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, April 28, 2011

Flying Away


The Dayton Flyers football program has made some significant inroads within the Oakland County recruiting scene this year. Wednesday afternoon in a ceremony held for family and friends, Birmingham Detroit Country Day two-sport standout Lee Bailey signed a National Letter of Intent to play both football and basketball at Dayton, becoming the third local prep gridiron star to sign on with the Flyers since the winter.

Bailey’s primary focus in college will be football, but he will be a preferred walk-on on Dayton’s hoop squad too. A three-year varsity performer in both sports, Bailey was twice selected all-state in football (RB-DB) and once on the hardwood (jack of all trades combo guard/lockdown defender).

Charlie Sheen would love my main man, LB. This kid did more than his share of WINNING at the high school level and took names while doing it. As a football player he helped the Yellowjackets make three straight playoff appearances in football, including a trip to Ford Field and the state finals in 2008. On the basketball court, Bailey’s squads compiled a total record of 67-7, were perennial NATIONALLY-ranked and took home a state championship in 2010.

Papa Bailey aka Lee, Sr., was an assistant on Country Day’s state title team before taking over as head coach at Walled Lake Western last summer. Lee played for his dad when he was a freshman on the JV team.

Back in February, Milford quarterback, Luke Johnson and Farmington tight end Mitch Sanders each signed letters of intent with Dayton as well.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Welcome Home

Last week Oakland County prep legend Dane Fife made his official return to the state of Michigan by accepting an assistant coaching job with the Michigan State University basketball program under head coach Tom Izzo.
I for one am ecstatic that my main man Dane has returned to the local hoops scene, making it the first time in 13 years that all three Fife boys (Dane, Dugan & Jeremy) are back living in the state together. And believe me, the more Fifes there are in the area, the better it is for all of us.
Dane is the youngest son of renowned Clarkston basketball coach Dan Fife and for the past six years he has been the head coach at IPFW of the Summit League. Even though he's no longer top dog, this is the best move for the younger Fife and a one-way ticket to a big time college head coaching job. The Izzo coaching tree is vast and continuously plentiful. Within a few years, I guarantee Dane will be a head coach again and with all due respect to his previous employer, this time at a much larger and better program.
Back in the 1990s, Dane was an epic two-sport stud for the C-Town Wolfpack, excelling on both the gridiron and the hardwood. Leading his dad's cage squad to four straight regional crowns, as a senior in 1998 he won the state's coveted Mr. Basketball Award. That same year, he was one of the state's top quarterbacks on the football field, garnering several major college offers.
When it was all said and done in the recruiting process, Dane chose to play hoops at Indiana University, where he was a four-year starter, captaining the Hoosiers to the NCAA Final Four in 2002, where they lost in the championship game to Maryland. He is IU's all-time leader in steals and was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 2002. Prior to taking the job at IPFW, he was an assistant under Mike Davis at IU.
While donning the IU cream and crimson as a player with the Hoosiers in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Dane became the fourth member of his family to compete at the D1 level in college. His father Dan was captain of the Michigan Wolverines in the early 70s under Johnny Orr, prior to a short professional baseball career as a pitcher with the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers. His older brothers Dugan and Jeremy did their hoop thang too. Dugan followed in his dad's footsteps and played at Michigan from 1992 until 1996 under Steve Fisher, going to a NCAA Final Four in '93 and an Elite Eight in '94. Jeremy played at Niagra for two years (96-97), before finishing off his career in the GLIAC at Grand Valley State (98-99). Just like Dane, Dan, Dugan and Jeremy were also all-state football players for the Wolfpack in their prep heyday.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Burney's Baseball Rankings - April Showers

