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, June 29, 2011

Bad Call

Both Michigan and Michigan State made a big mistake with letting recently graduated Birmingham Detroit Country Day football star Kenny Knight slip out of the state. After failing to garner scholarship offers from either, the Wolverines or the Spartans, Knight, a 6-4, 210 pound agile and fast wide receiver, accepted a scholarship offer from Illinois in February.
There's no going back. Knight, a two-sport standout with the Yellow Jackets, who also started on the school's state championship basketball team, is already in Champaign donning the blue and orange, getting ready for the upcoming season with the Fighting Illini.
But he shouldn't be.
He should be playing in his backyard in Ann Arbor or East Lansing.
And he wanted to.
When I spoke to Kenny on the afternoon of his signing, he told me he had waited for UofM and MSU to throw their hats into the ring in his recruiting because he was very interested in both programs, however they never did.
I find this head-scratching.
It's not like Knight wasn't highly coveted. He had offers from a plethora of BCS schools, including practically every Big 10 school besides Michigan and Michigan State.
And it's not like he wasn't prolific. Last season, he caught 35 balls for 550 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging over 25-yards per TD grab and being named all-state for the second consecutive campaign.  He's got a 35-inch vertical and he graduated with a 3.6 GPA.
In Burney's opinion, the decision to not recruit Kenny Knight is going to hurt both in-state programs in the very near future. This situation reminds me of the recruitment or lack of recruitment as it turned out to be, of Freddy Scott, another star DCD Yellow Jacket wide out from back in the early 1990s. Just like Knight, both UofM and MSU ignored Scott, the son of the former NFL veteran pass-catcher of the same name, forcing him to land out of state.
Specifically, he found a home with Joe Pa and Penn State in Happy Valley, going on to torch the maize and blue and Sparty as a starting split end with the Nittany Lions when they rolled to the 1994 Big 10 and Rose Bowl title. In other words, he made them pay.
Burney expects his boy, Kenny aka "Extra Crispy", to do the same in the coming years.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Dirty Dozen

Oakland County's Top Boys Prep Hoop Prospects
1          James Young (Jr)                    Troy
Best junior in the state, 6-6 and still growing, can play all five positions on the floor at the prep level, top-tier D1 recruit
2          "Jon Jon" Williams (Jr)           Southfield-Lathrup
This Chargers' dynamic backcourt recruit had a breakout sophomore season in 2011 & will follow that up with a HUGE year in 2012...can score at will and does it efficiently
3          Jodan Price                             Birmingham DCD
A wing prospect with a big upside and a "sweet as sugar" stroke from dowtown
4          Kellen McCormick                  Pontiac NDP
Shored up his game in the last 12 months to the point where he might be the most complete prepster in the county
5          Taylor Perry                            Rochester
The definition of a grinder and someone whose game just keeps improving...WMU was lucky to have corralled his commitment last summer
6          Kyle. Cooper/Matt Doneth   Novi Detroit CC
Best pair of forwards in the area
7          Damon Bozeman                    MH Madison
Most explosive returning scorer in Oakland County....can go "inside-out" with the best around
8          Corey Green                            MH Bishop Foley
The Ventures' athletic wing is Scottie Pippen no more, this winter he'll be all Michael Jordan!!!!
9          Chris Dewberry                       Southfield Christian
Pure scorer readying to light up Class D basketball this season like he has on the Class A level with Waterford Mott the past two campaigns
10        Nick Tatu                                 Clarkston
The county's best outside shooter added an aggressive move to the basket to his arsenal last season and is another in a long line of C-Town cage greats
11        Justin Barrows                         OL St. Mary's
Poised for a breakout season on the wing and in the post for the Eaglets in 2012....I expect at least 20 points, 8 boards per outing
12        Dorrell Foster                          North Farmington
Just scratched the surface of his talents this past winter as he nearly averaged a double-double.....the 6-6 Raiders wing will be one of the best players in the OAA next season

Monday, June 27, 2011

Athletically Inclined

Award Season - 2010-2011
A look at the best all-around athletes from this past school year

