Burney's Bytes will focus primarily on the local preps sports scene, but will also touch on some college and pro athletics, mostly in regards to athletes who hail and have played high school sports in Oakland County. My goal for the blog is to be conversational and anecdotal, a more relaxed and free formal take on high school athletics than you see in regular game day coverage.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Its never too early to start looking ahead to the upcoming prep pigskin season, so here's a list breaking down some of the best incoming seniors
Burney's Top 12 Prep Football Players in the Class of 2013
1 Jonny Reschke (Birmingham Brother Rice) – Hard-hitting and instinctive with a great motor, superior leadership qualities and high on-field IQ
2 Wyatt Shallman (Novi Detroit CC) – Raw power in the backfield and on the defensive line for the Shamrocks….following outstanding sophomore season, he fought injuries for most of 2011, poised for HUGE 2012 campaign
3 Jake Slobin (FH Harrison) – Agile and aggressive line prospect that will be the Hawks emotional leader in the huddle and in the locker room in 2012
4 Grant Niemiec (OL St. Mary's) – An OC prep version of Tim Tebow as a breakaway threat at running back….all this kid knows how to do is go 150 % and win at all costs!!!
5 Poet Thomas (Birmingham DCD) – Super recruit on the line at 6-6, 280 and a super kid that sports a 4.0 GPA and an excellent score on his college boards
6 Griffin Anderson (Birmingham Brother Rice) – Takes over for his older brother Dylan (Central Michigan) as the captain of the Warriors O-Line……a typical Orange and Black IN-YOUR-FACE talent with the right attitude and pedigree for success at the next level
7 Garius Coleman (FH Harrison) – Think Darren Sproiles at the next level….that's the kind of skills this gridiron jitterbug possess!!!!
8 Greg Webber (Troy) – Just a beast on the offensive line who has been starting since his freshman year….no wonder they call him "Moose"
9 Jesse Chadwell (Clarkston) – This consummate competitor will anchor things in the trenches for the Wolfpack next fall
10 Collin Buchannon (Southfield) – Has tremendous upside at the D1 level….comes with size, speed and a solid background
11 Austin Johnson (OL St. Mary's) – Plain and simple everything a mid-major D1 team should want in a line prospect
12 Luke Cherocchi (Birmingham Brother Rice) – Another in a long line of Cherocchi family greats at the linebacker position that will team with Jonny Reschke to captain the Warriors' D in Rice's quest for a repeat state title
North Farmington's Jerron Rogers, one of the top freshman boys basketball players in the state, will enter the Raiders starting lineup this week.
The 6-foot-6, soft-stroking Rogers, who people call "Buda", opened the year as a reserve on North Farmington's varsity squad, however, for seasoning purposes he has been playing on the Raiders JV the past month.
Well, maybe playing is not the right word – DOMINATING is more like it.
After kicking off his prep varsity career in style with a 22-point, 6-rebound performance against Southfield-Lathrup back in December, Rogers went down to the JV as a means of getting more action on the court and has been averaging 20 points and 15 boards an outing.
ESPN ranks Rogers as one of the nation's most intriguing college prospects in the Class of 2015. He is the son of former NBA vet Carlos Rogers and could easily add at least another 3 inches and 25 pounds to his frame over the next few years.
First-year NF head coach Todd Negoshian has determined that the Big Buda is once again ready for the primetime stage and will waste little time in utilizing his skill in the lineup. With Rogers becoming a starter, he will team with his first cousin and Raiders forward Dorrell Foster (24 pts, 12 reb per contest) and senior center Greg Joyce (5 pts, 5 reb) to give Little Nogo a quite intimidating frontcourt.
Entering its league game with Southfield on Tuesday, North Farmington is 8-5 overall, 3-2 in the ever ultra-competitive OAA Red Division.
The Rochester Adams boys basketball team needed a spark on Thursday night in its game against Oak Park.
Down by double-digits in the second half, the Highlanders found that spark by seeing their head coach, John Hall, get tossed from the heated contest late in the third quarter when he received his second technical foul of night.
Playing inspired ball for their dear departed coach, the Highlanders rallied for a 60-58 win on their own home floor, moving their overall record to 7-4 and a perfect 3-0 in action from the Oakland Activities Association White Division.
Following the free throws spawning from Hall's second tech, Oak Park held a 13-point lead.
Then, as if sticking to the exact script the always-motivating Hall had penned himself, Adams started to chip away at its deficit
The comeback was ignited by a 3-pointer by junior Zack Littleson. A steal and lay-up by star sophomore guard Akhemji Williams with just under three minutes remaining gave the Highlanders their first lead of the game at 51-49.