Burney's OC Prep Baseball Top 10 - Late April 2011
1          Birmingham Brother Rice; You can't stop freshman phenom Matt Ruppenthal, you can only hope to contain him
2          Lake Orion; Sophomore hurler Nick Deeg is a SUPERSTAR in the making
3 (tie)  MH Bishop Foley; Zoom Zoom, The Schalk Boyz, and Bret 'Mayday' Sunde are SO DANGEROUS on the diamond, Burney gets chills just thinking about them
3 (tie)  MH Lamphere; The most prolific front end of a batting order in the area, highlighted by leadoff genius Mitch Kozlwoski, ultra-steady Ryan Horvath and the GOLDEN BOY himself Greg 'G-Bomb' Fettes in the clean-up spot
4          Clarkston; Dustin Peck for president!!!
5          Troy Athens; Anthony Carillo is CRAZY GOOD!!!
6          WL Central; The experience factor with this group is overwhelming, will payoff come state tourney time
7 (tie)  RH Adams; Is there really any question that Adams will be in the thick of things come late next month?.......I don't think so
7 (tie)  Stoney Creek; Cougars are one of the best hitting teams in Metro Detroit….and you can take that 2 THE BANK!!!          
8          BH Andover – I'm going to start calling Gabe Berman, 'Gabe the Babe', cause this kid has a Ruth-like presence in the local prep baseball scene
9          Birmingham Seaholm – Brand new skipper Dan Drapal is doing one heck of a job getting the Maples off and running in 2012…..Derek Amboyen could wind up being Burney's MVP this year, he has Miggie-esque capability in the carry-a-team-on-his-back department.
10 (tie)        Birmingham Groves – There are some real hidden gems on this Falcons roster and I'm not just talking about Mike Mestdagh
10(tie) - AH Avondale; Don't test 'Jackets catcher Mitch Robinson on the base paths 'cause he'll gun you down like his name was Joe Mauer

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Three's a Charm


Mama Crawford must be beaming with pride these days. It's understandable. She just placed her third son in a Division I basketball program.
This past Thursday, former Oakland County prep hoops star Jalen Crawford signed a National Letter of Intent with Bradley University of the Missouri Valley Conference. Crawford graduated from Oak Park in 2010 and spent last season playing ball at a Nevada prep school getting his grades in order.
The long and lean 6-foot-3 combo guard follows in the footsteps of his older brothers, Joe (Detroit Renaissance-Kentucky) and Jordan (Detroit CMA-Xavier/Indiana), who both had accomplished careers on the collegiate hardwood. Joe led his high school team to a perfect 27-0 record and a state title in 2004 and was a NBA second-round draft pick in 2008, having since had a few cups of coffee in the League with the NY Knicks and the Sacramento Kings. Jordan was a first-round NBA Draft pick last year and is currently and up-and-comer in the League with the Washington Wizards.
A two-year starter in the backcourt at Oak Park, Jalen is a heady and well-rounded playmaker when let loose on the floor, just like his big bros. Unfortunately, he flew under the radar as a local prepster due to his Knights failing to win a lot of games. As a senior, he averaged 23 points, five assists and four rebounds per game and joined forces with swingman Kenny Harper to make up one of the area's most prolific scoring duos on a team many claimed was the best last place team in the state(competing in the rough and rugged OAA Red).
Jalen selected Bradley over a half-dozen other D1 offers, including ones from big time programs like Providence and Xavier. During his high school days, Jalen played for George Ward, who as the sideline general at Detroit Southeastern in 2011, led his team to both a PSL championship and a trip to the Class A state finals.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Really Good Friday

Local prep football star Devin Funchess (FH Harrison) used the start of the Easter holiday to start his college career on the gridiron. On Friday morning, Funchess, one of the state's top recruits and most explosive offensive talents, gave his verbal commitment to play at the University of Michigan.
Funchess is an ultra-quick 6-foot-5, 210 pound tight end, who as a junior in 2010 helped lead the Harrison Hawks to a state title with his playmaking skills down field, catching 36 balls for 730 yards and six touchdowns. He is ranked a four-star recruit by more than one high profile scouting service and turned down offers from close to a dozen BCS schools in favor of the Wolverines and brand new head coach Brady Hoke. Out of state schools like Oregon, Nebraska and Virginia had been hot on his tail.
Next fall Funchess will be one of the headliners of a Hawks squad loaded with D1 studs and expected to repeat as state champions in Division 2. Besides 'The Funchise', legendary head coach John Herrington (a state-record 13 state crowns under his belt at the school) will sport an offense returning the bulk of its lineup from last season, including wide receiver Aaron Burbridge, the No. 1 rated offensive player in Michigan.
One of the most intriguing aspects of Funchess' decision is the fact that Harrison has traditionally been viewed as a feeder program for Michigan State, not UofM. Past Hawks stars like Drew Stanton, Mill Coleman, John Miller and Mark Dell have all had impressive careers in the Spartans green and white. In an interview Friday morning, Funchess promised to try and convince fellow Harrison 4-star gems Burbridge and Mario Ojemudia (DE) to follow his lead in bucking the trend and heading to Ann Arbor instead of East Lansing.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Too Hot To Handle