Burney's All-Athlete Boys Team
1          Nick Bradley (Rochester) – MVP/Captain
2          Zac Leimbach (WL Central)
3          Allen Robinson (OL St. Mary's)
4          Jimmy Pickens (Birmingham Brother Rice)
5          Austin Karbowski (Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes)
MIP – Matt Dellinger (Clarkston)
Burney's All-Athlete Girls Team
1          Andrea Strauss (AH Avondale) – MVP/Captain
2          Gabby Yurik (Stoney Creek)
3          Lauren Robak (Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes)
4          Jenna O'Dell (Troy Athens)
5          Megan Topolewski/Abbey Troy (Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes)
MIP – Irene Young (Troy)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Small School Pride

When Josh Baker took over as head coach of the Southfield Christian boys basketball team last week, he joined a surprisingly strong roster of sideline generals in the Michigan Independent Athletic Conference, the league in the Oakland County prep hoop ranks with the smallest average school enrollment.
First off, Baker is an outstanding hire for the Eagles.  Snaring the up-and-coming coach who had been the top assistant at Class A powerhouse Romulus the past nine seasons is a monumental feather in the cap of Southfield Christian athletic director Tim Fracassi. Baker is a hot commodity and for a Class D school to land his services is a tribute to what a great AD Fracassi is.
Helping ease Baker into his new digs with the Eagles will be his top assistant, former Detroit Pistons' star, two-time world champion and 17-year NBA vet Lindsey Hunter, whose imprint on the program in only a year on the job has been significant. Hunter's and now Baker's presence on the bench gives Southfield Christian immediate credibility in the local high school hardwood scene. It also gives this specific writer extreme confidence that some pretty special things are on the horizon for the Eagles' cage crew.
Let's take a look at some of the other top-tier head coaches that call the MIAC home:
Dennis Hopkins (AH Oakland Christian boys) – Hopkins, a one-time assistant coach under Greg Kampe at Oakland University, has successfully rebuilt the Lancers' program after it fell on some hard times in the early-to-mid 2000s following a run of dominance in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Since 2007, he has guided Oakland Christian to four straight district titles and three consecutive MIAC crowns, as well as the school's first regional trophy in close to 20 years in 2008. His record in the last four years has been an impressive 82-15.
Ernie Righetti (Birmingham Roeper boys/girls) – The MIACs elder-statesman, Righetti has led both the Roughriders' girls and boys programs since 1983, racking up over 700 total wins, 20 conference titles and 13 district championships in his time on the job. He is the picture of consistency on the bench, "coaching-up" anyone in his vicinity, always getting the best out of his talent.
Mark Kraatz (AP Inter-City Baptist boys/girls) – Kraatz is not only a superior head coach, but arguably the conference's best player of all-time. As a prepster, Kraatz led Inter-City to the MIAC's only state championship in boys hoops in 1985 and appears prominently in several categories of the MHSAA record book. Returning to his alma mater as a coach in the early 1990s, he has established the Crusaders as one of the best small school programs in the Metro Detroit area. Recently, he took over the girls program at Inter-City, too.
Seena Allen (Southfield Christian girls) – In her first year at the helm of the Eagles girls program in 2011, Allen, the daughter of Cleveland State's men's head coach, Gary Waters and a one-time cage star herself at Eastern Michigan, led Southfield Christian to its first district title in almost 30 years and a place in the Class D Sweet 16 where they came close to pulling the upset over eventual repeat state champion, Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes. Significantly helping her cause is the fact that just like with Baker, Lindsey Hunter is Allen's top assistant.
Wayne Gigante (GPW University Liggett girls) – Gigante took the Knights girls squad into the Class D state championship game this past March and with his top player, UofM-bound Madison Ristovski, returning in 2012, Liggett will be favorites to return to Breslin again in the winter.
Recently retired MIAC hoop dignitaries:
Ed Mehlberg (AH Oakland Christian boys/girls; retired) – Mehlberg led the Lancers' girls and boys programs for a combined 53 seasons spanning from the 1970s until 2010. His track record on the sidelines speaks for itself: 920 wins, a 75% winning percentage, 32 conference banners, 26 district championships, seven regional crowns and the 1992 Class D girls state title
Jim Barker (SH Parkway Christian boys; retired) – A 38-year coaching veteran, Barker is one of the winningist coaches in state history who left Parkway in 2009 and resurfaced as an assistant at West Bloomfield last season under Jeremy Denha, a former player of his at Utica Ford in the 1990s. Barker took Parkway to the Class D final four in 2008.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Falcon's Legacy

