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, February 28, 2013

Take a Bow, Young Man

Look for Connor Bowers to make a powerful impact on the Orchard Lake St. Mary's athletic program the next six months or so.
Bowers, a junior transfer from Birmingham Seaholm, will be a starting pitcher for the Eaglets baseball squad this spring and could end up one of the top hurlers in the Catholic League. Last year as a sophomore he was mighty good on the mound for the Maples, showing excellent potential.
In the fall, Bowers is viewed as a frontrunner to take the reins under center for St. Mary's perennial juggernaut football team, assuming starting quarterback duties from departing Matt Linehan (Idaho).
Burney can't wait to see his main man CB sporting the Eaglets Raging Red in a few short weeks chucking that pill for TEAM PETRY!
The Eaglets are defending CHSL champs on the gridiron, having appeared in five of the past six D3 state finals.
On the diamond, St. Mary's came on strong late to grab a D2 district title last spring and returns a good chunk of that squad, to add to the addition of Bowers for the upcoming season.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Wizard of Westwood

Taking in consideration his recent resume on the bench, when you're talking about the best high school hoop coaches in Metro Detroit, the name Marc West has got to be mentioned.
The Madison Heights Bishop Foley boys basketball coach has done nothing but win and win big ever since he arrived in VENTURESLAND from the westside of the state.
West has navigated Bishop Foley to three straight Catholic League championships and five consecutive district crowns.
Late-season success and West's name go together like peanut butter and jelly, hot fudge and ice cream or crackers and cheese. They're just a natural combination in every way possible.
This season's third league title in a row is a West masterpiece.
All he did was lead the Ventures into the CHSL tourney with a record under the .500 mark and come away with another trophy.
Prior to West getting to Bishop Foley, the program had never raised a Catholic League championship banner. To say the culture has changed is a vast understatement and that's a tribute to the young coacg's skills with a clipboard in his hands.
This guy's the real deal, pure and simple!!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Lady Gaga of Bloomfield Hills

I go GAGA for Shannon Wilson!!!
The Bloomfield Hills Andover girls HOOP QUEEN continued her assault on the Barons's record book Monday night.
Leading her squad to a 53-46 defeat of crosstown foe Bloomfield Hills Lahser to open the state tournament, Wilson followed up a triple-double Thursday with a near quadruple-double to vanquish her rivals. Doing her best LEBRON JAMES impression, the superstar junior point guard battered the Lahser defense with her lethal-brand of versatility, scoring a game-high 23 points to add to her 11 steals, eight assists and eight rebounds.
With the 23-stop she just hung on her intra-city rival Monday, Wilson ties the school-record for career points.
This comes only a few days removed from a 21-point, 16-dime, 12-board effort she busted loose for against Birmingham Groves in Andover's regular-season finale late last week. In that game, she broke the Barons' single-season and single-game assist record.
Wilson tipped off last week by eclipsing 1,000 points for her career in her club's game against Farmington Hills Harrison back on Tuesday, the fastest Barons player to ever achieve the feat.
Wow, is this MISS HOOS-A-LOT a MEGA BALLER or what?
She could be the most dangerous player on the county's prep girls cage scene that plays in the backcourt. That's how SUPER SWEET this girl's game is.
Thank god we get another year of her and her sparkling demeanor on the high school hardwood here in the OC……I for one am going to appreciate every second of it!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Burney's Boys BBall Rankings - Closing Time

