Thursday, January 31, 2013
New Under Center
Southfield has itself a new field general. Jalen Brady, considered by most experts one of the better quarterbacks in the state's Class of 2014, has transferred to Southfield from Grand Ledge after his family moved into Oakland County two weeks ago. He will be eligible in the fall, moving under center for the Bluejays gridiron gang immediately. At 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, Brady is a classic drop-back passer. His style of game on the football field is reminiscent of a local prep version of Seattle Seahawks star rookie signal-caller Russell Wilson Over the past two seasons at Grand Ledge, Brady led the Comets to a 15-6 overall record and into the playoffs in both 2011 and 2012. In 2013, Brady will joins forces with returning Southfield standouts Lawrence Marshall (DL), the county's most highly-rated college recruit, Jordan Cry (LB), Ray Buford (WR) and Devonte Alfred (WR) to make the Bluejays tough to stop once again. Brady is set to replace Tre Walton as Southfield's starting quarterback, with Walton heading off to play receiver in college at Grand Valley State. Head coach Tim Conley had guided the 'Jays into the postseason in four of the past five years, capturing district crowns in three of those campaigns.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Five For Fighting - Under the Radar
Five For Fighting: Most Underrated boys hoopsters in the OC
1 Luke Short (South Lyon) – Incredibly versatile guard that quietly has the Lions in the hunt for a league title and himself a frontrunner in the race for KLAA MVP honors...the term 'REAL DEAL HOLYFIELD' comes to mind when thinking of Short's play on the hardwood
2 Zack Littleson (Rochester Hills Adams) – Might be the best pure forward in the whole county….YEAH, I SAID IT!!!! Can destroy opponents inside and out, has ironclad work ethic and leadership ability, knack for killing in the clutch 3 Kyle Ervin (Birmingham Groves) – Eruptive force whether on the wing or in the paint….could be the MVP on his league and MIP of the entire OAA 4 T.J. Warren (Walled Lake Central) – very, very good and very, very, undervalued….just does so many things on both ends of the floor for the Vikings, one of the premiere playmakers in the OC's stacked backcourt crop this winter 5 Jeff Greer (Southfield) – Not flashy, looks like he should be a weak link when seeing the team go through lay-up lines before tip-off, however, once the whistle blows, this kid's a force of nature and the most important cog in the Bluejays wheel which drives the TEAM TEASLEY baller brigade
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Burney's Boys BBall Rankings - Like It Hot
1 Birmingham DCD – 'Jackets senior captain and star combo guard Austin Price put up a double-double last week, who does this guy think he is Greg Monroe? 2 RH Adams – Zack Littleson reached SWAGGER LEVEL THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND TRILLION recently…..Mad Props is deserved!!! 3 Clarkston – With Wolfpack senior Jordan Dasuqi missing the first couple weeks of the season, I almost forgot how good this kid is…..good thing the OC's own Milkman has been there to keep me in check the last month with sizzling outings time after time again 4 (tie) Rochester – James Young will be a 1st round NBA Draft pick in the next 3 years…..TAKE IT TO THE BANK!!! 4 (tie) Southfield – 'Jays will be flying high again soon…..MARK THAT DOWN!! 5 North Farmington – Got smacked in the mouth on Friday vs. Clarkston in their own crib, Team NOGO needs some bounce-back MOJO…….The Raiders own Buddha Man – eat your heart out James Edwards – says no problem and delivers it this week….Yeah, I SAID IT!! 6 FH Harrison – A.J. Freeman is the best shooter in Metro Detroit that nobody knows about….so I'm gonna tell'em…….I've decided to start calling him 'MR FREEZE' 'cause this Hawks Hardwood Homeboy has icewater running through his veins when pulling the trigger from downtown 7 Southfield Christian – Welcome to OPERATION REPEAT; sophomore forward Blake Washington, a SIR-GRIND-A-LOT specialist coming into the mix with the Eagles via the CHSL….B-DUB dropped a 10-spot in his debut in an SCS uniform 8 WL Central – Vikes junior Phil Nelson is full of potential, passion and POWER on the court 9 Waterford Mott – TEAM Jayson is not going to let go of that league crown without a scrap, I'll guarantee you that!!! 10 Lake Orion – Back in Burney's rankings and ready to stay put this time around HM: WL Western, Pontiac, Southfield-Lathrup, BH Lahser, Birmingham Seaholm
Monday, January 28, 2013
Alexander the Great
A name you need to be looking out for on the local HS football recruiting landscape is Walled Lake Western's Alex Joss. This kid is a tank, a straight bulldozer of an offensive lineman. Checking in at a rippling and rugged 6-foot-5, 280 pounds, Joss is a prototype left tackle in the trenches, protecting the quarterback and clearing lanes for ball-carriers to blaze through on their way to the end zone. Next fall, Joss will be entering his third year on WLW's varsity gridiron squad. Last season as a junior, he was a first-team all-league pick and helped guide the Warriors to their second straight district title. The MAC schools are swirling already – i.e. Ball State, WMU, CMU, EMU and Toledo – and I expect the bigger boys to get in on the action, too, very soon. Over the weekend, he was on a visit up in Mt. Pleasant with the Chipps. WLW running backs like Malik Green, DeSean Walker and James LaLonde will be thanking their lucky stars every game this upcoming 2013 campaign that Joss is still around to open holes and maul any defenders that get within arms-length. In other words, expect the Warriors to have one of the best rushing attacks in the area once again and Joss to be the King of the Pancake in the KLAA!!