It would be an advantage the Adams hoop squad wouldn't look back from. Press Kampe, the Highlanders' other standout sophomore in the backcourt, drilled four straight free throws in the final seconds to close out the victory.
Williams put in team-high 19 points for Adams, while Littleson scored 17 points and Kampe notched 8. All three were key members of last year's Highlanders team that captured a district title and made a memorable run into the Class A Sweet 16 by upsetting Pontiac in the regionals.
Kampe is the youngest son of Oakland University Golden Grizzlies men's hoop coach Greg Kampe. His older brother, Branch, was an all-state quarterback at Royal Oak Shrine and is currently playing in college at LSU.
Oak Park got a game-high 25 points from junior Bryan Williams. The Knights are now 4-1, 1-2 in league play.
West Bloomfield football star C.J. Brathwaite de-committed to Washington State this week and has decided to instead play in the MAC next year at Kent State. The lightning-fast Brathwaite was one of the more undervalued running back commodities in the state's Class of 2012 recruiting crop.
Southfield-Lathrup's boys hoop squad is really going to benefit from the recent addition of all-state football stud JAMAL LYLES to its lineup. Lyles (signed with Michigan State) will give the Chargers some much-needed muscle and size in the post in the race for the OAA Red crown and the program's first district in three years.
I know the guy has won a couple of league titles, but Birmingham Seaholm head boys basketball coach JoseAndrades is doing the best job of his career on the sidelines with his current Maples squad (7-5) that has come out of nowhere and is impressing more and more each time it hits the floor.......Junior swingman Paris Bass is a burgeoning killer on the court
Southfield Bradford cager extraordinaire Erik Murphy (6-4, long, athletic and passionate about the game) is going to be a STAR at the next level, so it would be nice to see some more schools get in on the mix to nab this under-the-radar talent.
Although he recently committed to Grand Valley State, Orchard Lake St. Mary's football star David Talley (LB) received a D1 offer this week from Akron. NOTE TO OTHER MAC SCHOOLS – get in on the action before its too late, this kid is for REAL!!!
Novi Detroit Catholic Central football standout Jake Widmer (OL) has committed to Saginaw Valley State.
Pontiac NDP football star "Good Looking Jake" Romeo (RB/DB) has committed to the University of Chicago (don't be surprised if OLSM's Joe Eroyan winds up landing in Chitown with Romeo at UC)
Orchard Lake St. Mary's football star Spencer McInnis committed to play in college at Miami (OH) earlier this week.
McInnis was a three-year starter in the Eaglets backfield, helping take them to three consecutive trips to the state finals at Ford Field and a state championship back in November.
The 5-foot-10, 190 pound McInnis has deceptive speed, having been timed as fast as 4.5 in the 40-yard dash. Last season, he rushed for 1,544 yards and 25 tds, in addition to a monster performance in the state title tilt, where he ran for 215 yards and three scores.
Parker McInnis, Spencer's little brother, will return to rep the family name in the St. Mary's backfield rotation next fall. Flanking his brother admirably, Parker ran for 95 yards and a dazzling 60-yard touchdown scamper in the second half of the state finals.
The McInnis brothers' father played college football at Eastern Michigan.
There's been a flurry of activity on the local prep football recruiting scene as of late;
Here's an update;
Farmington RB Bryan Green committed to Akron of the Mid-American Conference
Fun fact – In Green's only year starting on the offensive side of the ball, he ran for almost 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns, with a sparkling average of 8 yards per carry
Birmingham Brother Rice RB Devin Church de-committed from Northern Illinois and accepted a scholarship offer from Illinois of the Big 10.
Fun fact – Church ended his career in the Orange and Black as the all-time single-season rushing leader in the long and illustrious history of Warriors football…..really tells you all you need about this kid!!!!
Auburn Hills QB Mitch Robinson committed to Northwood
Fun fact – Robinson's junior campaign under center was the most prolific in STATE HISTORY!!!!!!
Clarkston OL Lucas Sanders and Farmington DL Marvin Jefferson both committed to Wayne State
Fun fact – Under-the-radar steals for WSU
The Brother Rice dynamic cornerback tandem of Eddie Kidd and James Hendrix both committed to Northern Michigan
Fun fact – Will be joining former Rice teammate and fellow secondary stud Loran Jaddou in the Wildcats' defensive backfield next fall
Grand Valley State wrangled itself 5 recent commitments from OC grid studs:
Lake Orion QB Sean Charette, OL St. Mary's LB David Talley, Pontiac NDP WR Troy Sassack, BH Lahser DB Nate Cole and Brother Rice TE Joey Warner.