As always, Madison Heights Madison basketball star Damon Bozeman was tearing up the hardwood last weekend. Displaying his usual brand of timely and tenacious play, Bozeman shined brightly for his AAU squad, Team Detroit, in the 17-U division at the heavily competitive Grand Rapids Storm Classic.
To put it mildly, Bozeman is a MONSTER, who can kill opponents in a variety of ways…..and DOES nearly every time he touches the rock. He's like a prep version of Charles Barkley with better handles and a better jump shot.
Throughout the weekend in Grand Rapids, he put up 24 points and 14 rebounds per contest and was his team's emotional leader on the floor and in the huddle. My man DB dropped a 36-spot in a 3-OT thriller on the first day of tourney action.
The 6-foot-3 swingman will be entering his fourth year on the Eagles varsity team next winter. When he was a freshman and sophomore, Bozeman played in the post, establishing himself as one of the better power forwards in the area. Over the final half of the 2010 season, he collected 12 straight double-doubles and reached at least the 15-point and 12-rebound mark in 10 of the Eagles final 13 games, helping Madison grab its third consecutive conference title.
Showing off his versatility, Bozeman moved to the two-guard/small forward position this past season and kept lighting it up, proving to college scouts that he will do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to prove his worth.   
In 2011, Bozeman averaged 22 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. Back in February, he posted a career-high 42 points – 32 of which came in the second half – in a win against league foe Warren Mott.
Madison will continue to pack a punch in 2012. Combined with point guard William Bradley, who emerged at the end of last season as one of the county's most effective floor generals, and Danny Larkins, a stud football recruit with natural basketball talent, Bozeman will headline one very powerful trio of a cage crew. With defending MAC Silver champion and Class A quarterfinalist Eastpointe East Detroit losing the bulk of its lineup to graduation, the Eagles will be a favorite in league play in 2012 to reclaim their crown.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Fab 15

It's gearing up to be a banner season next fall in local high school football, as Oakland County will be home to over half of the state's top recruits in the loaded Class of 2012.
Just to wet everybody's appetite and hold you prep pigskin diehards over until the summer and the start of training camp, here is a list of Burney's Top 15 prep football prospects in THE OC:
1 (tie) James Ross (LB OL St. Mary's) – Best defensive player in the state, could be the best defensive player in the entire Midwestern recruiting region
1 (tie) Aaron Burbridge (WR FH Harrison) – Best offensive player in the state, could be the best offensive player in the entire Midwestern recruiting region
2 Devin Funchess (TE FH Harrison) – 'The Funchise' is a straight freak stretching the field as a clone of former Megawatt Detroit area high school athletic stud and current NFL superstar Antonio Gates 
3 Matt Godin (DE/DL Novi Detroit CC) – Beefy, agile and aggressive line prospect that will end up at a major college program...could be the quickest off the ball line recruit I've seen in the last five years
4 Ron Thompson (TE Southfield) – Scary potential at the tight end spot with only having played one year of organized football….just plain dominates defenders and catches nearly anything thrown his way with his massive hands
5 Mario Ojemudia (DL FH Harrison) – Sleek, savvy and SENSATIONAL pass rush specialist with a crazy high ceiling
6 Leviticus Payne-Brandon Watkins (WR/RB/DB Southfield) – Both Payne and Watkins (who missed most of last year with an injury) are superior athletes that will team with Thompson and returning gunslinger QB Justin Danzy to make the Bluejays legitimate state title contenders in the fall
7 Devin Church (RB/WR Birmingham Brother Rice) – Not much this sparkplug playmaker can't do on the football field
8 Matt Doneth (TE Novi Detroit CC) – Most years Doneth would be the best TE in the county by far….his leadership, work ethic and ability to perform in the clutch set him apart as a recruit….just plain tough
9 Danny Larkins (WR MH Madison) – Big physical receiver with hops
10 Jamal Lyles (LB Southfield-Lathrup) – Instinctive linebacker with speed and grit that packs quite a wallop with his bone crushing hits
11 Tony Annesse (QB/ATH RH Adams) – Defines the word VERSATILITY and the term PRIME TIME PLAYER
12 Dan Gibbs-Neal Page (OL/DL Birmingham Seaholm) – Gibbs is a mammoth OL prospect whose college recruiting is starting to takeoff, while Page is a rush end on the defensive line that is gaining attention for his gutty demeanor
13 Mitch Robinson (QB AH Avondale) – If this Yellow Jacket juggernaut QB can put together another MONSTER campaign like he did in 2010, next year at this time he could be sitting with a BCS college offer
14 Prescott Line (RB/LB Oxford) – One word; WARRIOR……..I see Line leading the Wildcats back into the postseason next year
15 Keon Collier (RB/WR/DB Birmingham Groves) – SUPER SLEEPER!!!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Five For Fighting - The Rotation

