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.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Getting The Job Done

I really like what I'm seeing from the Birmingham Brother Rice basketball squad so far this season.
The Warriors are 5-1 out of the gates.  TEAM SHAFFER has proven to be one of the most dangerous shooting clubs in the whole area.
They could wind up surprising a lot of people and contending for a Catholic League crown.
What's even more noteworthy is that Brother Rice's Orange&Black cage crew is doing all of this after losing the services of their top returning player, senior ALL-EVERYTHING megawatt BALLER Jason Alessi (all-state in f'ball, LAX & all-CHSL in bball), who opted to not come out for his final season of prep hoops.
Alessi is fresh off helping lead the school's football team to a 3peat state-title last month and committing to play on the gridiron in college in the Ivy League at historic Yale University.
Minus Alessi, Shaffer's Warriors haven't missed a beat.
After a minor bump in the road, taking a loss to Ferndale in their season-opener, Brother Rice has reeled off five straight 'W's', capped by a 60-59 victory over Madison Heights Bishop Foley in the Ventures' annual holiday tourney championship game.
Alright, let's roll call it and shout out these Warrior hoopster delights.
Patrick Sparks – Cash Money from downtown (drained game-winning 3 to beat Bishop Foley), a genuine leader and playmaker, lives up to his nickname "The Firecracker" with his explosive nature on the hardwood..Can u say HEAT CHECK?
Kevin Hayes – This 6-foot-5 forward has an upside that's through the roof, just sick potential that's beginning to blossom into stardom, long and athletic, sweet stroke and good court instinct...might be a Top 5 player in the Catholic League by the conclusion of the campaign in March....YEAH I SAID IT!!
Dominic Downs – Fast-rising junior shooting guard that's nails tough in the backcourt, gritty as humanly possible and a deadeye marksman out on the perimeter
Stephen Middlebrooks – Crafty, bulldog of a senior combo guard that finds his way into the lane and causes problems with his tightly-constructed mid-range game and ability to slip in between defenders and get to the rack
Nick Bielke – Took over point guard duties in the wake of the Alessi departure and has played like a savvy vet in his stead. The junior floor general can set tempo, create for his teammates on the break or the half-court set and score from beyond the arc.
Drew Gallagher – Another sniper for the Orange&Black Hoop Attack that can provide some instant 'O' off the bench
Delano Madison – Speedy defensive specialist that can be a terror in the open floor on transition
Jaqualin Hannah – Transfer from crosstown at Birmingham Detroit Country Day where he won a Class B state title last winter, this 6-foot-4 forward could be a real X Factor when he gets eligible next month after MLK Day
Sean Mattingly, Denny Flynn, Mitchell Shaffer, Davis Feldman, Ryan Jordan, Brendan Smith – A half-dozen "Glue Guys" that contribute to the effort if and when called upon

Sunday, December 29, 2013

In Todd They Trusted

The last time the MSU Spartans were in the Rose Bowl back in 1988, they got a pretty important contribution from a certain OC two-sport super stud to bring home the hardware with the 20-17 upending of USC.
His name: Todd Krumm.
Prepping at West Bloomfield in the early 1980she was a football and baseball standout (all-state in both)and led the Lakers to a state title on the diamond in 1983 before heading to East Lansing as a hard-hitting safety. When he was playing in the Spartans secondary, he started alongside fellow OC sledgehammer John Miller (FH Harrison) and was the definition of a primetime performer, snaring an awe-inspiring 18 interceptions in his three seasons in the lineup.
Krumm recovered the game-clinching fumble in the Rose Bowl that glorious season 26 years ago.
Eventually, he'd go on to a pro career in the NFL with the Chicago Bears and in the minors as a pitcher for his hometown Detroit Tigers.
His son Nick is currently one of the best high school football players around, just finishing a junior year at Walled Lake Central where his dad is and asst coach & he found the end zone 22 times.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Star Of David

