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.

Monday, January 31, 2011

No Slo-ing Down

It's been a good couple of months for FH Harrison senior football stud Steve Slobin. Not only did "BIG DADDY SLO" show remarkable resilience in successfully rehabbing from a broken leg late this past season to be able to get on the field in the state finals, he also earned himself a place at the NEXT LEVEL; Slobin signed last week with the Siena Heights Saints.
A two-year starter for legendary Hawks head coach John Herrington at the running back position, Slobin was an integral component in the school's 2010 Division 2 state championship. Making his senior year that more special, this past fall Slo got the opportunity to tote the rock while be blocked for by his baby brother Jake, a starter as a sophomore on the team's ultra-sturdy offensive line.
Jake and Steve's proud papa, Billy, is not just the program's stellar weight and conditioning coach, he is also a former player, having suited up for Coach Herrington back in the day. Can you say PRETTY BIG LEGACY to go along with some PRETYY BIG TIME kids!
Not only is Steve aka BIG DADDY SLO a workhorse on the field, he kills it in the classroom too, holding a 3.5 GPA and being enrolled in a number of honors and AP courses. There is no doubt the coaching staff at SHU just landed itself a first-rate talent of a football player and person, sure to make a big contribution a lot SOONER than later.
Way to SLO…Congrats on the NEXT-LEVEL STATUS!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Instant Feedback - Friday Night's Main Event

The Waterford Kettering girls basketball and AH Oakland Christian boys basketball squad are HOT, HOT, HOT….can you say undefeated regular season?
Kettering – Two Words; ALISON BICKNELL
Oakland Christian – The additions of fab frosh D.J. Stevens and super transfer Charles Hayden have been HUGE…Old school Lancer stalwarts of Piasecki, Perrin and Peterson ain't so bad themselves!
Very nice job by the Clawson boys team this season: The Trojans have rebounded big from losing stars Joe Baker and Rob Feeman and are currently holding an 8-3 overall record and 5-2 conference mark in the MAC Silver.
Burney's biggest surprise of the prep hoops season so far: My main men Coach Butcher and Coach Glanz getting the WL Central Vikings off to a 10-2 start and a current first-place standing in the KLAA North with a perfect 6-0 mark.  
FH Mercy's Janelle Mcqueen showed she was the QUEEN of HOOPS on Friday night, dropping a 20-spot and sending her team to an overtime win against Warren Regina
Holly's Austin Hopkin did his best LANCE HOPKIN IMPRESSION, draining a game-winning trifecta in the closing seconds of the Broncos overtime defeat of Swartz Creek.
I hope the Farmington Falcons faithful properly CHERISHES the play of junior guard Cherish Willis……she had 19 points and eight boards in a narrow triumph over Ferndale
You can't stop Novi's Samier Ozier, you can only hope to contain him!!!! The Wildcats "BIG SHAM WOW" dropped in 31 points in a 'W' Friday evening
Friday also saw MH Bishop Foley's Jordan Walker go all JORDAN WALKER in the Ventures 66-55 dousing of BH Cranbrook, collecting a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds
Do you want to know who I REALLY, REALLY like on the WOLL girls hoops brigade? Her name is Jessica Parry and she's a rising star……JP had nine points and seven dimes in the Lakers 44-41 victory over AP Cabrini and helped her team get some revenge against the Monarchs, a squad that handed WOLL its only loss of the year a few weeks back
Alright I'm going to say it; the Lakers Lexie Robak is the best 3-point shooter in Oakland County girls basketball this year!!!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Boys Hoops Mid-Season Report Card - Part 1

