St. Mary's.
Byrd ran the point last year, but will see more time off the ball this season because of his natural scoring ability. Daniels is a hard-working SIR-GRIND-A-LOT that bangs on the block and has a well-developed mid-range game. He can play either forward spot and will be looked to aid Byrd in carrying a chunk of the team's scoring load. Williams is an athletic post player with a wide-reaching wingspan and raw explosiveness on the fast break and around the rim.
The Lakers' youth contingent will be led by sophomores Kevin Byrd, Darren's little brother, and Josh Birnberg and juniors Brandon Cole and Malik Humes. The younger Byrd and Birnberg will both share some of the team's ball-handling responsibilities and help the veteran elder Byrd, who is a natural leader and versatile athlete, having quarterbacked the school on the football field this fall, head West Bloomfield's backcourt rotation. Cole and Humes are long and spry wings that each have a nose for the bottom of the basket and can play lockdown defense on either guards or bigs whenever called up upon.
Before taking the reins with the Lakers, Denha was the head coach at Berkley for three years. As a prepster himself he starred at Utica Ford in the late 1990s before going on to play at the college level at Wayne State.
West Bloomfield opens the 2011-2012 campaign on December 6 against Melvindale. Some of the Lakers most compelling non-league contests this year include hardwood showdowns with Saginaw Buena Vista, Oak Park and Denha's former squad, Berkley.
Last season's leading scorer, all-state forward Spencer Parker, is heading to play his college ball in the Mid-American Conference at Bowling Green.


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