1 Birmingham DCD – Poetry in motion is Poet Thomas in the post for the 'Jackets
2 RH Adams – Jack Twitty is the best defender in the OAA White….YEAH I SAID IT!!!        
3 Clarkston – The C-Town Cage Contingent is just trucking opponents lately…..and there were those in the media who thought this would be a down year for the Wolfpack…..good thing Burney was there to watch their backs…… always!!
4 North Farmington – We've all heard of the X-Factor, but in RAIDERSLAND this winter sophomore wing Anthony Quassawa has been the Q-Factor for TEAM NOGO, very nicely augmenting the likes of Rogers, Hogans and Sharp…TAKE IT TO THE BANK!!        
5 Rochester – Some major questions exists in PLEASANTVILLE with the injury to All-American James Young…….Burney can't wait to see how it all plays out!!
6 Southfield Christian – On cruise control until regionals….MARK THAT DOWN!!
7 Southfield – Can't quite get a gauge on where TEAM TEASLEY stands right now…HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY!!           
8 BH Lahser – Black and Yellow are the colors of the week…..Can U Say REAPEAT league title?
9 (tie) Waterford Mott – TEAM JAYSON coming on strong down the stretch!!
9 (tie) WL Central – Me likey some Ike the Vikey!!!
9 (tie) WL Western – TEAM 'Ra 'Ra has had an up-and-down campaign…..the Warriors are currently on the upswing, so WATCH OUT!!!
10 OL St. Mary's – Took a couple of tough body blows this last week, but Burney knows the Eaglets are still for real!!!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Auburn Hills Avondale changed boys basketball coaches earlier this month.
The good part of the story is that the mid-season switch-up has brought Tim Morton, the sideline general that led Avondale to a state championship in 2002, back to the Yellow Jackets bench.
The bad and the ugly is that it's never good to see a situation get so nasty within a program that a coach has to be fired in the middle of the year and that's what happened at Avondale with second-year Yellow Jackets head coach, Jeff Borja.
Under Borja, the program took a few steps back from the squads in the late 2000s and early-2010s that were raising league title banners.
Entering this week, Avondale is 7-11 and coming off an energizing 50-48 win over a good Oak Park squad on Friday.
Burney thinks despite the unfortunate circumstances that created the situation, it's great to have Coach Morton back in the local prep coaching ranks.
Man, that '02 club was super NICE!!!
Morton, Mike Lewis, Dionte Miller, David Holston and the whole crew were some MEGA BALLERS. I bet those state title rings are still going BLING, BLING more than a decade later.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Sad Day in C-Town

The area lost a great man this week.
His name is PAPA FIFE, the patriarch of the OC's first family of hoops…THE Fifes
He was the father of Clarkston longtime athletic director and boys basketball coach Dan Fife and grandfather of Dugan, Dane and Jeremy, who like their dad all played Division I hoops and are each the definition of a CLASS ACT on and off the court.
Where do you think it all came from? That's right, PAPA FIFE. He was there from the very start instilling the many admirable virtues that the whole Fife family embodies to this very day - not really a surprise when you consider he was a military vet who was on the frontlines of WWII and worked the coal mines in Southern Illinois as a young man.
I had the good fortune of getting to know PAPA FIFE back when I was in college at Indiana University. When Dane, now an assistant coach at Michigan State, played at IU in the late 1990s and early 2000s, PAPA FIFE and I used to sit near each other at Assembly Hall during Hoosiers games. He was the proudest grandpa in the building and I loved talking shop with him before and after every hard-fought contest.
What a man he was!! Burney's thoughts and prayers go out to the Fife family at this difficult time.
So do others' in the area's prep basketball scene.
Here's what North Farmington head coach Todd Negoshian, whose squad will play Clarkston in the Wolfden Tuesday evening with the OAA Red championship on the line, had to say.
"I was honored to have known Mr. Fife. He was a very honest and caring man. Every time I ran into him, he would always ask me how my family was and how the team is doing. His absence will definitely be felt on Tuesday night."
Negoshian knew PAPA FIFE since the days he was a kid, playing AAU ball with Dane.
Personally, I feel blessed to have received the opportunity to see PAPA FIFE one last time in the months before he passed. It was during a Clarkston game back in December and I went up and said hi, reminding him of our discussions at Assembly Hall over a decade ago.
He shook my hand and smiled and we had a small chuckle, reminiscing.  
That will be how I remember the man. And I think it's a pretty cool memory to have.
I'm sure the Fife family has a few thousand or so to keep close to their hearts in the future, too.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Seeing Red