1 Spencer Parker (West Bloomfield)
2 Ray Tillman (AH Avondale)
3 James Young (Troy)
4 Amir Williams (Birmingham DCD)
5 Samier Ozier (Novi)
Primetime Players
1 Kellen McCormick (Pontiac NDP)
2 Carlton Brundidge (Southfield)
3 Jake Duzey (Troy Athens)
4 Kyle Cooper (Novi Detroit CC)
5 Josh Fugate (Holly)
1 Allen Robinson (OL St. Mary's)
2 Damon Bozeman (MH Madison)
3 Ryan Bush (Berkley)
4 Shawn Conway (Birmingham Seaholm)
5 Dakota Ogles (Hazel Park)
Floor Generals
1 Anthony "Ant" Adams (Pontiac)
2 Desmond "Pee Wee" Barnes (Southfield)
3 Chris Fowler-Lee Bailey (Birmingham DCD)
4 Anthony Rice (Ferndale)
5 Adam Gorski (Birmingham Brother Rice)
3-Point Specialists
1 Mahesh Umansankar (Birmingham DCD)
2 Nick Tatu (Clarkston)
3 John Stibich (Troy)
4 Chris Dewberry (Waterford Mott)
5 Mike Oravetz-Max Aleshire-Andrew Shango (MH Bishop Foley)
1 Urbane Bingham (North Farmington)
2 Nick Leventis (West Bloomfield)
3 Jordan Guinn (Ferndale)
4 Chris Milon (Novi)
5 Christian Pino (Birmingham Seaholm)
Glue Guys
1 Drew Holinski (Birmingham Brother Rice)
2 Evan Mahone-Al Wise (Troy)
3 Matt Doneth (Novi Detroit CC)
4 Jamal Barr (Pontiac)
5 Darren Byrd (West Bloomfield)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Burney's Boys Basketball Rankings - The New Order

OC POWER 15 – Boys Basketball
1 Birmingham DCD – Lee Bailey is very underrated. He's SOSO steady you kind of take him for granted but make no mistake he's the glue holding that 'Jackets juggernaut together at the seams!
2 Southfield – "The Money Man" aka Big Pat Onwenu continues to do all the right things to earn himself a D1 scholarship…I.E. Nail the game-winning trifecta in the Blue Jays buzzer-beating win over Southfield-Lathrup Friday.
3 West Bloomfield – These Laker GIANT SLAYERS are the story of the season so far in the county. No. 3 with a bullet!
4 Troy – Longtime Colts head coach Gary Fralick thinks this could wind up being his best team ever.  Burney agrees!
5 Novi Detroit CC – SOLID AS A ROCK; per standard procedure for all Bill Dyer coached teams
6 Pontiac – If Ant Adams was 6-2 he'd literally be the next CHRIS PAUL and negotiating for an NBA contract in a year or two
7 (tie) Novi – Corey Heitsch does first-rate job with the Wildcats year in and year out. NOVI NATION is lucky to have this former WL CENTRAL cage stud!
7 (tie) Clarkston – I for one am not worried about the slow start for the Wolfpack. Coach Fife is getting these guys in gear as evidenced of their trouncing of a very good North Farmington squad late last week
8 North Farmington – Junior Dorrell Foster just keeps getting better and better
9 Ferndale – The Eagles are rolling BIG WILLIE style now with SUPER TRANSFER Wille Harvey in the lineup!!! BIG WILLIE dropped 33 points and grabbed 11 boards in his debut in the brown and yellow last week. WOW!!!!
10 AH Avondale – Ray Tillman could not be having a better senior year of varsity competition.
11 Birmingham Brother Rice – Drew Holinksi is very crafty and has developed into a true playmaker of a 'point forward'
12 OL St. Mary's – Sam McClendon is impressing Burney with what he's doing on the hardwood with the Eaglets this season.
13 Pontiac Notre Dame Prep – If Kellen McCormick keeps improving at the rapid rate he is now, there is a very good chance he could be following his dad's footsteps into the Big Ten in a couple of years
14 Berkley – Burney is confident the Bears will rebound from a couple of tough losses
15 (tie) MH Madison – With Damon Bozeman moving from the post out to the perimeter with effortless efficiency, football studs D.J. Larkins and Tony Lowry have more than adequately filled the void in the Eagles interior and Madison is twice as dangerous as a result
15 (tie) MH Bishop Foley – Corey Green WILL lead the Ventures to the promise land. Mark that down!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Five For Fighting - Best Additions

Five For Fighting - Best Additions to the Oakland County Prep Hoops Scene This Season
1 Jim Barker (West Bloomfield asst boys bball coach) - Joining the staff of his former player Jeremy Denha, this summer, Barker is one of the state all-time most-winning coaches and his tactical influence on the Lakers has been a big reason they are sitting with a surprising 6-2 record
2 Maury Diane (Birmingham DCD boys bball) - BEST FRESHMAN IN THE STATE BAR NONE!!! Diane (pronounced DE-AH-NEE) dropped in a career-high 18 points last week in the Yellowjackets blowout of Berkley
3 Corey Green (Madison Heights Bishop Foley boys bball) - This junior transfer from UofD-Jesuit will make a HUGE IMPACT on the Ventures these next two months. Green pumped in 18 points in his first game in a Foley uniform on Tuesday night in a loss to an undefeated Detroit Consortium squad on the road
4 Kristen Massey/Shannon Wilson (Novi Franklin Road Christian/BH Andover girls bball) - Massey and Wilson are both making serious cases for all-state honors as only a freshman. QUITE IMPRESSIVE, young ladies!
5 Jeff Borga (Auburn Hills Avondale boys ball head coach) - In his first year at the helm of the Avondale boys program, this Macomb County transplant has the 'Jackets as frontrunners in the OAA White