Rochester's Nick Bradley concluded what was an epic high school athletic career on Tuesday, as he participated in the 30th annual Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Game downtown at Comerica Park.
While, Bradley, who is set to continue his baseball career at Western Michigan next spring, didn't dominate the headlines - mainly because he didn't play at a school that is known as a sports powerhouse - , he without a doubt ends his playing days with one of Oakland County's most accomplished prep resumes in the last half-decade at least.
Excelling at three sports for multiple years, Bradley wound up with 10 varsity letters. He was the Falcons' starting quarterback on the football field, starting shooting guard on the basketball squad and ace pitcher on the baseball team for the last three straight years.
This past fall, Bradley quarterbacked Rochester to its first playoff appearance since 1999. In the winter, he shot 51% from 3-point distance on a Falcons' hoops contingent that captured the program's first conference title in close to two decades. Last spring, Bradley pitched the school's baseball team to a district championship for the first time in a dozen years. As a senior this spring, he racked up an amazing scoreless-inning streak, not allowing an earned run until over a month and a half into the season.
From the plate, he wrapped up his four-year run on the diamond hitting .410. On Tuesday in the all-star game, he tossed 1 2/3 innings of hitless-relief for the East squad in a 9-5 loss.
Bradley's versatile exploits will be dearly missed next year by both the Rochester athletic program and Burney himself. There's no doubt his imprint on Falcons' sports and Rochester HS in general, will be felt and remembered for a long time to come.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sign of Things To Come

They're baaaaack…….
The Farmington Hills Harrison football team that is. And just like the last time we saw them, the Hawks are dominating on the gridiron.
Up at Eastern Michigan over this past weekend, Harrison won a 7-on-7 tournament in impressive fashion, serving notice to all in attendance at the event that the defending D2 state champions will once again be quite a force to be reckoned with come this fall in their quest for a repeat.
In news that should come as no surprise to anyone, it was many of the usual names - as well as some new ones too - doing destruction on the field for the Hawks in Ypsilanti. During one game, wide receiver Aaron Burbridge, the state's No. 1 rated offensive playmaker, caught three touchdowns on three consecutive Harrison possessions.
Although new Hawks quarterback Jake Vento wasn't perfect under center guiding the team's offense in place of his brother, Tommy, he was more than serviceable and will only get better. Even with the apparent growing pains of perfecting Harrison's offense in preparation for the fall, the younger Vento connected on several touchdown throws, a number of them on plays where he showed off his athleticism, arm-strength and natural touch on his passes. He also hurt the opposition from his place in the Hawks defensive backfield and on plays where he split out wide, returning to the position he thrived at last season.
Other players that stood out in tourney action for Harrison, included Garius Coleman and Lamar Marshall, both solid contributors last year who will each have their roles in the Hawks' game plan expanded this season.
Coleman is a slippery slot receiver entering his junior campaign and someone who already has begun to garner heavy interest from a number of D1 schools. His uncle is Harrison offensive coordinator, Mill "The Thrill" Coleman, the school's all-time greatest player, leading the program to a pair of state championships as an all-state quarterback prior to going on and starring in college at Michigan State.
Marshall is a lightning-fast linebacker-safety that will be looked to by the coaching staff to do a majority of the defensive play-calling this season. He had a series of sacks, tackles-for-losses and pass-deflections over the weekend, igniting a defensive unit that features UofMichigan-recruit Mario Ojemudia anchoring the Hawks on the line.

Safety Ken Russ is another Hawks player having a vert good offseason and a name to look out for when the schedule kicks off in a little more than two months from now. Russ forced some key turnovers last season in the team's drive to the crown, emerging as a big-play specialist on special teams and in the defensive backfield .