1 Clarkston – Loss to Detroit Community was an aberation
2 Birmingham DCD – Super soph Maury Diane is finally healthy and about to start torching the comp!!!
3 Southfield-Lathrup – Chargers starting shooting guard Jordan Denham is one of the best "No. 2" guys in the area!!!!
4 Novi Detroit CC – Jack Dillon is in the running for OC MIP!!!
5 (tie) Ferndale – The Eagles shot into the rankings this week with a bullet…..another outstanding job on the bench by Tom Staton this year!!!
5 (tie) North Farmington – The Raiders shot back into the rankings this week with a bullet, too!!!
6 MH Bishop Foley – FAB FROSH Gary Perry is a VERY SCARY prospect in the post!!!
7 (tie) Rochester – TEAM PLEASANT is playing some really good ball right now!!!
7 (tie) Pontiac – The Yacktown cage crew needs a tad more consistency this season if they want to keep that district title streak alive and well come March
8 Southfield Bradford – Best team in the state that nobody knows about!!!
9 MH Madison – You literally can't stop or contain Eagles stud senior and point monger Damon Bozeman!!!!!
10 (tie) Milford – M-Town simply out-grinds and out-grits its opponents….its football disguised as basketball….gridiron coach Pat Fox is beaming with pride with the job TEAM LUTZ does repping the MAVS on the hardwood
10 (tie) Walled Lake Central – Vikings head coach Denny Butcher continues to amaze his boy Burney with his prowess on the sidelines year-in and year-out!!!!
10 (tie) Southfield Christian – I love me some Eagles head coach Josh Baker, but I'm not sure I agree with his decision to try to run and gun with perennial prep hoops SUPERPOWER DCD back on Saturday……..no matter SCS will get back on track this week!!
This year's Prep Football Kickoff Classic, the annual multi-game event to open the high school season, is being moved from Eastern Michigan to Wayne State.
There are six high-profile matchups on the slate for Friday August 24 and Saturday August 25, three of which include some of the best teams in Oakland County.
All three of the OC throwdowns take place on Saturday:
At 11:00 am to open the second day of action, Oak Park will take on Detroit Crockett, followed by Southfield going up against Detroit King at 4:30 and defending D2 state champ Birmingham Brother Rice finishing things up in the nightcap against defending D1 crown-holder Detroit Cass Tech at 7:30.
Here are some players Burney will be most excited to see hit the gridiron come kickoff time in late August:
Bryan Williams (Oak Park) – Sly and sticky-handed wideout poised for big year for the Knights
Tre Walton (Southfield) – The all-league receiver will move under center and quarterback the Bluejays in 2012…..Can you say WICKED DUAL THREAT in the pocket?
Jeff Madison & Willie Duncan (Southfield) – This speedy and ferocious pair will spearhead both the linebacking unit and offensive backfield for the Eagles
Brandon Bean (Southfield) – TEAM CONLEY's crafty split end is the hardest working man in the OC……'NUFF SAID!!!!!
Jonny Reschke & Luke Cherocci (Brother Rice) – best linebacker tandem in the area!!!!
De Shun Brown & Brian Walker (Brother Rice) – SUPER SLICK running back duo that will step into departing superstar Devin Church's shoes and make sure the Warriors don't miss a single beat in their march to the REPEAT!!
Thoughts from Friday's night on the boys prep hardwood;
WL Central's Chuck Taylor (game-winning 3 in the Vikings defeat of Waterford Mott) is just like the Converse shoe, Chuck Taylor – A TRUE HARDWOOD CLASSIC!!!!!
Going on the road and knocking off Troy, Ferndale might be the hottest team in the area right now – The Eagles are currently riding a 6-game winning streak. Against Troy, senior transfer Jacob Dotson (22 points, 15 rebounds) had his second straight double-double since becoming eligible.
Love the job Billy Shellenbarger is doing over at Clawson these past couple of years – Clawville bested MH Lamphere 57-50 on the road on Friday. This guy was a genuine sparkplug as a player and is doing the same on the sideline, jumpstarting the Trojans hoop program back to the prominence it held two decades ago in the Jon Jansen era.
My boys out in H-Town aka TEAM HORSE aka TEAM BAYLIS aka the rough, rugged and raw Holly Bronchos, showed off their depth on Friday in their 52-37 lambasting of Linden by registering 10 players in the score sheet.
UPSET ALERT; congrats to TEAM SHECKELL aka the Birmingham Groves Falcons for taking down Oxford
TEAM LUTZ aka Milford keeps getting it done in the trenches, gutting out another win on Friday – 42-40 over Pinckney –, to remain undefeated at 10-0. Halfway through the campaign, it's a no-brainer for Chip Lutz to be the frontrunner for Coach of the Year in the KLAA.