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Timely Effort


Being under the .500 mark was not a place the Clarkston's boys basketball team wanted to get comfortable residing at. Junior Matt Dellinger made certain the Wolves' stay under .500 was a relatively short one, sinking a game-winning layup at the buzzer to send Clarkston to a thrilling 62-61 victory over Detroit Renaissance Saturday evening at the Horatio Williams MLK Freedom Classic hosted by Warren Fitzgerald.
With the win, the perennially powerful Wolves even up their season record at 4-4. Following a loss to Flint Northern last week, Clarkston had fallen to 2-4. Saturday's exhilarating triumph courtesy of Dellinger's heroics has the Wolfpack riding a two-game winning streak. In a 55-30 defeat of Farmington Hills Harrison Thursday night, "Delli" scored six points and contributed his usual brand of gutty defense.
Against Renaissance on Saturday, Nick Tatu continued to show why he is one of the best perimeter shooters in the state, sticking 6 of 9 attempts from 3-point range en route to a game-high 26 points. Senior Marcus Hardy put in a very good performance in the post for head coach Dan Fife and the Wolves, scoring 14 points and grabbing eight boards.  
Tatu and Dellinger were both first-year varsity players last season as sophomores, helping guide C-Town to its 17th straight district title. 2010 was Hardy's first year playing varsity at Clarkston, having suited up at Bloomfield Hills Lahser as a sophomore prior to transfering.
Off the basketball court, Dellinger is a standout football player, lining up at linebacker on defense and wide receiver on offense. This past fall, he was an integral component for the Wolves gridiron gang on both sides of the ball, helping the squad to an 8-3 overall record and a win in the first round of the playoffs.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Great Burnzini Returns - MLK Matchups

The MLK holiday this weekend brings some primetime throwdowns on the prep hardwood 
Here are some picks from the best games on Saturday
Clarkston v. Detroit Renaissance (at Warren Fitzgerald)
The Wolfpack need a win in the worst way and the expert marksmanship from the outside by junior sniper Nick Tatu and the tough-minded interior play provided by senior big fella Marcus Hardy will get it for them!!!
C-Town 57, Renaissance 52
Birmingham DCD boys v. Detroit Southeastern (at Warren Fitzgerald)
This is a matchup of arguably the two best teams in the state regardless of class size and should be a doozy of a cage clash. My main man Mahesh "The Riflemen" Umansankar UNLEASHES THE FURY and puts on a long distance clinic, drilling SIX trifectas and igniting the 'Jackets to the win!
DCD 72, Southeastern 64  
Birmingham DCD girls v. Saginaw Arthur Hill (at Pontiac)
Some think 'Jackets hoop queen Aerial Powers is the best player in the whole school, including the half-dozen or so boys ballers that are headed to play college on the D1 level. What does that tell you about her game? Think Ray McCallum, only female.
DCD 60, Arthur Hill 47
Pontiac v. East Grand Rapids (at Pontiac)
The drive back for the Pioneers won't be a happy one after they meet up with the super-quick Phoenix in Pontiac's own crib. Ant Adams might be out with a broken nose but nonetheless Jamal Barr goes all JAMAL BARR and the 'Yactown express rebounds from a tough loss to Southfield Thursday.
Pontiac 68, EGR 66

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Welcome To The Party

Burney is super excited for all of the top-flight transfers who will become eligible for their respective prep hoops squads next week. Just like last season, Oakland County has a banner crop of fresh talent set to infuse local rosters with a boost for second semester. 
Here are some of the players I have the most anticipation for:
Brad Watterworth (Lake Orion) – It was only a matter of time this kid made the move from Lake Orion Baptist to the big time at Lake Orion. The 6-5 junior big guy has polished post moves and a beautiful touch in the lane and will make coach Shafkalis very happy with his play in the interior for the Dragons
Corey Green & Darius Glover (MH Bishop Foley) – Without a doubt this pair of junior transfers from UofD-Jesuit are poised to make the BIGGEST IMPACT on their team. Adding these 6-3 athletic wings, the Venures immediately become frontrunners for a CHSL title and a long run in the state tournament.
Joe Baker (Ferndale) – Baker is the most widely-known of all the transfers, having been a 25-point a night scorer the past two seasons at Clawson, and his presence in the Eagles lineup provides an already talented and high-scoring squad A LOT more talent and scoring ability. And that's not good for the rest of the OAA White!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Five For Fighting - Richter Scale Showdown