Rochester Adams will be represented on the sidelines in the upcoming Rose Bowl by Stanford head coach David Shaw, who spent the first half of his high school days in Metro Detroit, playing football and basketball for the Highlanders during his freshman and sophomore years. The Highlanders varsity football team went a very respectable 6-3 in '88 during his sophomore campaign.
Shaw, 41, finished high school in California and played on the gridiron in college as a wide receiver for the Cardinal, a program he took over three years ago when Jim Harbaugh left for the NFL.
He's considered one of the top young coaching minds in the country, compiling a robust 34-6 overall record and back-to-back PAC-12 championships and consecutive conference Coach of the Year awards.
And it all started here in the OC.
His dad is Willie Shaw, the longtime NFL assistant coach who was with the Detroit Lions from the mid-to-late 1980s.
Now, Sparty go out and get yourself some Highlander....I mean.....Cardinal blood next week when the WAR OF THE ROSES takes place in Pasadena

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Near Future

Just around the bend in the Jungle up in Clarkston, a pair of burgeoning young stallions will be blossoming into full-fledged prep stardom soon.
As in next school year.
Here's a sneak preview;
Nolan Eriksen – The last name tells you all you need to know. All-state senior tailback and C-Town all-time football great Ian Eriksen's baby bro is about to go BUCKWILD for the defending D1 state champs in the Wolfpack. Nolan is just as fast, if not faster, than his older sibling and tore up the JV circuit this past season as a sophomore before getting the call-up to varsity for the state-title run last month. He'll be teaming with returning power-rushing specialist Centrus Williams to give Clarkston another punishing ground attack in the club's quest for the repeat. This kid is going to follow in his big bro's footsteps and has the chance to raise the Eriksen family legacy even higher than it already is.....that's saying quite a bit, yet if you see this young man run with the rock, it's really not that hard to believe.
Foster Loyer – The city's "Next Big Thing" on the high school hardwood. Currently only in the 8th grade, Loyer sometimes scrimmaged with TEAM FIFE in the offseason, impressing everyone with his natural composure, game IQ and ability to more to hold his own on the varsity level as barely a 13-year old. Word around the program is that he's already penciled into a starting spot in the backcourt on varsity for the 2014-2015 campaign. Without question Lawyer is the most heavily-regarded up-and-coming basketball prospect the Wolfpack has seen since Dane Fife, Coach Dan's youngest son, the state's Mr. Basketball in 1998 and a McDonald's All-American prior to a stellar career in the Big Ten at Indiana University. Loyer is the TRUTH. Be afraid, be VERY AFRAID!!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Widely Acclaimed

A pair of lethal local wide receivers will be catching passes on the gridiron in college in the GLIAC next fall.
And both are set to stay close to home.
Birmingham Brother Rice's Damaris Woods committed to Saginaw Valley State. and Lake Orion's Corey Ester committed to Wayne State.
Woods (6-foot-3, 190 pounds) averaged over 10 yards per grab and snared five touchdowns this past season in helping Brother Rice raise a third consecutive state title last month. The final TD of his high school career came under the Bright Lights of Ford Field in the state championship game vs. Muskegon.
Ester (5-foot-10 180 pounds) had over 700 yards receiving and scored 8 touchdowns on a Dragons playoff squad.
Similar in style, Woods and Ester can do damage on the football field in multiple ways, either taking defensive backs deep on fly routes or going across the middle for the tough snag in traffic.
They're "character kids," too, the kind you don't have to worry about staying focused and being responsible.
Burney thinks they've found great fits at the next level and predicts big things for both.
SVSU finished 9-3 this fall.
Wayne state went 3-8 in 2013, only two years removed from a trip to the D2 National Championship Game.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Those Are The Breaks