Orchard Lake St. Mary's is the most dangerous .500 basketball team I've seen in this area in a long time.
Don't be surprised at all if the Eaglets boys hoopsters make their third consecutive trip into the Class A Elite 8 next month.
Per usual, St. Mary's took a little while to get its basketball legs underneath them coming off a deep playoff run in football.
Now, the Eaglets are cruising, winning seven of their last nine ball games.
On Wednesday, they lost a heartbreaker in overtime to Warren De La Salle in the CHSL tournament semifinals.
Back on Saturday, they jumped out to a 52-6 lead in the tourney quarterfinals against Pontiac NDP before coasting to a 71-25 throttling of the Fighting Irish.
At the top of the OLSM attack is seniors Sam McClendon and Matt Linehan and super soph Ted McCree. McClendon is a four-year starter and a dynamite floor general with an incredibly versatile style of game. Linehan is a college-bound quarterback (Idhao) on the gridiron and a deadly outside shooter on the hardwood. McCree, who plays on the wing and has equally lethal mid-range and long-distance skills, has quickly established himself one of the best sophomores in Oakland County.
The Eaglets post game is held down by gritty bangers like juniors Peter Bonde, Nate Conrad and Luke Bauss.
Football stars Jalen Watts-Jackson and Lamon Mathison are athletic and heady guards and flank McClendon and Linehan in the backcourt. Watts-Jackson, a high-level D1 college prospect at wide receiver on the football field, is the Eaglets' ace defensive-stopper.
All Burney can say is WATCH OUT if you see the TEAM PORRITT PLAYMAKERS rolling towards you in these next few weeks. The months of March and November belong to George Porritt, St. Mary's basketball and football coach aka the SORCERER OF THE SIDELINES!!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Riding Into Town

Bowling Green's football program is loving it some Oakland County right now.
Over the last week, the Falcons offered four scholarships to local gridiron studs; Birmingham Detroit Country Day quarterback Tyler Wiegers, Rochester Hills Adams field general Matt Sokol and Clarkston defensive linemen Nick Mattich and David Beedle.
If you count, former Royal Oak Shrine standout Jared Wangler, who transferred to Warren De La Salle last year, but still lives with his family in Farmington Hills, there's a total of five offers on the table.
Wiegers and Sokol are two of the top signal-callers in the state's Class of 2014, each drop-back specialists with big arms and pin-point accuracy.
Mattich and Beedle are grinders in the trenches that helped take Clarkston to league and district titles last fall.
The Falcons had success in recruiting the area with the Class of 2013, snagging standout Auburn Hills Avondale offensive lineman Clark Clancy and Farmington star safety Isaiah Gourdine.
Finishing 8-5 last season, Bowling Green carried three OC prep alums on its 2012 roster in Avondale's DJ Lynch (LB), West Bloomfield's Aaron Foster (DB) & RH Adams's Spencer Cairo (offensive lineman).

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Burney's Boys BBall Rankings - Blasting Off

OC Top 10
1 Birmingham DCD – Kicking butts and taking names, per usual this team of year for the KEENER KAGE KREW!!! Next Stop: The Breslin Center?
2 RH Adams – Continues to impress….sick good this year…'NUFF SAID!!    
3 (tie) Clarkston – Wolfpack junior point guard Press Kampe really stepping his game up a notch this second half of this season….MAD PROPS are deserved for the C-Town K-Man!!!
3 (tie) Rochester – The OC's very own version of 'The Blue Man Group' is the hottest ticket in town….Can't wait for Saturday in the Falcons' Nest v. Romulus....  
4 North Farmington – TEAM NOGO playing some of the best basketball in all of Metro Detroit right now….YEAH I SAID IT!!!        
5 Southfield Christian – Eagles proving their chances at a repeat state championship are as alive and well as ever….TEAM BAKER has won 11 straight…WATCH OUT, SCS is as hot on the hardwood as Kate Upton is in the new SI Swimsuit Issue..FACT!
6 Southfield – These next two games will tell Burney if the 'Jays are legit
7 BH Lahser – Knights SUPERSTAR big fella, Yante Maten aka 'The Big Impact' is as cool as the other side of my pillow!!! I might also start calling this kid the 'Big Fund' since he's so fundamentally-strong with his hoops game
8 South Lyon – Senior floor general Luke Short is nothing SHORT of SPECTACULAR!!!
9 (tie) WL Central – Vikes sideline general Chuck Spolsky gets Burney's vote for Coach of the Year in the whole OC…....and Phillip Nelson gets his nod for MIP in the entire KLAA...MARK THAT DOWN!!         
9 (tie) WL Western – I've decided to nickname Warriors sophomore point guard Jeryld Booker 'The Professor' 'cause this kid is straight taking opponents to school on the court
10 OL St. Mary's – NAILS TOUGH in every way!!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Michigan Man