OC Top 5 - Best Boys Basketball Crowds

1   Clarkston - There's nothing better than "The Jungle" on a Friday night during hoops season

2  Novi Detroit CC - ROWDY with a capital 'R'

3  Pontiac - The most passionate and knowledgeable fan base in the area

4  Birmingham Brother Rice - The Warriors bleacher bums are the most creative with their in-game chants

5  OL St. Mary's - The Eaglets' Nest is one of the hardest places to play in the CHSL

Monday, January 10, 2011

Burney's Boys Basketball Rankings - Mix Up In The Middle

1 (tie) Birmingham Detroit Country Day – Starting point guard Chris Fowler is BACK from injury with a VENGANCE and that makes a spectacular 'Jackets hoop crew even better. Making up for lost time, Fowler dished off 10 assists in DCD's blowout win over Cleveland King on Saturday
1 (tie) Southfield – Bluejays all-conference center Patrick "The Money Man" Onwenu is a very quiet young man OFF the court. ON the court is a different story all together. CASH MASTER ONWENU has an inside game that SPEAKS VOLUMES. 
2 Pontiac – Jamal Barr is the most underrated "No. 2 guy" aka "Scottie Pippen" in the Metro Detroit area. He is the reason the Phoenix are ranked so high!
3 Novi – Samier "The Big Sham Wow" Ozeir and his frontcourt running mate, Chris "The Million Dollar Man" Milon are a pair of WALKING and TALKING double-doubles. 
4 Novi Detroit CC – Senior guard Shea Kettner has yet to hit his stride and the Shamrocks are still looking VERY SCARY.  That in itself is VERY SCARY!!!!
5 (tie) North Farmington – The Raiders Sterling Sharp is a SENSATIONAL SOPH on the basketball court, but word is he is an ever better college prospect on the baseball diamond as a fireballing menace on the mound.
5 (tie) Orchard Lake St. Mary's – Star swingman Allen Robinson's return to the lineup and a big time defeat of UofD-Jesuit springboards the Eaglets into the 5-spot. Could Corey Lucas be having a better senior year so far? I DON'T THINK SO!
6 Berkley – Ryan Bush is playing so well he could wind up earning himself a scholarship by season's end
7 AH Avondale – Ray Tillman is making a serious case for himself as being the best two-sport athlete in the county……It seems fitting that Tillman's nickname is "SUGAR RAY" because his game is as SWEET as CANDY!!!
8 Troy – Colts floor general Evan Mahone is one of the best "in rhythm" shooters around. Don't leave this kid open or he'll make you pay with a barrage of 3-point bombs
9 (tie) Clarkston – Sophomore starting point guard Jordan Dasuqi appears to be rounding into form as the next rock-steady floor general of the future for head coach Dan Fife and the C-Town faithful.
9 (tie) RH Adams – This season Highlanders head coach John Hall is showing his merit as a first-rate X&O master, coaching the heck out of a lunch pail group of floor burn specialists.
10 (tie) Birmingham Brother Rice – Could drop out of the rankings if the Warriors don't bounce back this week with a better showing in CHSL play.
10 (tie) Pontiac Notre Dame Prep – I really like Ross Lindeman in the post for the Fighting Irish. He compliments the NDP "Big 3" of McCormick, Dulapa and De Martis very nicely.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