While compiling my all-time all-Oakland County prep baseball squad earlier this month, I had a pair of glaring omissions (Dick Radatz and Steve McCatty) in putting together my pitching staff. So, to make up for my snafu – pointed out to me ever so graciously by the Oakland Press very own resident sports encyclopedia, Pat "The Book" Caputo – I've decided to breakdown the REAL DEAL Top 5 prep baseball pitchers in the history of the county.
OC TOP 5 – All-Time Prep Pitchers
1                    Bob Welch (Hazel Park) – In his 16-year MLB career, Welch collected two World Series championships and a Cy Young Award in 1990, as a 27-game winner for the Oakland A's, the last hurler in the Big Leagues to eclipse the 25-win total
2                    Dick Radatz (Berkley) – A three-sport star at Berkley in the mid-1950s, Radatz was one of Major League Baseball's first great relief pitchers, posting over 120 saves in a seven-year career in the Bigs. In 1964 with the Boston Red Sox, he struck out 181 batters in just 157 innings, the most ever by a closer in a single season. Retiring in 1969, after playing his final two years with the Tigers and Montreal Expos respectively, Radatz, nicknamed by teammates 'The Moose' for his powerful disposition on the mound, was elected to the Red Sox franchise Hall of Fame in 1967.
3                    Steve Howe (Clarkston) – After leading the Clarkston Wolves to a state title as a senior in 1976, Howe pitched at UofM before being drafted into the Bigs by the L.A. Dodgers, where he immediately won an MLB Rookie of the Year Award and a World Series in 1981. In a career spanning off and on for 15 years, Howe was known for his outstanding ability as a left-handed reliever, however was plagued by substance abuse issues his entire life, which sadly ended in a methamphetamine-induced car crash in 2006.
4                    Steve McCatty (Troy) – Graduating from Troy HS in 1972, McCatty had a very solid eight-year career in pro baseball (1977-1985), all played with the Oakland A's. In 1981, he led the entire Big Leagues in wins and shutouts, finishing second in the balloting for the Cy Young Award.
5                    Brad Havens (RO Kimball) – After building a powerhouse prep resume at Kimball in the mid-to-late 1970s (he tossed a no-hitter in a Class A district title game as a senior in 1977), Havens was an MLB journeymen between 1981 and 1989, playing for the Twins, Tigers, Dodgers, Orioles and Indians. Was a member of the Dodgers 1988 World Series team that also featured fellow former Oakland County star high school athlete Kirk Gibson.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

