Monday, December 31, 2012
Burney's Boys BBall Rankings - Steady Hooping
1 Birmingham DCD – The 'Jackets frontcourt (Christian Wright, Maurice Ways, Poet Thomas) is the definition of terrorizing tenacity…..wow, do these guys play larger than their size or what? 2 (tie) Rochester – The player I'm most impressed with on the Falcons (besides all-american James Young) has been senior guard Jamar Randolph…..quick, smart and good in the Team Pleasant backcourt 2 (tie) RH Adams – TEAM HALL'S Highlanders riding high into the New Year, keep it up, fellas!!! 3 Southfield – Most balanced team in the area….YEAH, I SAID IT!!! 4 WL Western – Certified; LEGIT!!!!!! 5 (tie) BH Lahser – Another big year in store for the Lahser Knights!!! 5 (tie) Pontiac – Just as lethal as usual, just not getting the statewide love they usually do….you can't stop Phoenix guard Dijon Cogdell, you can only hope to contain him….and that's pretty hard, too 6 North Farmington – Could easily walk away with the OAA Red championship by year's end 7 Troy – Chris Dorsey is the BOMB!!! 8 Birmingham Seaholm – Maples head coach Jose Andrades does one of the best jobs around on the bench and I don't think he gets enough credit…..so I'm going to give it to him…MAD PROPS to my main clipboard king, JA!!
9 Waterford Mott – Welcome back to the Top 10, boys!!!!!
10. OL St. Mary's - Not worried about my Eaglets' cagers this year, they'll be ready to slug it out when CHSL plays opens this week
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Fruits of Their Labor
Of all the local prep boys hoops teams around the area, one of the squads I'm most impressed with this year is Walled Lake Central. First-year head coach Chuck Spolsky has the Vikings playing very good, fundamentally-firm basketball and at 4-2 moving into the heart of the season, Central appears to be a major factor in the race for the KLAA North title. What's surprising about this is that Spolsky took the reins with a Central club that was ravished by graduation losses off last year's Class A district championship team. Spolsky and his upset-minded Vikes cage crew have been undaunted by this fact and are thriving in the shadows, relishing their roles as darkhorses on the current Oakland County high school hoop landscape. With the way they've been competing, the Vikings won't be underdogs for long. It all starts with Central's ferocious tandem of playmakers on the perimeter; I'm talking about cat-quick senior floor general, T.J. Warren and talented junior wing Phil Nelson. These two have been destroying the comp so far this season. Warren, who came on strong late last season as a junior, is putting up close to 20 points and five assists per night. Nelson, a fast-emerging slasher and master Sir-Grind-A-Lot special on the wing – just like his big brother was a couple years back at WLC – looks to be in store for a breakout campaign in 2013 and is averaging 15 points and almost five rebounds and five dimes an outing.
Another name to watch for in the Vikings lineup this winter is Brandon Nafso, a rock-solid presence in the backcourt alongside Warren. Nafso, a senior and returning varsity letter-winner just like Warren and Nelson, is the kind of player always sure to make smart plays on offense and give you a pesky effort on defense, while providing leadership in the locker room and the right attitude in the huddle.