When its all said and done on his career at RH Adams, Akhemji Williams might be the best Highlanders hoopster of all-time!!!!! Yeah, I said it & U can TAKE IT 2 THE BANK!!!
RH Lutheran NW, upset-winners over AH Oakland Christian on Friday, has one of the most underappreciated two-sport stars in the state in Nate Drews, a beast behind center as a quarterback on the gridiron and a true menace of an inside-outside threat on the hardwood. Drews scored 15 points and collected 10 rebounds against Oakland Christian.
North Farmington's Dorrell Foster (31 pts, 16 reb in win over Pontiac) is a human, walking, talking DOUBLE-DOUBLE!!!!
You can't stop Pontiac NDP's Vinnie Famularo (career-high 17 pts in the Fighting Irish upset of MH Bishop Foley on the road), you can only hope to contain him?
Oakland County has two players in Jon-Jon Williams (Southfield-Lathrup) and Damon Bozeman (MH Madison) averaging 30-plus a night. I can't remember the last time the OC had two hoop hounds averaging that much apiece this far into the season. Jon-Jon (averaging 31) busted up West Bloomfield for 30 points, 8 boards and 5 dimes in Chargers win on Friday, while Bozeman (averaging 33) torched SH Stevenson for 35 points and the game-winning trey at the buzzer on Thursday.
A handful of local boys basketball teams are poised to benefit from the recent addition of second-semester transfers.
The two most celebrated of the crop are both European big men in Walled Lake Western's Miroslav Jaksic and Birmingham DCD's Robert Pulekis.
Jaksic, a slender 6-foot-11 inside-out threat that comes to the U.S. from Canada via Serbia, is one of the state's top recruits in the Class of 2013. He was impressive in his debut back on Tuesday in a loss to Waterford Mott, connecting on 7-of-9 from the field for 14 points to go along with eight rebounds and three blocks. Western, a squad that has been struggling to generate offense as of late and is a mired in a mid-season funk, will be looking to Jaksic to jumpstart the Warriors' stretch run.
Sturdily-built and standing 6-foot-10, Pulekis, from Lithuania, is a more traditional post player. His debut won't come until Saturday when the Yellowjackets taken on Southfield Christian. Once on the court patrolling the paint, Pulekis will team with fellow DCD interior brutes like Poet Thomas and Chazz Miller, to give the 'Jackets a considerably more formidable frontcourt in their quest for a third straight trip to the final four.
When Class B superpower Country Day faces up-and-coming Class D goliath Southfield Christian on Saturday night, the underdog Eagles will have some added depth in their already-stacked backcourt with the recently-eligible tandem of Kameron Garner and Ben Cookingham. In Southfield Christian's 79-72 downing of RH Lutheran NW on Tuesday, Garner, a sparkplug combo guard, looked solid in reserve duty, scoring five points and swiping away two steals. Cookingham was steady off the bench as well and will be another zone buster for the hot-shooting Eagles.
Ferndale is another team that will be getting an infusion of talented transfers. Senior Jacob Dotson and sophomore Jermaine King will solidify an intimidating Ferndale frontline. Dotson, who prepped on the JV level at Southfield before moving to Tennessee last year with his parents and excelling on the varsity level. Back in Michigan and wearing the Brown and Gold, Dotson, a wide and athletic 6-6, excelled in his debut on Tuesday, putting in a double-double 13 points and 10 boards in an Eagles victory over Oak Park. King, a spry and agile 6-7 jumping-jack, shot-blocking machine, is battling some minor injuries and will be in Ferndale's lineup soon.
KNIGHTS BOYS HOOP SQUAD SQUEAKS PAST LINCOLN ON SHOULDERS OF SUPER SOPHS
The Bloomfield Hills Lahser young baller brigade made another loud statement Wednesday night with its play.
That statement was; We're FOR REAL, we're here to stay for a while, so GET USED TO IT!!!!
Behind clutch outings from the sizzling sophomore trio Armand Cartwright, Yante Maten and Khalil Gracey, the host Knights weathered the fatigue of playing on consecutive evenings to rally for a pulse-pounding 54-50 victory over a speedy and spunky Ypsilanti Lincoln team.
Battling rubber legs as a result of a hard-fought defeat of crosstown rival Bloomfield Hills Andover on Tuesday, Lahser trailed 24-22 at the break and fell behind by as many as six points late in the fourth quarter.
That's when, per standard operating procedure for the season, Knights head coach Duane Graves, turned to his youth contingent to close things out.