New Blood

Move over former Oakland County prep star and current Walled Lake Northern hoops coach Ron Thompson, there's a NEW Ron Thompson in town. And with all due respect to the elder Ron Ron – who as a senior on the hardwood in 1993 was the leading-scorer for a Walled Lake Central team that went 25-1 and made a run into the Class A quarterfinals – , the new and younger Ron Thompson has quite a larger upside for success at the college level.
Unlike the old Ron Thompson, who starred on the basketball court and baseball diamond for the Central Vikings in the early-90s, but never continued his playing career following high school, the new Ron Thompson plays football. Well, maybe that's an understatement. Let's try it again;The new Ron Thompson dominates on the gridiron and takes names while doing it.
It's been recently announced that after playing last fall in Macomb County at Eastpointe East Detroit, Thompson, one of the top recruits in the state's coveted Class of 2012, will finish off his high school career and play his senior season in Oakland County at Southfield.
Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing in at over 240 pounds, with GINORMOUS hands and a CRAZY work ethic, Thompson is a highly sought after tight end/wide receiver prospect. As a junior last fall at East Detroit, he caught 41 balls for over 800 yards and 12 touchdowns. He currently holds over a half-dozen scholarship offers half of which hail from BCS schools. Thompson, who also plays on the defensive line and never played organized football until 2010, was one of the first recruits brand new Michigan head coach Brady Hoke offered once accepting the job in Ann Arbor.
With Thompson in the mix now with the Bluejays, Southfield stands to have a juggernaut of an offense next fall. Quarterback Justin Danzy is one of the county's leading returning passers and fellow pass-catchers, Leviticus Payne, Trey Walton and Brandon Bean will team with Thompson to make up a dangerous receiving corps. Brandon Watkins and Kevin Hines will hurt teams in the backfield for Bluejays head coach Tim Conley and benefit greatly from Thompson's arrival, if only for the running lanes he will open up with his stellar blocking.
Like Danzy, Payne had a breakout campaign in 2010 and since the end the season has earned a series of college scholarship offers, including one from Iowa. Bean, who will be entering his junior season in 2011, is the son of Vince Bean, the former Southfield legend and one-time Michigan Wolverine.
Because Thompson's mom has moved into the Southfield district, Thompson and his younger brother, Aaron, a talented sophomore to-be, will be eligible immediately when the new campaign kicks off in August. The older Thompson was also an important cog on the East Detroit basketball team this past winter, which ironically lost to Southfield in the Class A quarterfinals last month. His presence next winter in the line-up for Bluejays cage general Gary Teasley will help ease the burden of replacing an entire starting five off two straight state semifinal squads.
Conley and the Bluejays are coming off a season on the gridiron where they missed the playoffs following back-to-back years when they claimed district titles. In 2008, the Bluejays advanced into the Division 2 final four. Danzy was the starting quarterback on Southfield's 2009 district championship team.
Now with Thompson in the OAA White, joining Farmington Hills Harrison's Devin Funchess, an all-state selection last season for the state champion Hawks, the conference has arguably the two of the best tight end prospects in the entire state.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

One More Time

Area hoop heads will get the chance to see local prep basketball stars Carlton Brundidge (Southfield), Patrick Onwneu (Southfield), Joe Baker (Ferndale) and Lee Bailey (Birmingham DCD) play one more time as high schoolers, as all four were named this week to the East Team roster for the first annual Under Armor Michigan High School All-Star Game, set to be played Friday night at Ferndale High School.
Burney for one is very excited for this one last look at the great prep careers of this quad of Oakland County cage studs.  All four of these guys are good kids with MAD GAME, readying to display their skills amongst the very best the state has to offer. Also expected to play in the event is 2011 Mr. Basketball Award winner Duwan Anderson (Suttons Bays) and Brandon Kearney (Detroit Southeastern), a pair of all-state forwards headed to play their college ball as teammates in East Lansing at Michigan State.

Brundidge - a three-time all-state selection in the backcourt signed with Michigan - and Onwenu - a two-time all-state pick in the post - are coming off back-to-back seasons where they led the Southfield Blue Jays back to prominence and consecutive appearances in the Class A Final Four. Being recruited in both basketball and football, Bailey started at guard for the 2010 Class B state champion DCD Yellowjackets. Baker, a well-traveled wing, has been one of the county's most prolific scorers the past three seasons.
Expect to see one final glance at Brundidge's bulldog-brand of guard play, several of Onwenu's trademark highlight reel  slam dunks, Baker's smooth style slashing to the rack and Bailey's signature pace-setting and gutty resolve