Bloomfield Hills and North Farmington, two of the top boys basketball clubs in the area, both took blows to their respective lineups recently, losing players to injuries until after the holiday vacation.
Blackhawks all-league senior forward Khalil Gracey tweaked his ankle last week in practice and missed Bloomfield Hills' game Thursday, a 46-45 upset loss at the hands of Rochester.
North Farmington second-year starting forward Alex Darden, one of the best two-sport athletes in Oakland County, suffered a hairline fracture of his wrist Thursday night in the Raiders' 66-41 thumping of Pontiac on an ethically-questionable foul, where the Phoenix player whistled for it was subsequently benched for the remainder of the game.
Darden, only a sophomore and already a Division I baseball recruit (crafty 6-foot-4 lefty hurler), will be fine for his spring duties on the mound.
Last year as a fab frosh, Darden started on North Farmington's varsity cage and diamond squads, helping lead each to a Class A district championship.
The Raiders are currently 3-0.
Gracey, also an elite two-sport standout (star wide receiver on the football field as well), scored 17 points in Bloomfield Hills' 69-60 defeat of a very good Milan team on the road last weekend and then got hurt in practice the following day.
He's been the glue that binds the Blackhawks 'Big 3' and has a pair of district and league title-patches on his letter jacket.
Bloomfield Hills is 3-1 after Thursday's loss.
Burney wishes Mr. Smooth aka Khalil and "Deathstar Darden" aka Alex a quick recovery!!!
See ya soon, BOYZ!!.....and considering the Blackhawks and the Raiders are expected to be a pair of the frontrunners in the race for the OAA Red, they'll be seeing each other soon (on the court that is), too

Monday, December 23, 2013

Burney's Boys BBall Rankings - Xmas Hoop'n

OC Top 10
1 Clarkston – The Wolves 'POST MASTER GENERAL' aka senior center Mike Nicholson is going to be very hard to defend this year, this kid is coming at the comp like a locomotive
2 North Farmington – All alone at No. 2, can TEAM NOGO live up to the hype? I think they can!! (quick side note; junior wing Anthony Qasawa is Burney's BOY!!)
3 Bloomfield Hills –The HILLS is hoop heaven this season……If loving me some Armand "The Dark Knight" Cartwright is wrong, I don't want to be right!!
4 Southfield Christian – Sizzling sophomore Marlow Brown has recently been given a LICENSE TO THRILL and he's using it, so don't say you're boy Burney didn't warn you
5 Birmingham DCD – Maceo Baston, Jr and Nazir Wallace might be the two most improved players in the area……Edmond Sumner and Coach Bray say THANK YOU!!
6 (tie) OL St. Mary's – Silky smooth junior swingman Teddy McCree is straight sickness with the rock in his hands (THERA-FLU anyone?), makes nice argument for being a Top 5 player in the OC when you're talking upside, will go down as an Eaglets all-time great….YEAH I SAID IT!!
6 (tie) Oak Park – Losses this week were minus the Knights "Big 3" aka Biles, Fikes and Fuller…..when the Park is at full strength its' going to be hide the wife and kids kinda of scary
7 WL Western – Blowout loss to Grand Blanc on the heels of downing DCD in its opener had Burney really scratching his head, nice bounce-back DUB tho…..Moshea Williams is a real X FACTOR on the wing that not a lot of people know about
8 (tie) RH Adams – Senior Highlanders' sniper Tommy Girdler drops G Bomb 3s like he was a fighter pilot
8 (tie) Holly – Probably dangerous enough to be higher in the rankings, will be shortly, I'm pretty sure…highest-scoring squad and most fun to watch in the OC!!
9 WL Central – Chuck Spolsky could be the most underrated young coaching mind in Metro Detroit
10 Lakeland – Despite the recent losses, I still really like TEAM BRUGGER this year

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Making A List, Checking It Twice