Nick Wallace can do several things really, really well.
Whether its basketball or football, he demolishes the competition.
The Madison Heights Madison two-sport standout announced his intentions for college recently, signing to play hoops at the next level with University of Michigan-Dearborn.
At the high school level, Wallace is an all-league selection in both sports, a multi-year starter at quarterback on the football field and at center on the basketball floor.
He's a true winner, too.
As a sophomore, he quarterbacked Madison's gridiron gang to a district title, coming into the huddle in the playoffs in relief of injured senior starter Tony Lowry to glowing reviews.
Back in the fall, he posted big-league caliber stats in leading the Eagles to a 9-1 record.
On the hardwood, he's a 6-foot-6, walking-talking double-double, helping spark Madison to a district crown last March.
UofM-Dearborn is 7-23 this winter. The team's captain is former Clarkston point guard Julius Porter, who just reached the 1,000-point mark for his career this week.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Five For Fighting - Going Buckwild

Five For Fighting – Top outings from Catholic League prep hoops tourney this weekend
1 Garrett Moores (Novi Detroit CC) – Can you say G-FORCE? The Shamrocks G-MAN went all BLACK MAMBA in CC's come-from-behind knock-off of arch-rival Birmingham Brother Rice, recording a double-double of 21 points and 14 boards, as well as hitting the game-winning bucket on Saturday
2 Ava Doetsch-Lexie Robak (Waterford Lakes) – The Lakes terrific twosome made their final trip to Calihan Hall count, combining for 30 points, 10 rebounds and five assists to bring home the program's third CHSL crown in four seasons in a blowout of Gabriel Richard Sunday
3 Kara Holinski-Bailey Thomas (Birmingham Marian) – This eyebrow-raising pair of underclassmen made the most of their first trip to Calihan, joining forces for 25 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in leading the program to its league-record 13th overall CHSL title trophy with a downing of Dearborn Divine Child Sunday
4 Ted McCree (OL St. Mary's) – No player is blowing up larger than the Eaglets very own 'TEDDY BALLGAME' … case the nickname doesn't tell you the 411, this kid is a STRAIGHT SUPER BALLER!!! Notching his fourth consecutive EXPLOSIVE outing, McCree registered 19 points, eight rebounds and four steals in sparking OLSM to an absolute demolition of Pontiac NDP (71-25)
5 DeAndre Jackson (MH Bishop Foley) – The Ventures savvy senior point guard has his mind on one thing and one thing only….getting that third CHSL championship in a row for him and his squad. Because of Jackson's stellar effort, going for 16 points, six assists and five steals, in a win over Gabriel Richard on Saturday, the Foley cagers took one step closer to that third straight 'SHIP….GET BUSY TEAM WEST!!!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Lakeshow Overload

In perfect synchronization, first-cousins and Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes SUPERSTAR hoopsters Lexie Robak and Garrett Ross eclipsed the 1,000 career point plateau in the same week.
These two pack quite a punch on the hardwood.
Robak is a 3-point assassin with few equals in the area. She has started on three straight state title squads and has developed into a much more well-rounded player the past two years.
Ross is a razor-sharp inside-outside threat and three-year All-Catholic League selection, good for a double-double nearly every time he steps foot on the floor. He will be playing football (TE/LB) in college at Michigan Tech, after taking the Lakers grid crew to a district crown back in the fall.
And yes, they both spawn from the first family of Waterford athletics, THE ROARING ROBAKS.
So the fact that Lexie aka "The Rainmaker" and Garrett aka G-MONEY aka G-Funk Era aka G-Nice have had such brilliant careers as prep cagers is of a little surprise.
Mad Props goes out to these two playmaking extraordinaires who do their family, the WOLL community and the entire city of Waterford proud with everything they do, on and off the court….THAT'S A FACT!!! 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Family Tradition