Monday, April 11, 2011

Burney's HS Girls Softball Preview

Burney's Top 20 Prep Softball Players in Oakland County
1          Kacie Nieto (FH Mercy) - Masterful spinstress from the circle and only a junior...Just call her 'The K Queen"
2          Kelsey Cleary (Lakeland) - Best lead-off hitter in the Metro area and plays a mean centerfield
3          Kristina Weltzin (WL Northern) - One word most accurately describes Weltkin's play - RIDICULOUS
4          Katie Severson (North Farmington) - This standout junior will earn herself a D1 scholarship before the year is through
5          Jessica Collins (Birmingham DCD) - Just does so much for her team...Michigan State will be lucky to have her in '13
6          Kelsey Johnson (Lakeland) - Natural leader behind the plate & dangerous hitter at it
7          Kari Knight-Mackenzie Lakian (WL Northern)
8          Kristin Thompson (RH Lutheran NW)
9          Michelle Stiltner (Lakeland)
10        Melissa Palmer (Troy Athens)
11        Sierra Burke-Devan Olah (Lakeland)
12        Lindsey Mukomel (Troy)
13        Liz Zezula (Clarkston)
14        Mackenzie Coulter-Karleigh Creighton (North Farmington)
15        Kamryn La Carter (Troy)
16        Emily Bryce (RH Adams)
17        Selena Hicks (Lakeland)
18        Sarah Gutknecht (Farmington)
19        Alex Bahner (RH Adams)
20        Carley Cribbs (Rochester)
 Burney's Top 10 Prep Softball Teams in Oakland County
1          WL Northern
2          Lakeland
3          North Farmington
4          FH Mercy
5          Troy
6          Clarkston
7          Lake Orion
8          RH Adams
9          Birmingham DCD       
10 (tie)            Pontiac NDP
10 (tie)            Troy Athens

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Burney's HS Boys Baseball Preview

Burney's Top 25 Prep Baseball Players in Oakland County
1          Greg Fettes (MH Lamphere) - This Kentucky-bound thoroughbred is as dominant at the plate as he is behind it
2          Jimmy Pickens (Brother Rice) - The perfect combination of power, speed & savvy, the definition of a leader on the field
3          Kevin Conway (Birmingham DCD) - All you need to know about how good KC is lies in the fact that he's headed to play in the ACC at Wake Forest in '12
4          Mike Mestdagh (Birmingham Groves) - Pure power on the mound and at the dish
5 (tie)  Blaise Salter (OL St. Mary's) - Salter is BLAZING a trail of greatness for the Eaglets
5 (tie)  Luke Dauch (BH Lahser) - Can u say 5-tool?
6          Danny Zuchowski (MH Bishop Foley) - My boy 'Zoom Zoom' can straight get his diamondcutting on with the best
7          Chase Toth (Clarkston) - Headlining the C-Town baseball resurgence 
8          Jason Gamble (WL Northern) - If Burney had to pick one OC pitcher to start a team with it would be Gamble
9          Matt Nestor (RH Adams) - The Highlanders are lucky to have this WORKHORSE of an ACE
10 (tie)            Tom Constand (Pontiac ND Prep) - Might be the best pitcher in the Catholic League
10 (tie)            Nick Bradley (Rochester) - Is there anything this kid doesn't do and do MAD NICE?
11        Brian Portelli (AH Avondale)
12        Andrew Sohn (Brother Rice)
13        Matt Rogers (Clarkston)
14        Zack Zott (Lake Orion)
15        TEAM SCHALK (MH Bishop Foley)
16        Matt Constance (Brother Rice)
17        Ryan Horvath-Jake Baldwin (MH Lamphere)
18        Brett Sunde (MH Bishop Foley)
19        Sean Lau (Royal Oak)
20 (tie)            Gabe Berman (BH Andover)
20 (tie)            Joe Harris (WL Central)
20 (tie) Cole Schaenzer (Lake Orion)
21        Will Schwartz (Brother Rice)
22 (tie)            Chris Poches (Groves)
22 (tie) Ira Land-Alex Harrison (Troy Athens)
23        Dallas Sutton (FH Harrison)
24        Austin Karbowski (Waterford Lakes)
25 (tie)            Dominic Valente (Royal Oak)
25 (tie) Taylor Drabek-Mitch Robinson (AH Avondale)
Burney's Top 10 Prep Baseball Squads in Oakland County
1          MH Lamphere - This is the Rams year....come on fellas, let's raise a state title banner when it's all said and done
2          MH Bishop Foley - The Ventures got taste of Final Four fever last season, this season they'll be back w/ a vengeance
3          Lake Orion - WILL make amends for last season's district flame out
4          Clarkston - Toth and Rogers will roar the Wolfpack into another long tourney run this spring, building on their success in '11
5          Brother Rice - Intriguing blend of youth&experience could spell another CHSL crown for WARRIOR NATION
6          Birmingham Groves
7          WL Central
8          Troy Athens
9          RH Adams
10        AH Avondale