There are lots of hidden gems on the local boys prep hardwood this winter.
Here is a list of some guys who are not household names now, but could be very soon:
Jake Daniels (Holly) – The best player in the OC you don't know about….yet. Daniels is a doozy of a junior wing that is currently leading all of Class A with a 24 point per game average  
Chris Dorsey (Troy) – Emerging super stud in the paint for TEAM FRALICK…a workhorse on the block with a fierce attitude and finisher's mentality at the rim
Charlie Carson (Stoney Creek) – Most undervalued floor general in the area…nails-tough playmaker and leader that can hurt opposing defenses in the half-court set or spearheading a fast break
Jerald Booker (WL Western) – Developing into a DI point guard before our very eyes
Nazir Wallace (Birmingham DCD) – Trajectory; BEAST MODE
Anton Lukaj (West Bloomfield) – Fast-rising forward that is fixing to be a true EURO DYNAMO in the next three years
Corbin Vrinj (Troy Athens) – Might have the largest upside of any frontcourt prospect in the OC
Walter Kelser (WL Central) – Special K lives again!!
Charles Jeffries (Birmingham Groves) – Think "Kyle Ervin 2.0"
Jonathon Radnor (Berkley) – One of the OC's top natural scorers in the backcourt, a GRADE-1 nose for the hoop
Rodney Scales (Oak Park) – Seriously talented southpaw that is starting to do some pretty impressive things in the post for the Knights
Trent Lansaw (WL Northern) – Silent assassin is the most accurate description of this Northern Nasty
Kevin Hayes (Birmingham Brother Rice) – Has all the tools to become a very special player
Kakaun Williams (Waterford Kettering) – WA-Town Baller Breakout Part 1
Damonta Harris (Waterford Mott) – Wa-Town Baller Breakout Part 2
Amuri Hardy & Mike Flowers (Southfield) – A world-beater of a backcourt in the making in BLUEJAYLAND with this pair of fab frosh showing early flashes of future brilliance

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Five For Fighting - Butchering The Comp

BUTCHER BONUS EDITION: OL St. Mary's honored its 100-year anniversary on the prep boys basketball floor Friday night, welcoming back former coach Denny Butcher and his current Hartland team for a "Century Game" (73-41 OLSM 'W').
Butcher mentored some pretty fine hoopsters in his days pacing the sidelines at Dombrowski Field House, let's take a gander at the BEST OF THE BEST
FIVE FOR FIGHTINGThe top players Denny Butcher coached at OL St. Marys in his time on the bench from 1992-1998
1 Kylo Jones (Class of 1997) – Hard-nosed, playmaking point guard that had the heart of a warrior and earned himself a starting spot as a Fab Frosh on Butcher's epic '94 state-finals squad. Jones would go onto become the historic program's second all-time leading-scorer and then play in college at Western Michigan University
2 Maurice Seawright (Class of 2000) – Might be the single most talented athlete to ever walk the Eaglets' legendary halls. Butcher only had Seawright, a fantastically dynamic floor general on the hardwood and a home-run threat of a wide receiver on the gridiron, as a super soph in his final year at THE LAKE; though, two years later, as a senior he would end up propelling OLSM to state championships in basketball and football, before having a brief career in both sports up in Ann Arbor with the University of Michigan
3 Diallo Johnson (Class of 1995) – The quintessential leader and "Mr. Do It All" for Butcher's '94 club. Johnson was a winner in every way, no matter what sport he was competing in. He quarterbacked OLSM to a state title the following fall on the football field and then played wide receiver for Michigan's '97 Rose Bowl and National Championship squad.
4 David Bowens (Class of 1995) – Spending over a dozen years in the NFL as a defensive lineman, Bowens was pure brute force on the basketball court, just a straight monster in the post
5 Daryl Adams (Class of 1995) – Another two-sport sensation that could hurt opposing teams on the hardwood with his sniper skills, mid-range game or as a finisher in transition with his mad hops. This is not to mention him helping Johnson stretch defenses on the gridiron as a big-play threat split end on the '94 state title team. Adams would continue plying his trade as a WR in college locally at Wayne State