In case you haven't been reading the local boys basketball game box scores, there are more Ocampo family marksmen than originally thought.
The original Ocampo rifleman was Jasper Ocampo, the former pro gunner who played as a prepster at Madison Heights Bishop Foley and won the inaugural Oakland County 3-point contest back in the early 1990s.
Then came is oldest son Jared – blasting onto the scene with a vengeance from beyond the arc last year as a sophomore in helping lead Clawson to its second straight league crown. He might be the most deadly sniper in the county. If Burney was asked to select one local player to shoot a 3-ball for the win in a game, it very well might be my main CLAWVILLE homey Jared OKEEZIE
Now comes his younger son Edrey (aka 'EASY O'), recently called up from the JV this season and lighting it up from downtown just like his father and big bro.
Wow, can this family can shoot the rock or what? The words 'Cash Money' can be heard every time an Ocampo baller lets ones fly with their text book arc, form and rotation.
On Tuesday night, Jared canned a trio of trifectas, while Edrey banged home one in the Trojans downing of Warren Lincoln.
Jasper Ocampo was the best outside shooter during his generation in the Oakland County prep ranks. He connected on a sick 60 percent of his 3-point bombs at Foley before going on to play 'next level' ball at Rochester College and then as a pro hoopster in his native Philippines

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Moving on Out

Orchard Lake St. Mary's quest for a second straight Catholic League title and a sixth trip to the state finals in the past seven years on the gridiron, just took a punch to the gut.
The powerhouse Eaglets football program, recently learned that star sophomore wide receiver Van Jefferson, an integral cog on last year's team and a sure-fire Division I college recruit, is moving to Tennessee at the end of the month with his family and won't be finishing his prep career at St. Mary's.
Jefferson is also a devastating talent on the basketball court and the future move out of state is the reason he's not suiting up for the Eaglets hoop squad this winter.
Van's father is Shawn Jefferson, the former NFL split end and Detroit Lions assistant coach who is going to work for the Tennessee Titans.
If he had stayed in the Red&White, Van would have joined forces with incoming senior Jalen Watts-Jackson to form possibly the most heavily recruited wide out tandem in the state next fall.
Burney hates it when genuine prep PTP'ers depart the area to close out their time as high school athletes, but there is no question he wishes Van the Man the best of luck in the Music City.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Burney's Boys BBall Rankings - Top Guns

OC Top 10
1 Birmingham DCD – "The Goose" aka senior 'Jackets forward Drew Gustafson has been getting EXTRA BUSY on the floor lately!!!
2 RH Adams – Coach Flynn could be the best assistant coach in the area….YEAH, I SAID IT!!!
3 (tie) Clarkston – There might be a Chance Huth sighting in a Wolfpack uniform in the near future…..Burney can't wait!!
3 (tie) Rochester – Falcons playing at a clip right now Burney honestly didn't foresee happening despite the James Young transfer
4 Southfield – Reserve forwards Brandon Bean, Paris McCurdy, Jr., Sam Moore and Kherry Fanning are the best set of the frontcourt back-ups in the OAA Red….mark that down!!!
5 North Farmington – Man, is Sterling Sharp deadly from long distance or what?
6 Southfield Christian – Marlo Brown has the most upside of any fab frosh in the OC….that's a BURNEY GUARANTEE
7 BH Lahser – Not many holes in this Knights line-up
8 South Lyon – Awesome to see TEAM HOST finally hosting a ranking
9 Lake Orion – Still not sure what to make of the Dragons this winter
10 (tie) Walled Lake Central – Team of destiny in the KLAA North?
10 (tie) Walled Lake Western – Shows flashes of greatness, getting closer every game to sustaining it
10 (tie) Waterford Mott – TEAM JAYSON still chasing that dream of a repeat