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Making A Name

These young and up and coming local prep hoop studs are on the move in the exposure department,  each recently making a name for themselves at a showcase camp last week;
Dylan Morris & Quinton Cook (Ortonville Brandon) - Morris is a pesky guard that will be a sophomore next year for the Blackhawks, while Cook is a jumping jack on the wing with raw potential who will be a junior in 2012
Morgan Baylis (Holly) - Baylis is the son of Bronchos head coach Lance Baylis and judging by his play last week he has a very good chance to start at the point on varsity as only a freshman next winter....Lance starred at Groves back in the late 70s, a classmate of the Oakland Press' very own Pat Caputo, before going on to play in college at Stetson, a small D1 school in Florida 
Chris Boatman-Eric Murphy (Southfield Bradford Academy) - Boatman, a junior to-be at the floor general spot, showed a great deal of spunk and playmaking ability and Murphy, an athletic post player, was one of the better 'Bigs' at the event...look for Bradford to be a small school sleeper next year
Zach Littleson (RH Adams) - This youngster (he'll be a junior next season after getting significant minutes as a soph on a team that made it all the way to the Sweet 16) looks like he'll be the next Andrew Hammett, with the chance to be even better
Jeff Koch (Troy Athens) - Another fast-improving big fella who showed that he can defend and finish on the blocks...he could be a force as a junior next season 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Due North

Former Oakland County prep hoops star Jon Borovich just keeps climbing up the ranks of the college basketball coaching latter. Late last week, Borovich, an all-state point guard at Birmingham Seaholm back in the 1990s, left the No. 2 assistant job at Dayton to take the No. 1 job at Northern Illinois under new head coach Mark Montgomery, who had been at Michigan State learning the tricks of the trade from Tom Izzo and has known Borovich, considered one of the region's hottest young sideline generals, for over a decade.
When Borovich was a starting floor general at the college level with the Central Michigan Chippewas, Montgomery – the starting point guard for the Spartans when they won a Big 10 title and advanced into the Sweet 16 in 1990 – was his assistant coach. Before getting to Dayton, Borovich was a video coordinator at Michigan State under Izzo and then a No. 3 assistant at Oakland University under Greg Kampe, helping recruit the most recent class of Golden Grizzlies which went 34-2, winning two conference titles and making back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
As a prepster, Borovich averaged 20 points, six assists and four rebounds as a four-year starter for Seaholm, leading the Maples to both league and district crowns and a spot in the Class Sweet 16 as a senior in 1997. During his senior year at CMU in 2001, he captained the Chips to a MAC regular season championship.

Back in high school,
h shared a backcourt with Mat Ishbia, a member of three Final Four teams as a player at Michigan State between 1998 and 2001. While at CMU, he played along side David Webber, a high-scoring 2-guard out of Birmingham DCD who helped lead the Yellowjackets to a trio of state championships between 1995 and 1997 and won MAC MVP honors in 2002.

Borovich is one of a slew of former prep cage standouts hailing from Oakland County currently making waves in the college coaching profession, including Dane Fife (Clarkston, head coach at IUPU-FW) and Brett Reed (AH Oakland Christian, head coach at Lehigh).

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Burney's All-County Boys Hoop Squad

All-OC Dream Team
G          Carlton Brundidge (Southfield)
G/F      James Young   (Troy)
F          Spencer Parker (West Bloomfield)
F          Patrick Onwenu (Southfield)
C          Amir Williams (Birmingham DCD)
6th Man – Anthony "Ant" Adams (Pontiac)
Designated Gunner – Allen Robinson (OL St. Mary's)
Head Coach – John Hall (RH Adams)
ALL-OC Ist Team
G          Ray Tillman (AH Avondale)
G          Nick Tatu (Clarkston)
F          Kellen McCormick (Pontiac NDP)
F          Sameir Ozeir (Novi)
C          Urbane Bingham (North Farmington)


MVP – Spencer Parker (West Bloomfield)
MIP – Matt Doneth (Novi Detroit CC)
Ironman Award (Best Grinder) – Andrew Hammett (RH Adams)
Name to Watch for in 2012 – Jared Sheena (WL Northern)
Coach of the Year – Dan Fife (Clarkston)