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Three Hoop Kings

A trio of local prep basketball stars gave standout efforts at the recent Grand Valley State University Prospect Camp.
Clarkston's Mitch Baenzinger, Novi Detroit Catholic Central's Chase Janer and Orchard Lake St. Mary's Justin Barrows all tore it up on the hardwood up at GVSU, each improving their recruiting value with how they fared against other top in-coming seniors from around the state.
Baenzinger and Janer are both crafty and ultra-gritty guards, while Barrows is a potentially-dominant inside-outside threat that stands 6-foot-7 and possesses a slick and efficient arsenal of perimeter and post moves. Barrows has played so well this offseason at showcase camps and AAU tournaments he has catapulted himself into being an almost-certain Division 1 recruit.
Last season, all three players helped navigate their respective squads to tremendous success on the court. In their first year as starters, Baenzinger and Janer were integral components on teams that made runs to the Class A Sweet 16. Playing his first season at St. Mary's after transferring from Auburn Hills Oakland Christian, Barrows was a breakout star for an Eaglets' team that defeated Janer and CC in the regional finals on its way to a trip into the Class A quarterfinals.  
Next winter, Baenzinger and Janer will be headliners on Wolves and Shamrocks teams expected to be two of the best in the state. Starting in August, Baenzinger will be one of the leaders on a Clarkston football team that will also be highly-ranked going into the upcoming season.
People shouldn't look past OLSM in 2012 either, as they still have Barrows, set to have a huge senior campaign on the hardwood, and other playmaking-types like Sam McClendon, Chewie Okandu and Danny Furlong returning.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Heated Discussions

The college recruitment of Southfield-Lathrup football standout Jamal Lyles is starting to heat up in a major way.
On Thursday, Lyles, a lightning-fast outside linebacker prospect, received a trio of BCS offers from Michigan State – following a recent on-campus visit –, Syracuse and Vanderbilt.
These offers are the latest in a long line of BCS schools lining up to try and secure this emerging star's services at the next level. Lyles already has been offered by Penn State, Iowa, Cincinnati, Illinois, Pittsburgh and Stanford. Non-BCS schools like MAC stalwarts, Western Michigan, Akron and Toledo have put offers on the table as well. Less than a few weeks into the summer offseason, Lyles is fast establishing himself as one of the state's most sought after recruits in the Class of 2012.
Last fall as a junior, he made 90 tackles, with five fumble recoveries, two sacks and 13 tackles for loss. Showing off his versatility, Lyles also played some offense, demonstrating equal big-play ability by catching 15 balls for 350 yards and two TDs in 2010.
Lathrup had several successful seasons on the gridiron throughout the 2000s (qualifying for the postseason six times in the decade), but has dropped off in recent years, having not made the playoffs the last four straight campaigns.
The lack of postseason appearances as of late for the Chargers hasn't affected the amount of D1-claiber talent present in the program. In each of the past two seasons there have been players on the roster that have wound up landing college scholarships with BCS schools – WR Montrell Robinson '10 (Cincinatti) and OL Willie Beavers '11 (Illinois).

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Great Burnzini - Weekend Warriors

Final Four
MH Bishop Foley v. Oakridge (semifinal)/Shepherd (final) – The Venture's Danny Zuchowski goes all DANNY ZUCHOWSKI, continuing to torch the comp at every opportunity and Foley brings home its first ever state title on the baseball diamond.
Foley 3, Oakridge 1 in the semis & Foley 7, Shepherd 3 in the finals
All Hail TEAM SUNDE!!!!! Here's to Buster finally raising a banner!
Girl's Soccer
State Championship Games
Novi v. Troy – The Wildcats are going to have to go to OT, just like they had to last year, to get this win, but in the end it will be the fact that Greenhalgh, Caruso, Gauruder and co. have simply too much firepower for Troy to ultimately handle that gets Novi the repeat crown
Burney says junior Kelli Timar tallies the game-winner 12 minutes into OT for TEAM O'LEARY aka THE MEAN GREEN MACHINE!!!!

Novi 2, Troy 1 (OT)
MH Bishop Foley v. Lansing Christian – There will be dancing in Foleytown this weekend as the Ventures Nation captures two state titles on the same afternoon!!!!
Danielle Patryka comes up big and collects a hat trick and keeper Rachel Fisher gets herself another shutout in between the posts, while Foley cruises to its first state championship in eight years
Foley 4, LC 0