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Leaping From the Shadows
Little-known Pontiac Academy of Excellence is living up to its name on the boys basketball court this winter – they've been nothing short of spectacular. Sparking the flame for the team is one of the true diamonds in the rough on the OC hoops scene. His name is "Neon" Deon Fears and he's a dash of fantastic whenever he's got the ball in his hands. Fears is averaging a robust double-double of 26 points and 14 rebounds per night. Sa'Vonne Keys and Ja'Shaun Goldsmith are integral cogs in the squad's victory mobile as well. For the first time in school history, PAE got votes in the AP's Class D state rankings this week – a major feat taking into account how 'off the map' the program is. This Friday, they'll face their biggest test, going toe-to-toe with Class C powerhouse and currently undefeated Melvindale ABT. Burney can't wait to see what happens!!!
Friday, January 25, 2013
Re-Charged & Ready
Don't write off Southfield-Lathrup on the boys basketball floor just yet. The Chargers are slowly, but steadily, putting the pieces of their season back together. After Thursday's 87-86 besting of Pontiac in OAA Red action, Lathrup is on a two-game winning streak. With star player, Jon-Jon Williams (Toledo) finally healthy again - he had 31 points on Thursday - following being sidelined for a couple games with a small injury and the addition of newcomers, Ja'Christian Biles and Chris Boatman, the Chargers are primed for a late-season run. Lathrup was ranked by some experts a Top 25 team in the state at the start of the year, however, up until recently, had failed to live up to expectations - they were 2-8 prior to finding their footing lately with their two straight victories. The pedal is to the medal and the results could be surprising….i.e. the Chargers being fast-rising sleepers entering the Big Dance aka the state tournament come March. If Jon-Jon is out there wearing a Chargers' uniform, Lathrup has a chance to win any game it plays - POINT BLANK!!!. He's simply fabulous. Biles is an athletic 6-foot-7 junior forward that can hurt opponents from the post and the perimeter. Last year, he had a strong sophomore campaign, but didn't join the team until recently this season due to internal issues, which have now been resolved. In his first game back, he busted loose for 24 points, banging home four 3-balls, demonstrating his quick-developing outside game. Boatman, a transfer from Southfield Bradford, just got eligible this week and should help out in the backcourt, allowing Williams to go off-ball and hand over point guard duties. As a junior at Bradford, Boatman was an all-league pick on a state-ranked Class C squad.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Zero Dark Awesome
In one of the great Division II college recruiting coups of the year, Ferris State's football program got itself a doozy of a steal on Wednesday when Novi Detroit CC's Anthony Darkangelo, a three-time all-Catholic League selection on the gridiron, committed to the Bulldogs. Darkangelo was a two-way superstar, excelling on offense at running back and on defense at linebacker since his sophomore season in 2010. He has a Division I-caliber skill-set and a non-stop motor. The word playmaker comes to mind when describing his prowess in the pigskin trade. Last fall, Darkangelo recorded more than 1,000 total yards from scrimmage, scored 13 touchdowns and racked up 84 tackles and five quarterback sacks. In his time wearing the Shamrocks Blue&White, he helped take the storied CC program to three consecutive district championships and two straight appearances in the state finals. Ferris State was 7-4 in 2012 and has found recent success recruiting in Oakland County. Darkaneglo's commitment is the fourth from the area's prep ranks in the past month. Back in December, the Oak Park trio of Brian Williams (WR), Brandon Harding (WR) and Malik Washington (RB) all decided to come on board at FSU.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Stoney Creek alum Eric Fisher is big time. The current CMU Chippewa is projected as a first-round NFL Draft pick. The 6-foot-7, 295-pound offensive lineman has been dominating practices at the Senior Bowl this week down in Alabama. There is a chance he could be the first line prospect taken in the entire draft come April. This guy is a BOSS, a HOSS and the PRINCE of the PANCAKKE!!! A multi-year starter at left tackle for the Chips up in Mount Pleasant, Fisher buoyed an O-Line unit that only allowed 15 sacks in 2012, despite an out-of-conference schedule where CMU faced numerous BCS schools. While at Stoney Creek in the late 2000s, Fisher starred on the football field and the basketball floor.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Burney's Boys BBall Rankings - To The Max