Friday, December 28, 2012
Grade-A Auxiliary Arsenal
With all the hype surrounding James Young's transfer to Rochester these last few months, the Falcons' stellar supporting cast sometimes gets lost in the All-American hoopster's very large shadow. Here's a breakdown of Young's co-stars on the hardwood, a big reason why the Falcons are off and running to a speedy 4-1 start; Arben Camaj – One of the best big fellas in the area…long, lean, lanky and active around the rim with a soft touch and outstanding shot-blocking ability
Jason Lee – Rock solid and spunky floor general that has been brilliant keeping tempo for TEAM PLEASANTVILLE so far, allowing for Young to go off-ball and play-make from the wing
*Standout on the soccer field in the fall
Mike Murri – The most improved Falcon baller this year, spry, agile, hot-shooting small forward with a tenacious attitude
Manny Mendoza – Strong-minded and bodied forward that can knock down the open 'J', bang on the block and fills the role as the team's ace defensive player
*will play football in college
Dametrius Magee – Athletic, hard-nosed guard that will "breakout" before the end of the season
* also a football star
Jamar Randolph & Teron Dumars – A pair of gritty slashers that play good defense and can each play multiple positions
Johnny Corsetti – Dogged, tooth-and-nail type at the forward spot that loves to do all the down-and-dirty things that don't necessarily show up in the scorebook
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Hardwood Memories - Reflections of a Decade
Let's take a look back at who were the OC's Top 20 prep boys hoopsters 10 years ago this month, according to The Oakland Press' 2002-2003 preview. 1 Ije Nwankwo (Birmingham DCD) – In-your-face forward that was pure power in the paint……..was signed with Purdue 2 Vova Severovas (Birmingham Groves) – Dominant inside presence in the OAA, averaging monster double-doubles over both his junior and senior seasons…was signed with Wright State 3 Bates Gay (Pontiac Northern) – This jumping jack Huskies wing was a starter on Northern's back-to-back Class A state title squads in 2001 and 2002 4 Adrian Schaffer (RH Adams) – A big, aggressive and fundamentally-sound guard that signed with the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, but ended his career at the next level as a star locally at Rochester College 5 John Andrews (OL St. Mary's) – Went inside-out with the best of his day in the frontcourt for the state-power Eaglets 6 David Holston (AH Avondale) – High-scoring sparkplug point guard that went on to have a prodigious college career at Chicago State 7 Antonio Bonds (Pontiac Northern) – The ultimate pace-setter of a point guard for the high-flying Huskies hoop squads of the early 2000s 8 DaJuan Warren (Southfield) – Great finisher on the break that was also a star quarterback for the Bluejays in the fall….went on to play football in college at Illinois. 9 Rashaan Redmond (Pontiac Central) – Physical post player with that trademark 'Yaktown tenacity that made a 6-5 big fella play 6-9. 10 Robert Jolley (OL St. Mary's) – Long, lanky and athletic center for Team PORRITT 11 Brandon Cassise (WL Central-OL St. Mary's) – Playmaking combo-guard that was equally lethal scoring or creating….went on to have a solid D1 college career at Oakland University 12 Brad Brinkman (Birmingham Brother Rice) – Prototype CHSL forward….as RUN DMC once said…TOUGHER THAN LEATHER 13 Jeff Jayson (Waterford Mott) – Bulldog backcourt gem that would go on to become an all-American in college at Aquinas….has recently resurfaced in the county's coaching ranks as a fast-rising superstar tactician in-the-making, taking his alma mater to league and district titles in his first season on the bench last winter 14 Giordan Watson (Birmingham Groves) – Heady point guard that played in college at CMU 15 John Cantrell (Pontiac Northern) – Crafty and efficient shooting guard 16 Jason Trotter (BH Andover) – Big-time stat man in both, the points, blocks and rebounding department for the Barons 17 Matt Emmenecker (Novi) – Super steady floor general and ace defensive stopper 18 Javon White (Pontiac Central) – Sly and swift lefty guard that came to 'Yaktown from the PSL 19 Tony Watkins (OL St. Mary's) – Velvety-smooth forward with a lengthy wingspan and pogo stick-like jumping ability 20 Jason Missoglia (Troy Athens) – Versatile swingman on the hardwood that was also an all-state talent on the soccer field for the star-studded Tim Storch-led RedHawks kicking contingent
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Touch and Go
A couple of recently-graduated OC prep hoop studs are killing it at the D2 college level. Not that it's surprising or anything. I'm talking about Corey Green (Madison Heights Bishop Foley) and Chris Dewberry (Southfield Christian). Both FAB FROSH are heating up the hardwood down South, with Green doing damage in the frontcourt at North Georgia State and Dewberry shooting the lights out in the backcourt at West Virginia Wesleyan. Leading the NATION in field goal percentage (72%), Green is averaging 9 points and 6 boards a game for a 7-2 Saints squad. Dewberry is tickling the twine to the tune of 52% from the 3-point range. Coached by Patrick Beilein – son of Michigan head coach John Beilein – the WVW Bobcats are 5-3. Earlier in the season, Dewberry drained a buzzer-beating trey to send his team to a victory. Last year as a senior at Southfield Christian, Dewberry led the Eagles to a state crown, shooting a MHSAA-best 58% from downtown. In his two seasons on the Bishop Foley varsity, Green, an explosive presence on the wing and on the block, helped take the Ventures to back-to-back Catholic League and district titles. Burney sees more championship hardware on the horizon for both of his two main HOOPING HOMEBOYS "Rip City" Dewberry and "Mean" Corey Green in the not-so-distant future!!
