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.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Training Camp Report - Fresh Princes

Don't let their angelic, young faces fool you.
The bulk of the Bloomfield Hills Lahser boys basketball team might be short on age, but they are fixing to be quite fierce and formidable on the hardwood this upcoming season.
The core of the 2011-2012 Knights cage crew played together last winter on a squad that was picked to be a cellar dweller in the OAA Blue, yet surprised a lot of people by closing out their league schedule with a respectable 7-7 record.
That experience combined with the fact that Lahser has possibly the best group of underclassmen in the entire area pegs TEAM BLACK & YELLOW as a possible genuine sleeper in the race for the new OAA Gold crown.
"We're hoping to make a big jump this year as a program," second-year Knights head coach Duane Graves said. "Even though we're still relatively young as a unit, we have quickness, athleticism and depth. That year of playing together that we have under our belts is really going to help, too."
Graves likes his team's chemistry.
"These guys really like being on the court with each other. There aren't many egos and they root for one another. Add that to the kind of talent we have on the roster, some real positive things could be on the horizon for us this year and the foreseeable near future."
The Knights' heart and soul for the second straight campaign will come in the form of sizzling sophomore stud Armand Cartwright, a bonafide playmaker and lead guard that can and will put a team on his back if need be.
Augmenting Cartwright in Lahser's sophomore Baby Baller Brigade will be big fellas Yante Maten (6-5) and Logan McDonald (6-5), a rugged and athletic tandem in the paint and Khalil Gracey, a smooth-stroking guard-forward combo, on the wing. Cartwright and Maten each started as freshman last season and are two of the top sophomores in the state.
Juniors Martez Jones and Andrew Gikas will be important cogs in the Knights' rotation as well. Jones, a returning starter, is a true scorer and defensive stopper at the two-guard spot. Gikas is a floor-burn specialist and an ultra-active banger in the post who will handle things below the rim, while Maten and McDonald handle things above it.
Lahser's senior leadership is set to be provided by Nate Cole, A.B. Allam, Mike Barr and Hunter Toomagian, all four filling the role as quintessential "glue guys." Cole was an all-league football player in the fall that is expected to compete for minutes at the small forward position after sitting out hoops season last year when he was a junior. Allam is a team captain and will be a reserve in the backcourt. Barr is a threat shooting the rock from the outside and Toomagian is an aggressive post player that will backup Maten, McDonald and Gikas in the frontcourt.
Another pair of juniors that are expected to contribute for the Knights this season is forward Kyle Riley, a varsity-letter winner as a sophomore who battled injuries last winter and is finally healthy, and guard Collin Seila, slated to spell Cartwright as the team's second-string floor general.
"This is going to be an interesting season because our biggest strength could also be our biggest weakness, which is always a fascinating phenomenon," Graves said. "I think we'll be okay in the end and have the type of year, no matter what our improvement level is, that we will be able to keep continuing to build on."
During his high school years, Graves starred at Lake Orion in the early 1990s.
The Knights will be fighting it out with fellow local prep squads Oxford, Bloomfield Hills Andover, Hazel Park, Birmingham Groves and Royal Oak for the OAA Gold crown.
Things will start up for Lahser on December 6 at home against Birmingham Seaholm.


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