Monday, February 11, 2013

OC Buckeye Nation

A lot of people were surprised when Southfield football standout Lawrence Marshall – the area's top recruit in the junior class – committed to Ohio State over the weekend.
If you follow the Oakland County college recruiting world, you really shouldn't be that shocked.
Marshall, a decimating force of nature at defensive end, is the third high-profile local athlete to go across the border and become a Buckeye in the past two years.
Back in 2011, Amir Williams (Birmingham Detroit Country Day) signed his National Letter of Intent to OSU's men's basketball squad and Adam Gorski (Birmingham Brother Rice) inked with the Buckeye's men's soccer program.
Both have made quick impacts in Columbus.
Gorski started in the midfield as a freshman and sophomore. The 6-foot-11 Williams has been a key reserve in the post for nationally-ranked OSU on the hardwood the past two seasons.
In high school, Gorski and Williams killed the competition at every turn, with Gorski starring in four different sports at Brother Rice (soccer, basketball, football, and track&field) and Williams being named a McDonald's All-American and leading DCD to a state championship.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Not So Fast

Clarkston junior football standout Timmy Cason might not being going to play his college pigskin at Toledo after all.
Cason, one of the state's top defensive backs in the Class of 2014, had committed to the Rockets at their junior day last month.
It appears he is having second thoughts and might be re-opening up his recruiting process.  
A lockdown corner with few equals in Oakland County, Cason helped lead Clarkston to league and district titles last fall.
There is a good chance bigger schools than Toledo will come into the picture if this Wolfpack stud really does put his hat back in the ring. I know a few Big 10 schools had started to express possible interest in his services in the months prior to Cason's verbal commitment to Rocketsnation.
This fall as a senior, Cason and the Wolves will be once again be one of the best teams in the state, featuring him and star running back Ian Eriksen, the county's leading rusher and touchdown-maker in 2012.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Five For Fighting - They On It

Five For Fighting – Best performances on the prep boys hardwood Friday night
1 Edmond Sumner (Birmingham DCD) – Sumner busted up the Belleville 'D' for an FANTABULOUS overall outing of 22 points, 10 dimes, five rebounds and four steals in Country Day's 85-57 pounding of the visiting Tigers Friday. He might be the best pure guard in Oakland County right now....just a genuine playmaker and a warrior of a competitor. Not many in the area GO HARDER end-to-end than this 'Jackets backcourt blazer.
2 Scott McSweeney (Novi Franklin Road Christian) – McSweeney was McGREAT on Friday night, going for a LEBRON-LIKE double-double of 20 points and 17 boards in his squad's 68-45 trouncing of Taylor Baptist Park
3 Josh Simms (Holly) – Man are the Holly hoopsters hot or what? On Friday it was super soph Josh Simms doing the damage for TEAM HORSE aka TEAM BAYLIS, notching 16  points, 10 of them coming in the second quarter, in the Broncho Baller Brigade's 55-43 upending of Linden.
4 Connor Verheyen (Pontiac Notre Dame Prep) – The Fighting Irish were able to sneak past Dearborn Divine Child 61-55 in big part because of the work Verheyen did in the paint. He tallied a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds to push NDP over the .500 mark at 8-7, 4-3 in CHSL play
5 Christien Wright (Birmingham DCD) – SI-GRIND-A-LOT SPECIAL REPORT; My main DCD homeboy C-WRIGHT broke out of a mini-slump by picking up a THROWBACK-STYLE double-double of 12 points and 13 boards in the 'Jackets blowout of Belleville. His night was topped off by making a steal at midcourt and flying in for a rim-shaking two-handed jam that brought the crown to its feet. Wow, this kid is TOUGH-AS-NAILS!!!
HM: Walled Lake Western's entire roster and coaching staff!!