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Heading Home

Da' Shonte Riley is coming home.
The former all-state center at Birmingham Detroit Country Day officially transferred from Syracuse to Eastern Michigan on Wednesday, returning to the area's basketball scene after a two-year absence.
Riley, a 7-foot shot-blocking specialist, will join new EMU head coach Rob Murphy, his one-time assistant with the Orange, in Ypsilanti. As a freshman at Syracuse in 2010, Riley averaged 1.5 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.0 block per game on a team that earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and advanced into the Sweet 16. This past winter, he sat out the entire campaign with a foot injury.
When he was in high school, Riley helped spark Country Day to a Class B state title on the hardwood in 2007 during his sophomore year. His senior season, Riley averaged 12 points, 11 rebounds and nearly four blocks per game for a Yellowjackets' squad that was nationally-ranked before getting bounced in the 2009 state tournament by rival Flint Powers in the quarterfinals. Prior to arriving to Country Day, Riley played at Detroit Cass Tech while he was a freshman.
Under most circumstances, Coach Murphy's brand new big fella would be forced to sit out 2012 due to the transfer, however reports are that Riley will seek an exemption from the NCAA based on health issues related to some his close family members.
Murphy's hiring at EMU back in April is a homecoming of sorts as well. A native Detroiter, Murphy won a state title as head coach at Detroit Crocket in 2001. Leaving the prep ranks after raising a banner, he had a stop at Kent State before landing on head coach Jim Boeheim's staff in 2005.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Finals Flashback - Year of the Dragon

Following Madison Heights Bishop Foley's 4-1 downing of Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard in the Division 3 quarterfinals on Tuesday, the Ventures are the undisputed favorites to bring home a state baseball crown heading into play at the final four in Battle Creek this weekend.
The last team from Oakland County to hoist a state title trophy was Lake Orion in 2007.
Let's take a look back:
The 2007 Division 1 state championship game was a clash of OAA powers, with a loaded Dragons roster facing off with an equally dangerous Farmington team.
Grabbing the goods was no walk in the park for Lake Orion four years ago. The Dragons had to battle back from an early deficit to take out a ferocious and determined Falcons squad.
Farmington got things started with a bang, plating a pair of runs in the first inning on a two-RBI single by right fielder Phil Sontag, and held a 3-2 lead into the fifth.
It wasn't enough. Destiny favored Lake Orion.
With the score knotted 4-4 with one out in the bottom of the seventh, Lake Orion third baseman Nick Dunstan belted a game-winning RBI-single up the middle to bring home second baseman Joey Barnes, who had reached first on a hit-by-pitch and then stole second, to propel the Dragons to the crown.
The dramatics in this contest were over-the-top good, which was only fitting when you have such a stellar matchup.
The battle on the mound was first-rate in this diamond classic as well. Lake Orion threw all-stater Josh Deeg, who went on to play at Xavier, while Farmington put the ball into the hands of its ace, Harvey Martin, who played at Eastern Michigan.
Dunstan's RBI-single in the fifth also scored Barnes to tie the game at 4-4. Deeg went the distance to pick up the win on the mound for the Dragons.
Virtual Game Program
Lake Orion (31-5)
Skipper: Andy Schrameck
Dragons' Starting Lineup
Josh Deeg (P)
Connor Mielock (CF)
Joey Barnes (2B)
Jeff Chattaway (1B)
Nick Dunstan (3B)
Mike Musary (RF)
Ross Tonyan (SS)
Brandon Riggsbee (DH)
Jake Guadard (C)
Matt Truscott (LF)
Farmington (28-9)
Skipper: Pete Finn
Falcons' Starting Lineup
Jordan Turner (CF)
Harvey Martin (P/SS)
Ed Knobloch (3B)
Phil Sontag (RF)
Burny Mitchum (IB)
Cam Fowler (SS/P)
Matt Pochmara (DH)
Dan Pochmara (2B)
D.J. Vandercook (C)
Nick Pastu (LF)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Great Burnzini Returns - Quarter Pounders