No Pushover

Don't sleep on the Troy Athens boys basketball team this season. The Red Hawks might be 2-5, but they will hold their own in the OAA White this year and will jump up and bite any teams that take them lightly. This was evidenced by a pair of big time upsets pulled by the Athens hoops crew recently, the first coming against Clarkston a few weeks ago and against Flint Carman-Ainsworth on the road Friday night.
The Big Red's new coaching staff has obviously been an energizing factor in these two unlikely victories. When Athens took out Clarkston on a game-winning shot by Aaron Fox back in December, it was the first time the Red Hawks ever beat the Wolves on the hardwood.
Up front leading the way for the Red Hawks is senior power forward Jake Duzey, a walking double-double. Duzey, headed to Iowa on a football scholarship next fall, had 16 points, 16 boards and six blocks in the Carman-Ainsworth game. Fox is a reliable shooter and gritty defender. Recent addition George Zachery seems to have quickly developed into a more than viable scoring option, dropping 13 points on Friday. Tyler Channell is a heady leader and will knock down the open shot if you let him. Christian Conley is a big guy who can go inside and out and will probably be the team's second leading-scorer by the end of the year. Caleb McIntosh is a good rebounder and able-bodied 3-point shooter.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Shooting to Kill

It's been a virtual shooting gallery in Oakland County this high school hoops season with so many outstanding long-distance bombers dotting the rosters of local girls basketball teams.
This week they've been out in force.
WOLL sophomore sniper Lexie Robak exploded for eight trifectas in the Lakers thrashing of conference-foe RO Shrine on Thursday night. Her sister, all-stater Lauren "Mrs. Fourth Quarter" Robak, drilled five on her way to a game-high 28 points. Lexie had a career-high of 24. The Lakers have ace bombardier Carlee Cottrell, a transfer from AH Oakland Christian, coming into the fold on January 18 and that will only make the defending champ WOLL attack more formidable. THAT's MEGA SCARY!!! Note to future Lakers opponents; Stay away from zoning these young ladies up. It won't be a pretty sight if you do!
AH Avondale's Andrea Strauss could be the most underappreciated deep range specialist in the area. Make no mistake about it though this girl has got a stroke that is as sweet as apple pie. Strauss, a three-year varsity starter for the Yellow Jackets, banged home six 3-balls on Thursday in her team's besting of FH Harrison.
Stoney Creek head coach Brad Crichton, a former 3-point rainmaker himself during his own playing days at RH Adams in the 1990s, has not one, but two expert marksmen in his rotation. Gabby Yurik is one of the best juniors in the state and shot the lights out for 42 points in a recent game against Troy Athens back in December.  Her Cougars teammate Kara Kovach is a lethal outside shooter is too. Kovach hit 20 3-pointers over her final four games of last season and is back at it again this year. She had four on Thursday in a loss to Troy.
Clarkston's Lindsey Reppuhn hit a game-winning trey on Thursday in the Wolves last-second triumph over Pontiac

Lakeland star player Stephanie Lock drained four in an Eagles victory on Friday.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Milestone Marker

This past Tuesday with his team's 52-48 come from behind victory over Farmington Hills Harrison, Tom Negoshian, North Farmington's longtime head boys basketball coach, eclipsed the 300-win plateau. Negoshian, one of the true class acts and master tacticians roaming the sidelines in the local prep sports scene for the last three decades, won his 300th game last week in the Motor City Roundball Classic when the Raiders beat Dearborn Heights Robichaud 63-47.
Playing high school basketball himself at Pontiac Central for legendary head coach Ralph Grubb, Negoshian played his college ball at Ferris State before starting his coaching career at OCC and St Mary's College.
Taking over the North Farmington program in 1984, he coached the Raiders until 1994 when he left to coach his son and current assistant coach Todd at Walled Lake Central. Upon Todd's graduation in 1998 following an all-state career as a four-year starting varsity point guard for the Vikings, Negoshian returned to North Farmington and has since turned the Raiders into perennial contenders for league and district titles and one of the toughest teams to game plan for in the area.
In his time at North Farmington, he has racked up six district championships and raised five conference title banners. On three separate occasions in the last 10 years, Negoshian was named his league's Coach of the Year.
The 2010-2011 season has been a pleasant surprise for TEAM NOGO and co., and the rest of the county for that matter, so far. Losing the bulk of their lineup from last year's district championship squad, including all-state point guard Kyle Vinales, the Raiders have shot out of the gate playing fantastic ball led by a riveting youth movement and the much-improved Urbane Bingham, a potential all-state candidate in the post.
After Tuesday's defeat of Harrison, North Farmington is 6-1. This season could wind up being Negoshian's best coaching job in recent memory. And that's saying A LOT!! Under his guidance, JV call-ups Dorrell Foster, Caleb Hogans and Sterling Sharp have already developed into rock steady "OAA Red starters" and possible future stars if they keep improving. Bingham, a transfer from Birmingham Detroit Country Day, has gone from a talented big guy with tons of potential to a DOMINANT interior presence only equaled in the area by his former teammate at DCD Amir Williams, who will most-likely be selected a McDonalds All-American.
A couple final thoughts on Coach NOGO:
I would have loved to play for this guy!!! He is truly one of the great basketball minds in the state and a man who honestly cares just as much about molding first-class human beings as he does about putting out superior cage talent. It might sound crazy, but that's really a rare combination these days.
Here's to Nogo and to winning another 300 before it's all said and done!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Still Sensational