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Darius Danzy will be moving North next year. The Southfield High School senior football star committed to Northern Michigan over the weekend. Danzy plays in the secondary and is a lockdown cornerback. This past fall was Danzy's lone season with the Bluejays, after transferring into the district last winter from Orchard Lake St. Mary's; and he made the most of it, quickly establishing himself as one of the top defensive backs in the OAA, reeling off a slew of big-play interceptions and pass deflections during his squad's 2012 playoff campaign. His first cousin Justin played at Southfield from 2009-2011, quarterbacking the 'Jays to a pair of district championships in his time under center, and is now playing at Kalamazoo College. Southfield's Class of 2013 on the gridiron is another mighty talented one for head coach Tim Conley, boasting over a half-dozen players that will be playing at the next level. Danzy's classmates and teammates Brandon Bean (WR), Tre Walton (TE) and Jeff Madison (LB) all committed to Grand Valley State earlier this month. Collin Buchanan, the Bluejays' road-grader on the offensive line, committed to Miami (OH) late last month and middle linebacker and team co-captain Willie Duncan will be committing somewhere soon. Northern Michigan went 4-7 this year.
Monday, December 24, 2012
Burney's Boys BBall Rankings -Xmas Style
1 Birmingham DCD – 'Jackets junior combo guard Edmund Sumner has officially reached SWAGGER LEVEL THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND TRILLION!!! 2 (tie) RH Adams – Burney loves him some Zack Littleson, the consummate prep small forward!!! 2 (tie) Rochester – Still needs that 'signature win' to add to its resume 3 Southfield – And as we head into the New Year, the 'Jays find themselves suddenly in the frontrunners seat in the race for the OAA Red crown…..Mad Props is deserved!!! 4 Clarkston – Great to see my main man, Wolves all-league combo guard Jordan Dasuqi, back in the lineup….the Milkman delivered again….scoring 22 points in his first game off the IR last Friday night 5 BH Lahser – TEAM GRAVES will be engraving lots of tombstones on the high school hardwood this winter 6 WL Western – Warriors off guard John Flowers has been OFF THE HOOK lately!!! 7 Pontiac – They might be lurking in the shadows, but don't make the critical mistake of overlooking the Phoenix aka the Yaktown Purple People Eaters this winter 8 North Farmington – Caleb HOGANS=lights out from long distance 9 Birmingham Seaholm – One word; Paris!!!! 10 (tie) Troy – No doubt in my mind that Gary Fralick and his staff are doing the best coaching job in the state so far this year…..THAT'S A FACT!!!! 10 (tie) Novi Detroit CC – Mitch Katkic is every bit as good as his big bro Richie….man, spunky Shamrock backcourt studs must run in the K-Men's family!! 10 (tie) OL St. Mary's – Keep faith my Eaglets hooping homeboys!!!