Burney's quarterfinal picks;
D3: Madison Heights Bishop Foley v. Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard – This is a season of a destiny for the Ventures……the dream becomes a reality as Foley slips past the Fighting Irish and punches its ticket back to Cereal City aka Battle Creek aka the final four aka the Division 3 state semifinals for the second straight year. Make no doubt about it, THIS IS THE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Quote of the postseason;
"Everyone on this team is focused on winning a state title, anything less is unacceptable," – Ventures senior Brad Schalk following the team's 12-0 drubbing of Harper Woods in a regional championship game on Saturday.
Foley 5, Gabriel Richard 4 (10 innings)
D1: Novi Detroit Catholic Central v. Portage Central – SUPERSONIC UPSET SPECIAL, SUPERSONIC UPSET SPECIAL…… CC has been a Cinderella squad all season long and the clock isn't quite ready to hit midnight just yet. Starting pitcher Nate Beck is a BULLDOG!! The Shamrocks pull the upset over No. 1 in the state PC and dance on to Battle Creek behind another gem by the Beckmeister!
CC 3, PC 2
D4: Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest v. Merrill – You can't stop the Crusaders tandem of Eric Mischley & Luke McCatty,, you can only hope to contain them….and Merrill will fail to do both
LNW 5, Merrill 3
D1: Troy v. New Baltimore Anchor Bay – Okay, so I know the Colts are underdogs this year, but this game will come down to some very simple math…..Troy has skipper Tom Calnan and Anchor Bay doesn't!
Troy 4, Anchor Bay 2
 D4: Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes v. Unionville Sebewaing – The Lakers have so many weapons this season on the diamond it's RIDICULOUS….I'm talking a MURDERER'S ROW including the likes of ROBAK, TROY, COTTRELL, MASTROMATTEO, GARRIS, NORDMAN and others. Burney smells another state championship in the cards for the WOLL girls sports program this year!!!
WOLL 6, US 2

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Five For Fighting - Regional Roundup

OC Top 5 – Saturday's Regional Performances on the Diamond
1                    Corrie Mittleburn (Troy softball) – This FAB FROSH not only got the win from the circle in relief for Coach Cal's upstart Colts, but also slapped the game-winning RBI in the squad's come from behind 4-3 upset victory over Romeo in a D1 regional final
2                    Novi Detroit Catholic Central (baseball) – The dream continues for first-year skipper Bill Lis and the Shamrocks, as CC kept its miracle season alive, besting conference rival Birmingham Brother Rice in a D1 regional championship game played at Novi…MEGA SHOUTS OUT to Joe Pantil for collecting the go-ahead 2-RBI single for CC in the 7-4 'w'
3                    Eric Mischley (RH Lutheran NW baseball) – Mischley got the win on the mound for the Crusaders in their 8-2 defeat of Pewamo-Westphalia in a D4 regional title contest, backing up a game where he went 2-for-3 with four RBI in NW's 11-2 thrashing of Webberville in the semis
4                    Danny Zuchowski (MH Bishop Foley baseball) – Burney's boy "Zoom Zoom" picked up the victory from the rubber in the Ventures 10-0 clubbing of AP Cabrini in a D3 regional semifinal before going 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI from the plate in Foley's 12-0 win over Harper Woods in the final
5                    Michelle Cottrell/Lauren Robak (WOLL softball) – This Lakers tandem killed the comp on Saturday, as Cottrell spun two complete-game victories from the circle and Robak had a total of five hits on the afternoon sparking WOLL to a D4 regional crown in blowout fashion; The Lakers outscored their two opponents by a combined score of 30-4

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Rarified Air

The Madison Heights Lamphere girls soccer squad is in the midst of making history, going on its longest playoff run ever. At the head of the pack for the Rams' assault is senior Katlyn Krisiak, a scoring machine with few equals on the prep level.
On Tuesday she scored a hat trick in her team's 4-0 defeat of St. Clair Shores Lakeview in the regional semifinals. And she did it in quite dramatic fashion – all three of Krisiak's goals came within 9:06 in the late second half, breaking open nil-nil tie.
She now has a total of 28 goals on the season and 96 for her career. If and when she reaches the 100 mark, she'll place herself in some pretty elite company, only the fifth girls player in Oakland County history to ever reach the century plateau.
The others: Kristi Arrington (148 – 4th all-time Novi, 1997-2000), Cindy Waas (137 Troy Athens 1984-1987 – scored a county-record 52 goals during her junior campaign in 1986), Stephanie Crawford (130 Novi 2001-2004), Becky Neal (121 AH Oakland Christian 1996-1999), Julie Lutfy (100 AH Oakland Christian 1991-1994 – was also the starting shooting guard on the Lancers' 1992 state championship girls hoops squad)
Krisiak and the Rams are 15-5-1 heading into their regional championship match-up with Linden on Friday night at Bloomfield Hills Andover.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Blue Chip Bonanza