Troy's James Young continues to show people why he is arguably the best sophomore boys basketball player in the state. On Tuesday in hostile waters, Young displayed his usual wizardry on the hardwood by tickling the twine for 32 points and leading the Colts to a 60-53 victory over Ferndale on the road.
The 6-6 small forward scored nine straight points to break open a tie game midway through the second half and spur Troy on to the win.
Showing off his skills from long distance, Young buried four 3-pointers. He is averaging 26.5 points per game this season after averaging 16 a game last season as a freshman.
Complimenting Young's performance nicely was the Troy backcourt of junior point guard Evan Mahone and senior shooting guard John Stibbich, who combined for 20 points and eight assists. Mahone, a second-year starter, scored 14 points while drilling a pair of 3-pointers and all four of his attempts from the charity stripe. Starting center Al Wise did a solid job in the post for longtime Troy head coach Gary Fralick's squad, putting up six points and eight rebounds.
The Colts raise their record to 5-1, with their only loss of the campaign coming to Auburn Hills Avondale. Ferndale started the year 4-0, but has now dropped two straight ballgames and stands at 4-2. Also helping with Troy's cause in its pursuit of the OAA White title on Tuesday evening was the fact that previously-undefeated Berkley, along with the Colts one of the frontrunners for the crown, lost to Rochester Adams. Both Troy and Ferndale have one defeat in league play.
Jordan Guinn paced Ferndale with a team-high 28 points. The Eagles chances for their second consecutive conference banner get a significant boost in the coming days when Joe Baker, a dynamic 25-point a night talent on the wing, becomes eligible following a transfer from Southfield-Lathrup via Clawson.
Troy next takes the floor to play Seaholm – losers to Lake Orion in other conference action Tuesday – for its next game and Ferndale hits the road for its next affair, a crucial intra-conference clash with Berkley.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Burney's Boys Hoops Rankings - New Years Cheer

OC Top 10
1 (tie) Birmingham DCD – The deepest team coach Keener has had at the Yellowjackets' nest in quite some time
1 (tie) Southfield – Carlton Brundidge is the hardest working SUPERSTAR I have ever seen!
2 Pontiac – Classic 'Yaktown hoops squad….mean, lean and quick
3 Novi – Can the 'Cats challenge for the KLAA title this season?  U BETCHA!
4 Novi Detroit CC – Junior forward Matt Doneth has improved his game on the hardwood as much as he did over the summer and this fall on the gridiron as a tight end
5 (tie) North Farmington – Urbane Bingham could be the most improved player in the county….he's playing the best hoops of his career right now, killing opponents with his newfound toughness and more refined interior game.
5 (tie) Birmingham Brother Rice – Warriors FOUR-sport stud Adam Gorski is SO money because he gives out so many sweet DIMES…any coach would love to have this kid as their floor general and you can take that to the BANK!
6 Clarkston – C-Town might be still finding itself as a team right now, but one thing is for sure, Coach Fife has one of the best outside shooters in the state in junior marksmen Nick Tatu
7 Ferndale – COMING SOON – JOE the SHOW……I smell REPEAT for Coach Staton and co.
8 Berkley – The Bears tantalizing tandem of wing Ryan Bush and Justin Peguese are as smooth a pair of forwards as there exists in the county this year
9 AH Avondale – Besides his obvious MAD LOVE for headliners "Sugar Ray" Tillman and Tony "The Truth" Harris, Burney loves the Yellow Jackets complimentary pieces; guys like gritty guard DJ Ratcliff and the fast-improving A.J. Susick in the post
10 (tie) Troy – Note to all local hoop coaches: It's wise not to overlook Colts big fella Al Wise when game-planning for Troy
10 (tie) Pontiac Notre Dame Prep – The Fighting Irish are off to a GRRRRRRRRRRREAT start and Burney thinks they can keep it up!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Best of the Decade part 5 - 'Yactown Pride