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Five For Fighting - Holiday Spirit
Five For Fighting – Top performances on the prep boys basketball court from this weekend; 1 (tie) Quincy Norman (Waterford Mott) – Went all WILT CHAMBERLAIN in a win over West Bloomfield, scoring 30 points and snaring a school-record 26 rebounds….ARE U KIDDING ME? 1 (tie) Caleb Hogans (North Farmington) – Scorched the nets for 37 points, while burying 8-of-9 from beyond the arc, six straight in the third quarter, leading the Raiders to a SMACKDOWN of Farmington. 2 Jared Ocampo (Clawson) – EXPLOSIVE is the best way to describe Ocampo's outing against MH Bishop Foley. JO KO'd the Ventures by dropping 30 points – 20 over the last 12 minutes of play – sparking CLAWVILLE to an exhilarating triple-overtime triumph 3 Troy – TEAM FRALICK is the feel-good story of the season….just start calling them the dragon-slayers. Ben Horvath's triple in the closing seconds sent Troy past Clarkston for the second straight year Friday night, the Colts second major upset in the past seven days (see Southfield-Lathrup win last week). No James Young, No Problem!!!!! 4 Garrett Ross (Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes) – Fueling the Lakeshow's 63-52 defeat of Hamtramck, the G-MAN was GRRRRRRRREAT, scoring 30 points, claiming 16 rebounds and dishing six dimes….Can you say VERSATILE TALENT? 5 Marquian Johnson (Clawson) – One of Metro Detroit's best two-sports STUDS, Johnson did his best old school SIR CHARLES BARKLEY impression, going for 16 points, 12 boards, seven blocks and seven steals in the Trojans 3-OT victory over Bishop Foley, including nailing the game-tying bucket to force the first extra session and rally Clawson back from a 16-point deficit just minutes earlier
Friday, December 21, 2012
Lake Orion's Chaz Miller is a terror no matter what sport he plays. Miller, a star wide receiver on the Dragons football team and a standout forward on the school's boys hoop squad, will be playing on the gridiron in college, committing to Saginaw Valley State this week. Standing an imposing 6-foot-6, with big hands and outstanding route-running skills, he's got a legit shot to be a star at the college level with SVSU. Selected all-league for the second straight year on the football field back in the fall, Miller helped take Lake Orion to an 11-2 record and a trip to the final four. Last March on the hardwood, his play on the wing was integral for a Dragons team that made a run into the Class A Elite Eight. Celebrating his football scholarship, Miller hit the basketball court and immediately began torching the comp. Namely the Romeo Bulldogs. Scoring 23 points and collecting 10 rebounds, he led Lake Orion to a 55-52 win on Thursday night. In a game last week, he went for 27 points and 18 boards. Can you say DESTINATION DOMINATION: Status – ACHIEVED!!! Saginaw Valley State put together an 8-3 record this year. The Cardinals certainly aren't afraid to recruit the area. Head coach Jim Collins carried 15 players hailing from Oakland County on his 2012 roster.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Farmington girls basketball star Aaron Howell found the ZONE Wednesday night and stayed there. Howell went BONKERS, leading the Falcons to their first win of the season in the most commanding of fashions. The agile and athletic forward had a GINORMOUS outing, scoring a school-record 34 points to go along with 14 rebounds and seven steals in Farmington's 69-28 thrashing of Troy Athens in front of the home crowd. All Burney can say is; WOW!!!! I knew this girl was a genuine hardwood gem when I first laid eyes on her two years ago, as a dynamic SUPER SOPH on the Falcons 2011 league title team. She has a style of game that is IN-YOUR-FACE and ALL BUSINESS ALL THE TIME!!! Relentless on the boards, Howell is a gazelle in the transition game and runs the floor as well as any player in the area.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Bonus Bytes - This & That
Some news and thoughts from around the OC prep sports scene;
Pontiac Notre Dame Prep senior football star Joe Kutil committed to Hillsdale this week. Kutil, a strong-armed and tall pocket-passer (6-7), quarterbacked the Fighting Irish to a 9-2 record and into the playoffs for the second year in a row. Hillsdale is developing a taste for OC field generals; Kutil will join former Novi Detroit Catholic Central quarterback Sam Landry, who took the Shamrocks to a state championship as a prepster, on the roster when he gets to campus in the fall. The Chargers also seem to have an affinity for Fighting Irish gridiron gladiators; Former NDP'er Collin McGreevy, who will graduate in the spring, has been Hillsdale's starting placekicker the past couple of seasons. GUESS WHO'S BACK? It appears that the chipped-bone diagnosis in local boys hoop star Yante Maten's foot was a false-positive……. 'cause the Bloomfield Hill Lahser's big fella aka the "BIG IMPACT" returned to the Knights lineup after a brief absence with a bang, posting a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds in his squad's drubbing of Birmingham Groves Tuesday West Bloomfield FAB FROSH Trishton Jackson is one of the better two-way ninth-grade varsity studs the area has seen in a while, not just earning the starting nod under center as the Lakers QB on the football field, but EXPLODING onto the hardwood as TEAM DENHA's star point guard…..JACK the KNIFE scored 20 points and dished seven assists on Tuesday night in the WB's defeat of Warren Woods Tower
A lot of people thought the Birmingham DCD boys basketball team were in for a down year. Those people couldn't have been more WRONG…..The 'Jackets trounced Macomb LCN, a Class A final four team last year, on Tuesday, for their fifth blowout victory of the young season. The 2012-2013 KEENER KAGE KREW is the best team the program has seen since its 2010 state title squad
Oak Park senior football standout Malik Washington will be accompanying teammates Brian Williams and Brandon Harding on to the college gridiron. Washington, an all-league tailback this past season, committed to Ferris State this week, on the heels of Williams and Harding - both wide receivers - committing to the Bulldogs last week. The trio took Oak Park to a league championship and the program's first-ever district crown in 2012.