With the score 50-46 in Lincoln's favor with a minute left, Cartwright, Graves' fearsome floor general, converted a rare four-point play, taking contact while in the process of drilling a long 3-ball from the left wing and then sinking the ensuing free throws to knot it all up at 50-50.
Following a stop on the other end, Maten, Lahser's explosive 6-foot-7 big fella, got fouled and knocked down a pair of free throws with 34 seconds remaining that proved the game-winners. Gracey, a smooth and agile small forward hit two free throws in the final moments of the contest to close out the win for the Knights, who moved their overall record to 8-3, 1-0 in league play.
Thanks to the leadership and structure that has been implemented by Graves, in his second year at the helm, Wednesday's victory gives Lahser more wins this campaign than they had all of last season, when the Knights finished 7-14.
Cartwright led Lahser in the scoring column by registering 15 points to add to his six assists and three steals. On the heels of a colossal effort on Tuesday against Andover where he put up 17 points, 18 boards and 8 blocks, Maten scored nine points, snared 12 rebounds and swatted away four Lincoln shots.
While Cartwright and Maten started on varsity last year as freshmen, Gracey (5 points, 6 rebounds) played JV and is in his first year in the starting lineup this season.
Competing in the brand new OAA Gold, Lahser's performance in the first half of the year has established the Knights as one of the frontrunners in the race for the league crown along with Oxford and Royal Oak.
Lahser hits the court next on Friday night against Royal Oak. Back on Tuesday, the Ravens lost 73-68 to Oxford at home. Royal Oak is 5-4, 1-0 in league action, Oxford is 6-3 overall, 1-0 in the OAA Gold.
The Knights are seeking their first league title in five years. The last time Lahser captured a district crown was in 2000.
The Northwestern Wildcats men's basketball team is 13-5 overall and in the midst of making a serious run at the program's first ever berth in the Big Dance aka the NCAA Tournament.
One of the biggest reasons for the Wildcats success this year has been because of the play of former Oakland County prep star Dave Curletti out of Orchard Lake St. Mary's, Northwestern's sixth-man.
Curletti, a rangy and active 6-foot-8 forward, put up a 17-point, 7-board outing in the Wildcats upset of Michigan State over the weekend, which included a Sportscenter-esque JAM over a Spartans' defender in the second half.
When he was hooping in the OC for the Eaglets, Curletti was a prototypical SIR-GRIND-A-LOT, averaging 15 points and 10 boards a game as a senior in 2008, helping take OLSM to district, regional and league crowns and a spot in the Class Elite 8. In his time in the red and white, he played on three straight CHSL-title winning squads.
1 Clarkston – Might be the best team in the whole state!!!!
2 Birmingham DCD – A little less lethal than in recent years, but still pretty darn good!!!
3 Southfield-Lathrup – Chargers senior point guard Ben Benford could be the OAA Red Comeback Player of the Year when its all said and done on the 2012 campaign.....He's a BAD MAN!
4 MH Bishop Foley – Ventures might be catching a break with the self-inflicted meltdown of Class C state-champion favorite Detroit Consortium, which could face severe sanctions spawning from a bench-clearing brawl on Saturday up in Saginaw
5 Pontiac – I'm a big fan of the Phoenix's underrated frontcourt of Isaac Phlegm, Derek Kirk-Turner, Roosevelt Wheeler and Blakestan Samuels
6 (tie) Novi Detroit CC – The Shamrocks getting their basketball legs back…..WATCH OUT CHSL!
6 (tie) OL St. Mary's – Played tough against CHSL Superpower De La Salle, good sign!
7 (tie) Troy Athens – Caleb McIntosh is such a tough match up at the point for other teams!!!
7 (tie) Rochester – Brought the PAIN vs. crosstown rival Adams, preview of state tourney time?
8 Troy – Starting to play up to potential
9 (tie) Southfield Christian – Man, does the city of Southfield have some KILLER HOOP SQUADS this season or what?
Scott M. Burnstein grew up in Bloomfield Hills and attended school at Birmingham Roeper, where he earned multiple varsity letters in both basketball and baseball, and has been following the local preps scene since the 1980's. Mr. Burnstein attended Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, where he received a bachelors of arts degree in political science, and the John Marshall Law School, in Chicago, Illinois, where he got his Juris Doctrate. He has covered high school sports for both the Detroit Free Press and the Oakland Press, and is the author of the 2006 regional best-selling book, The Motor City Mafia - A Century of Organized Crime in Detroit. His next book, Family Affair - Greed, Treachery, and Betrayal in The Chicago Mafia, is slated to be released by The Penguin Book Company, in the summer of 2009.