Oakland County's Best Boys Basketball Teams of the 2000s
No. 1
2001 & 2002 Pontiac Northern Huskies
There's really no question here. The 2001 and 2002 Pontiac Northern squads were unquestionably the best team(s) of the decade, if solely for the fact that the Huskies are the only team in Oakland County history to repeat as Class A state champs. 
These fellas might not have been your prototypical juggernaut, but man, were they lethal on the hardwood!!
Without the services of anyone over 6-4, head coach Robert Rogers and the Huskies were forced to out-quick, out-shoot, and out-hustle almost every opponent on their schedule and they did it with a rare combination of finesse, high court IQ and brute force.
Headlining the Huskies were a BIG 3 that can rival any trifecta of talent any team in the county has featured in the last 25 years, if not ever.
Point guard Ricky Morgan (Iowa State) was the catalyst running the Northern offense with precision and showmenship. There was a good reason why his nickname was "Tricky Ricky" and he showed it every night by being the consummate whirling dervish of the backcourt. Starting forwards Lester Abram (Michigan) and Derek Ponder made up the other two-thirds of the terror-inducing trio and were formidable to say the least. Abram was a hard-nosed and crafty-scoring wing and Ponder was only 6-4 but played like he was 6-10.
The role players on these teams could have easily been stars and top of the line starters anywhere else and were a key to Northern's success. Antonio Bond, Romel Murray, Bates Gay, James Smith, John Cantrell, George Walton, Dominque Hardiman, Sean Moore and David Stephens all played major roles in raising those consecutive banners.
In 2001, the Huskies beat Kalamazoo Central 87-71 in state finals, a day after just slipping past Detroit Mackenzie 66-63 in the semis in a dramatic come from behind win – Northern was down 15 at the half.  To get to the Final Four, the Huskies tripped up Detroit Central 59-52 in the quarterfinals and a Paul Davis (Michigan State)led Rochester team in the district championship.
In 2002, Northern defeated all-state guard Dion Harris (Michigan) and Detroit Redford 66-58 for the state crown, following winning an 85-77 shootout over Saginaw and a Trojans squad that featured Anthony Roberson (Florida) and Lamar Woodley (Michigan/NFL) in the semis. The Huskies took care of Southfield-Lathrup in the elite eight and a Chargers team that was led by Jason Jones (Eastern Michigan/NFL)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Best of the Decade part 4 - The Lake Effect

Oakland County's Best Boys Basketball Teams of the 2000s
No. 2
2000 Orchard Lake St. Mary's Eaglets
This team was off the chain good and took the Class B state championship with intimidating flair. The Eaglets were athletic, experienced and led by a four-man TERROR SQUAD of two-sport studs fresh off winning a state title on the football field. These fellas knew how to win and did a lot of it in their time playing high school sports…….most of it done playing for OLSM head basketball and football coach George Porritt.
At the point guard spot was Maurice Seawright, a laser-fast floor general who defined the words dynamic and clutch. Joining Seawright in the backcourt was combo guard Grant Mason, a defensive specialist who could score when the team needed him to. In the middle for the Eaglets was wide-bodied Charles Davis, a pure beast in the post with a super soft touch for such a brute. The team's vocal leader was forward Jermaine Gonzales, the football team's quarterback and someone who hurt teams on the hardwood both shooting the ball from the outside and taking it to the rack.
All four of these guys played BIG TIME college sports. Seawright played hoops at Michigan, before having his career ended by off the court issues prior to the conclusion of his freshman season. Gonzales and Mason both played football for the Maize and Blue in Ann Arbor. A pure athlete, Mason, who started his college days at Stanford, is currently a defensive back in the NFL. Davis went on to play college football at Purdue and had a short career in the NFL as a tight end.
Rounding out the starting line-up was Jonte Jones, a high-scoring swingman with big play ability. Dan Clothier, a gutty power forward, was the team's sixth-man and combined with Davis to make a very effective and imposing rebounding tandem
The 2000 Eaglets ran the table, compiling an overall season record of 28-0. St. Mary's run to the title was a relative easy one and the Eaglets 62-59 win over Flint Beacher in the state finals was their closest game of the tournament. Leading the way for St. Mary's in the state title showdown with Beecher was Seawright, who had 26 point and six assists. Jones added 17 points and Mason delved out eight dimes when Seawright was doing his thang torching the Breslin Center twine.