Speaking of Oak Park, senior boys basketballer Stephon Williams, is a dynamite talent EVERYONE should know about. A 6-3 wing who is fearless with the rock in his hands, Williams is a bit of a secret around town, since he missed a good chunk of last season with an injury. He broke out for a career-high 29 points in the Knights besting of Southfield-Lathrup Tuesday evening, giving OAA watchers a little flavor of what is to come the rest of the winter
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Burney's Boys BBall Rankings - & We're Roll'n
1 Birmingham DCD – The 'Jackets offense is OVERWHELMINGLY good!!! 2 Clarkston – Mike Nicholson is an emerging post stud for the Wolfpack 3 (tie) RH Adams – TEAM HALL aka the Highlanders HOOP BRIGADE riding high, undefeated into mid-December on the shoulders of the one, the only AKHEMJI the MAGNIFICIENT!! 3 (tie) Rochester – Mike Murri is underrated!!!! Don't leave him open or he'll make you pay!!! 4 Southfield – 'Jays are JAMMING to the beat of perfection early this season 5 BH Lahser – The Black Nights Rises (aka Lahser's juggernaut junior point guard Armand Cartwright) now showing in the Knights gymnasium…..Tickets $5 at the door 6 Lake Orion – Should have cracked these rankings earlier……TEAM RISI is still riding momentum of last season's miraculous run to the ELITE 8 7 WL Western – Miro Jaksic and Marcus Bailey make up the most imposing frontcourt in the KLAA North…..YEAH, I SAID IT!!!! 8 (tie) North Farmington – TEAM NOGO is ready to do some serious damage in the OAA Red this year, sporting a line-up that is young, but quite lethal!! 8 (tie) Pontiac – Senior Phoenix guard Dijon Cogdell is the quintessential ‘Yaktown sparkplug 9 Southfield Christian – We won't see the full Eagles arsenal until January due to injuries, transfers and family obligation out-of-state…..that's a scary thought 'cause right now they are really, really dangerous!!! 10 (tie) Birmingham Seaholm – Get busy my main Maples hooping homeboy Joey Nagridge, a point guard playing as well as any floor general in the area through two weeks of the schedule…MARK THAT DOWN!! 10 (tie) OL St. Mary's – MUCH Better than their 0-2 record
Sunday, December 16, 2012
Five For Fighting - Blasting Off
Five for Fighting – Top performances on the prep basketball floor over the weekend 1 Jeron (Buddha) Rogers (North Farmington) – Best Sophomore in the area? Rogers made a strong argument in his favor by going for a 33-point, 13-board outing in a defeat of West Bloomfield…..Can you say DOMINATION? 2 Suzanne Miller (BH Lahser) – The SUPER SUE EXPRESS was racing down the track at an epic pace in girls hoop action….Miller scored 26 points, made seven steals and dished five dimes in the Knights 59-52 upending of Southfield 3 Richie Cross (Clarkston Everest) – Went all LARRY BIRD on Friday night, swiping a pass and going in for the game-winning lay-up at the buzzer in CE's 42-40 besting of Macomb Lutheran North 4 James Young (Rochester) – The Chose One went all CHOSEN ONE in a loss to Harper Woods Chandler Park on Saturday, posting a SIR-GRIND-A-LOT double-double of 23 points and 23 boards 5 (tie) Cam Cavazos (RO Shrine) – Recorded a downright FILTHY double-double of 26 points and 11 assists in leading Shrine to a 67-62 downing of Flint Academy….there's just something about having the last name Cavazos that makes you a MEGA BALLER!!! 5 (tie) Earl Swift (Southfield) – Kept his Bluejays perfect on the season, heading a second-half comeback effort (dropping a team-high 17 points) to spur Southfield to a 58-53 triumph over Detroit East Village English Prep……SWIFT=SMOOTH in 'JAYVILLE!!!