Friday, December 20, 2013

An Impactful Landing

Here's a list of some local HS boys hoopsters that haven't made it on the court yet this year, but will be hitting the hardwood soon to give their respective clubs a jolt in the talent department.
Tabin Throgmorton (Clarkston) – Dandy of a sophomore swingman and WL Northern transfer that will add yet another dimension to an already stacked Wolfpack cage contingent when he gets eligible in January
John McCarty (Lake Orion) – One of the top forwards in the OC, the Dragons senior captain is battling knee problems and could be back on the floor doing damage in the OAA after the New Year
Jabbar Mimms (AH Avondale) – Savvy, hard-to-handle wing that is recovering from a cut tendon on his hand and will be making some serious waves in the stat sheet upon his upcoming return
Kelvon Fuller (Oak Park) – Freak athlete of a power forward that transferred to OAKTOWN from the PSL (Detroit Cody) and will have a good chance at setting the OAA White ablaze on the block and in transition when finally eligible next month….this kid's ups are ridiculous!!
Orlando Fikes (Oak Park) – Super smart and steady at the point guard spot that joins Fuller with the Knights as a Cody transplant that is ready to make a mark in his new digs
Adam Kline (Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes) – A transfer from Clarkston that should make a significant impact with the LakeNation following MLK Day
Steve Redmond (Holly) – Originally a "Flintstone", so his toughness in the backcourt goes unquestioned. He'll give the brimming Bronchos' backcourt one more weapon to throw at opposing teams when January comes around and he's allowed to go to war with Team Baylis

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Newly Christened

The New ERA in Brendan Newvine's football career will be happening under center at Defiance College in Ohio.
Newvine, a versatile and venomous field general from Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, committed to the Yellow Jackets earlier this week.
He threw for 1200 yards and 15 touchdowns this season, quarterbacking the Fighting Irish to an 8-3 record and into the D4 district finals for the second year in a row.
In the pocket, Newvine can hurt teams with his arm, savvy and cotton-soft touch down field. If the pass rush gets too close, he can take off and burn defenses with his deceptive speed and pesky tenacity.
Last year, he played some linebacker and running back. He's a leader in the locker room, on the gridiron and off. He's a winner, the kind of kid you'd be proud to call your son as a father and your captain if you're a coach.
As a fab frosh back in the fall of 2010, he assumed the reins under center at recently-crowned D1 state champion Clarkston late in the regular season due to injuries to older players and wound up rallying the Wolfpack into the playoffs.
Following his sophomore campaign, Newvine left C-Town mid school year and landed at NDP.
Defiance went 3-7 in 2013 and has a good amount of players on its roster from the state of Michigan.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Suddenly Stupendous

The surprise breakout star of the early season on the local girls basketball court is Birmingham Seaholm's Elise Tolbert.
The Maples are 5-0 and Tolbert, a long, lean and mean presence in the post, is averaging over 20 points and close to eight rebounds per game.
She's hit for 25 points on three different occasions, including in Seaholm's 67-27 trouncing of Southfield Tuesday and in the first two outings of the year two weeks ago.
As a junior last winter, Tolbert was relatively quiet, making this recent burst onto the OC cage scene a true feel-good story.
Seaholm's inside-outside tandem of Tolbert and Fab Frosh floor general, Mackenzie Harbort, who tossed in 16 points to go along with nine steals and five assists Tuesday night, is quite imposing and will give the Maples a legit shot in the race for the league title.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Burney's Boys BBall Rankings - Soft As Butter

