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.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Training Camp Report - Guts & Glory

Never blessed with the Blue Chip-laden squads of some of his contempoaries, John Hall-coached basketball teams at Rochester Adams have established a reputation for themselves as the definitive workhorse bunch, known for more than holding their own against more athletically gifted teams by out-grinding and out-smarting them with gritty precision.
A prime example of Hall's coaching prowess was his 2010-2011 team.
Last March, the Highlanders sent shockwaves through the area's prep hoops landscape by going on a magical romp through the state tournament, pulling a string of upsets on their way to advancing into the Sweet 16.
The bad news was Adams dropped that 2011 regional title tilt to eventual final four-participant Southfield.
The good news was that Hall's squad played tough against the D1-stacked Bluejays and was bringing back a significant portion of a roster that went 17-8 for the following season.
Well, that following season is NOW and the Highlanders are poised to challenge defending OAA White champ, Troy, for a league crown and will definitely be right in the thick of it again come March Madness, threatening to repeat as Class A district title winners.  
Hall, entering his 13th year on the bench, is optimistic looking forward to opening the upcoming season next month.
"I think things look pretty good for us," he said. "We play hard and we have some real valuable big-game experience that a lot of these guys got last year. The league race is going to be very competitive and I expect us to be there fighting it out at the end."
Like last season, Adams' cage crew is a nice mix of upper and lower classmen that will hurt the opposition with their depth and execution.
The team's top two players this year will be junior forward Zach Littleson and sophomore point guard Akemji Williams. Littleson is a rising-star on the wing that can score, shoot, and defend and has a high on-court IQ. He has an innate ability to find his way into the lane, exposing gaps in the defense to either get easy buckets for himself or his teammates.
Williams is a gutty fireplug floor general and one of Oakland County's best sophomores. His playmaking and pace-setting during Adams' tourney run last winter was crucial to the Highlanders' success.
Seniors James Berger and John Neidhart and junior Andrew McBride will most likely complete Hall's starting line-up. Berger is an ace 3-point bombardier who compliments Williams, a drive-and-dish specialist, nicely in the Highlanders' backcourt, while Neidhart and McBride are typical Adams grunts that can convert shots around the rim and will help Littleson anchor the ball club's frontcourt.
The Highlanders' reserve corps is set to be headed by guards Press Kampe, and Jacob Foor and forwards Jack Twitty, Ben Limb and Matt Sokol. Kampe is a sophomore sparkplug that will back-up Williams at the point and Foor, a senior, is a good perimeter shooter who will spell Berger at the two-guard spot.
Twitty and Limb are each juniors and Sokol, a sophomore, and will back-up McBride, Neidhart and Littleson at the forward positions.
The athletic pedigree on this roster is no doubt impressive.
Zach Littleson's older brother Jordan was a starting guard in the program a few years ago. Press Kampe's father is Oakland University Men's Basketball Coach Greg Kampe and his older brother is LSU football player Branch Kampe. McBride, Twitty and Sokol were all key members on the Adams' playoff football team this fall.
"This is an interesting rotation," Hall said. "We're a bit unorthodox, but we get the job done."
In over a dozen years on the sidelines Hall has won more than 150 games and taken the Highlanders to three of the program's four total district championships.
Adams tips off the 2011-2012 campaign on December 6 on the road at Lake Orion.


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