Saturday, December 15, 2012
At first glance, I didn't think much of the boys basketball teams coming out of the city of Troy this winter. Troy HS had lost All-American James Young, now at Rochester, to a transfer and Troy Athens had graduated college players like Marcarious Oakley and Caleb McIntosh off last season's stellar squad. Now a couple weeks into the season, I believe I was wrong. Head coach Gary Fralick and his Troy Colts will be better than expected minus Young. Fralick is coaching the heck out of this group and showing why he's a master tactician and motivator on the sidelines with a clipboard in his hand. The senior backcourt of point guard Zak Noor and shooting guard Joe Leonard are intent on making the Colts one of this season's darkhorses - let us not forget, Troy HAS claimed two OAA White league championships in a row!!. Last Thursday night, Troy pulled an upset of OAA Red foe Southfield-Lathrup, possibly giving a look at what is to come in the next couple of months. Behind a super overall effort by Noor of 12 points, 10 assists and 8 rebounds, the Colts beat Lathrup - a squad many pundits ranked in the top of their state-rankings to open the campaign - by an impressive double-digit margin of victory. Athens will be good, too. In the years to come, the Red Hawks could be great. A slamming seven sterling sophomores dot the Athens roster this season and they are quite a class. I've seen them in person and came away wowed. Sparkplug guards Timmy Shayoka and Devin Terry and forwards John Van Noef and Corbin Vrinj headline the Red Hawks sizzling sophomore contingent. Noef is a 6-foot-5 grinder in the post and Vrinj a long, athletic 6-foot-7 wing with a sweet touch inside and out. Shayoka, a heady floor general in his second year on varsity, pumped in a career-high 20 points in a win over Roseville last week. When Troy and Athens matched-up on the hardwood earlier this month, the Red Hawks came away victorious for the second straight year.
Friday, December 14, 2012
To Serve & Protect
Bloomfield Hills Lahser two-sport star Andrew Gikas has flown to the next level. On Thursday evening, Gikas committed to play football in college at Air Force. A two-year all-league picks on both sides of the line for the Knights, the 6-foot-4 250-pound workhorse in the trenches racked up 92 tackles, seven sacks and close to two dozen hurries back in the fall, spearheading Lahser into the playoffs for a second consecutive year. During the winter sports season, Gikas is a no-nonsense Sir-GRIND-A-LOT in the post for the Knights basketball team, currently one of the best prep hoop squads in the area. As a junior on the hardwood last year, he was one of the emotional leaders on a cage crew that won both league and district titles. Oh, did I mention what he does in the classroom? Well, he takes no prisoners with his studies as well, sporting a 4.0 GPA. Gikas' landing at the Air Force out in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is part of a mini-trend in Oakland County of local high school gridiron studs that have taken their talent on the football field to an American Service Academy. He's the third recent prepster to commit to the Falcons program which competes in the Mountain West Conference, following in the footsteps of running back Marques Stevenson (Lake Orion) in 2011 and placekicker Ruairi McGreevy (Pontiac Notre Dame Prep) in 2012. Air Force (6-6) is readying to tangle with Rice in the Bell Helicopter Armed Services Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas on December 29.