OC Top 10
1 Clarkston – TEAM FIFE is FANTABULOUS!!
2 (tie) Bloomfield Hills – I love these Andover guys…..they give the Blackhawks some real depth and gutty playmaking
2 (tie) North Farmington – Might have the top role-player unit in the OC, that's why this could shape up to be a memorable winter in RAIDERSNATION!!!
3 Southfield Christian – SCS is the BEST!!! Might be the No. 1 overall team in the OC…Ya HEARD!
4 Oak Park – Solid as Oak, strong as an ox, and as athletic as MJ…WATCH OUT!
5 WL Western – Team RA RA is roaring like a LION….they have the EYE OF THE TIGER, take precaution when approaching!!
6 Birmingham DCD – You can't stop Edmond Sumner, you can only hope to contain him…and that's pretty darn difficult too
7 Southfield – Amuri Hardy is a terror of a Fiery Frosh in the backcourt for the 'Jays
8 RH Adams – Joe Ziniti and Spencer Littleson form one of the most nails-tough tandems of sizzling sophomores in the area
9 (tie) Lakeland – Brad Govan is  a STRAIGHT G both on the court and off!!!
9 (tie) Holly – Can probably challenge C-Town for title of most deadly shooting squad in the OC….YEAH I SAID IT!!           
10 OL St. Mary's – Will round into shape soon

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Stepping In & Stepping Up

Historic hoop heaven Pontiac and two-time defending Class D boys basketball state champion Southfield Christian have both started its respective seasons minus their head coaches.
Longtime Pontiac head coach Robert Rogers is on a personal leave and his expected back at the beginning of the New Year.
Josh Baker, the architect of what is the Eagles DYNASTY (YEAH, I SAID IT!!), is out of action until after Christmas dealing with family medical issues.
Stepping in for Rogers in YAKTOWN is JV head coach Damon Odneal.
Temporarily replacing Baker on the bench at SCS is highly-respected area assistant coach Clennie Brundidge. Baker convinced Brundidge to come on his staff in the Eagles Nest last winter, following three seasons on the sidelines at Southfield, helping lead the Bluejays to three consecutive Class A district titles and back-to-back appearances in the final four. He spawns from the best possible coaching stock, having hemmed his own impressive D1 college resume under Coach K with Army in the late 1970s.
Both Pontiac and Southfield Christian are undefeated at 2-0.
Great job fellas!!
Don't worry Rog and JB, Dame and Clennie got your backs!!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Burney's All-OC Grid Awards

Burney's 2013 All-OC football awards
Offensive player of the year; Ian Eriksen (Clarkston)
Defensive player of the year; Jason Alessi (Brother Rice)
MVP: Alex Malzone (Brother Rice)
Small School MVP: Kameron Garner (S. Christian)
MIP: Chauncey Bridges (North Farmington); D.J. Zezula (Clarkston)
Rising Star Award; Josh Holloman (AH Avondale)
Coach of the Year; Kyle Schultz (Waterford Kettering)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Burney's All-County Football Team - Part 2

Burney's ALL-OC 2013 Football Team - Part 2
FB Austin Brown (Brother Rice)
FB Blake ReHahn (Clarkston)
TE Kyle Baldwin (MH Madison)
TE Luke Bezerra (Troy Athens)
DL David Beedle (Clarkston)
DL Nick Matich (Clarkston)
DL A. Sandoval-J. Dunaway-D. Perkovic (Brother Rice)
DL Dylan Roney (Catholic Central)
DL Lawrence Marshall (Southfield)
DL Malik McDowell (Southfield)
LB Dom Monson (Clarkston)
LB Jordan Jenkins (Catholic Central)
LB Jack Grisan (Brother Rice)
LB Jack Van Alman (Stoney Creek)
LB Austin Wood (Waterford Kettering)
LB Johnny Simmons (WL Western)
CB Timmy Cason (Clarkston)
CB Chris Carter (Brother Rice)
CB Johnny Kelly (Oak Park)
CB Jalen Watts-Jackson (OL St. Mary's)
CB Kameron Garner (Southfield Christian)
S Jason Alessi (Brother Rice)
S Dylan Kanaan-Andrew Barton (Seaholm)
S Sean Scullen (Stoney Creek)
S Reid Kaminski (Clarkston)
S Juan Johnson (MH Madison)
UTL Caine Watlington (Clarkston)
UTL Jermaih Johnson (Pontiac NDP)
K Shane Hynes (Clarkston)
Ret Spec Jamar Antwine (Pontiac)