The recruiting stock of local prep basketball stars Jodan Price and Kellen McCormick is on the rise.
Price, Birmingham Detroit Country Day's lanky 6-foot-7 senior-to-be, has gotten four Division 1 scholarship offers in the last week. First, Eastern Michigan threw its hat into the ring, followed quickly by Lamar and Central Michigan on the same day a few days later. On Tuesday, St. Joseph's from down in Philly stepped up to the plate and put an offer on the table. There will be more to come for certain.
McCormick, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep's 6-foot-8 inside-outside double-threat, has been offered D1 scholarships recently from Oakland University, Toledo, Miami (OH) and Western Michigan. Like with Price, the floodgates on the Fighting Irish standout's recruiting rush are just busting open.
Last season, Price was an integral piece on Country Day's nationally-ranked hoops squad that advanced into the Class B final four after transferring from a high school in Indianapolis where he played his first two years of varsity ball. He averaged 12.5 points, 7 rebounds and two blocks per game, shooting 80 percent from the free throw line and close to 45 percent from beyond the 3-point line. This guy is a like a local prep version of Tayshaun Prince….long, lethal and athletic!!!
Next winter will be McCormick's fourth year starting on the Fighting Irish's varsity team, in which time he has established himself as one of the most accurate shooters in the county. He can go 'Rip Hamilton' and stroke it from 15 with silky-smoothness or he can bomb away from downtown with ruthless efficiency alas The Germanator himself, Dirk Nowitzki, a player whose game I think is comparable to McCormick's on the local prep level. This past March, McCormick led NDP into the Sweet 16 before falling to Price's Yellowjackets.
In three years, he has already collected three district championships and next season he and the Fighting Irish hope to add their first Catholic League title in over a dozen years to their trophy case. Over the last two seasons, he has averaged a double-double (19 points, 11 rebounds in 2011).
Kellen's dad is Tim McCormick, one of Oakland County's all-time prep greats, taking the Clarkston Wolfpack to the Class A Final Four as a senior back in 1980 before going on to have an All-Big 10 career at Michigan and pro stints with a variety of teams including the New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Houston Rockets and Atlanta Hawks in a decade on the NBA hardwood.
The basketball gene is in Price's family as well. Austin Price, Jodan's little brother, will be a junior in 2012 and the Yellowjackets' starting point guard after coming off the bench last season

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Teaming Up

Oakland County natives and pro soccer players Josh Gatt and Sean Cunningham are quite a long way from home right now. But at least they have each other.
Gatt, 19 and Cunningham, 18, were both prep stars in Metro Detroit and today live together as roommates and compete together as teammates in Europe (Molde FK), playing in a top-tier professional league in Norway.
This summer they will both be part of the U.S. U-20 National Team, an elite roster of less than two dozen of the best young soccer talent in the country.
The pair of KICK KINGS are a rare breed; youngsters good enough to make the jump directly from high school to the pro ranks. If you saw these two play as prepsters, it should come as no surprise.
Graduating from Novi Detroit Catholic Central in 2010, Gatt was one of the state's premiere offensive playmaking threats for three years running, an exciting mix of speed, skill and flair. He could easily be the best overall soccer talent I've seen in the area in the past decade.
A star defender for Troy High School, with instinct, size and iron clad resolve, Cunningham will be getting his diploma this Saturday (via his mother who will be accepting it in his honor). He's been arguably the state's best defensive player over the past two seasons, after missing his sophomore year with a broken leg. Not wanting to waste a second getting his pro career off the ground, Cunningham left for Europe right after the conclusion of the Colts' season last fall.
Watching him play was a personal thrill – and saying that about a defender says a lot. But to my point, he is one of the few prep players I ever saw totally dominate games from the backend of the field. He dictated game tempo from the sweeper or stopper post and that's hard to do.
Prior to making their decisions to "go pro" right after high school, Gatt and Cunningham were both inked with Big 10 colleges – Gatt with Indiana and Cunningham with Michigan. Burney feels sorry for the Hoosiers and Wolverines for missing out on such outstanding talent.
For both of these guys, athletic prowess runs in the family.
Gatt's dad and uncle were football stars at CC that both went on to win a NAIA National Championship at Hillsdale back in the mid-1980s. His brother was an all-state wrestler for the Shamrocks.
Sean's sister was an all-state soccer player at Troy, who played in college at Grand Valley State and Oakland University.
Don't be surprised if in a few years you see either Josh or Sean, or possibly BOTH, kicking it on the pitch with the U.S. National Team in the World Cup. Now, that would be cool. Watch out Donovan, Dempsey, Adou and co., my boyz Gatt and Cunningham are coming for your jobs!!!