1 Birmingham DCD – Don't bet against the Keener Kage Krew this winter…TAKE IT 2 THE BANK!! 2 RH Adams – I'm going to go out on a LIMB and say Highlanders big guy Ben Limb has been one of the real pleasant surprises of the local prep hoops season so far 3 Clarkston – Playing really, really, well right now!! 4 (tie) Rochester – I can't figure out which Jason Lee I like better, the Falcons junior point guard or the actor from My Name is Earl……I'll go with my main man J-Lee from the Rochester hoop squad!! 4 (tie) Southfield – Has lost 2 of 3, needs to re-find its footing as the heart of the OAA Red race is about to begin 5 North Farmington – These next two weeks will show if the Raiders are for real…..as in potential OAA Red Champion, possible long tourney run for real!!! 6 FH Harrison – All Burney can say is……WOW!!! 7 BH Lahser – OC 2013 prep sports dictionary; entry No. 1, MATEN=DOMINATION!! 8 (tie) Southfield Christian – Leonard Crosby is stealing the show lately for the Eagles……don't leave this guy open!!! 8 (tie) Pontiac – DeCory Thompson is DELICIOUS on the prep hardwood!!! 9 WL Central – Should be higher in these rankings……Vikings are REAL AS STEEL this season…first-year WLC head coach Chuck Spolsky – WILL OF A CHAMPION!!! 10 Waterford Mott – Corsairs senior two-sport STUD Justice Bolling – All-OC first-team football pick at wide receiever – might be the top X-factor guy in the whole KLAA this winter on the basketball floor
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Lining It Up
A tantalizing trifecta of offensive linemen from the local prep football ranks committed to colleges over the weekend. Troy's Greg (Moose) Weber and Tommy Richardson committed to Wayne State, while Birmingham Brother Rice's Griffin Anderson committed to Penn. Weber was a four-year starter for the Colts. Teaming with Richardson the past few years, the pair of brutes anchored a Troy O-Line that was one of the best in the area and turned out 100-yard rushers like a candy dispenser at your neighborhood drug store. Anderson started in the trenches for back-to-back Brother Rice state championship teams, helping spur a pair of Warriors tailbacks (Devin Church in 2011 and Brian Walker in 2012) to record-breaking campaigns. Wayne State went 5-5 this fall. Penn finished 6-4, with a sparkling 6-1 mark in the Ivy League.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Comings and Goings
One fast-rising prep athlete from the Class of 2015 is leaving the OC, an another is on his way here. After a short stay at Southfield, sophomore hoop stud Marquell Ingram has left the Bluejays and is headed down to North Carolina to attend prep school. A natural scorer who is great at creating his own shot, the 6-foot-2 Ingram landed at Southfield in December and had some trouble integrating himself into the Bluejays' veteran-dominated lineup that has been part of back-to-back district championship clubs. Ingram scored a season-high 18 points last week. While Southfield's cage contingent is losing Ingram, across the border in Oak Park the Knights athletic department is gaining the services of two-sport standout Rodney Scales, an up-and-comer on the football field and basketball floor. Moving into the district from Inkster, Scales is a silky, long, 6-foot-6 lefty that will be in school at Oak Park on Monday and immediately eligible to suit up for the Knights hoop squad. Maybe more importantly, Scales is expected to fill the void under center for Oak Park's football team in the fall. Not only is Scales considered a top basketball prospect in the state's sophomore class, he's also a real cannon-armed whiz in a gridiron uniform calling signals as a quarterback. Led by a strong incoming junior class – which now includes Scales –, Oak Park's football team, winners of league and district titles in 2012, has a bright future and will be contenders again in 2013.
Friday, January 18, 2013
Back on The Market
Walled Lake Western senior football star Josh Jones has re-opened his college recruiting. On Thursday, Jones, a fast, strong, and athletic 6-foot-2, 215-pound safety, de-committed from the University of Illinois. Sources say he is now deciding between North Carolina State of the ACC, Pitt of the Big East and Colorado of the Big 12. This is Jones' second de-commitment during his recruiting process. He de-committed from Toledo last spring before pledging his allegiance to the Fighting Illini. As a junior, Jones helped navigate Walled Lake Western on a trip into the final four. Back in the fall during his senior campaign, he led them to a second straight district championship. Jones, who runs a 4.4 40-yard dash, is also a dangerous return specialist, upping his value even further on the DI recruiting scene.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Parker McInnis is joining the Grand Valley State recruiting party. McInnis, Orchard Lake St. Mary's star senior running back, committed to GVSU Thursday, keeping the OC pipeline to Allendale thriving as always. An all-league pick in the backfield in the fall, McInnis helped lead the Eagles to a Catholic League crown and a spot in the state championship game. GVSU is a D2 national power and the Lakers love feeding on local prep gridiron talent. The McInnis commitment is the sixth pledge from the area high school ranks to come on board with head coach Matt Mitchell and his staff in the past month. Clarkston linebacker Chris Calvano committed last week. In 2011, McInnis, his brother Spencer (now playing at Miami (OH) and his first cousin Grant Niemiec (committed to Miami (OH)) shared a backfield and took OLSM to a state title.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
The Bench Report
The twelve best head coaching jobs being done on the local prep boys basketball scene; Josh Baker (Southfield Christian) – Built tiny SCS into a genuine area hoops power – regardless of class size – in less than two years Lance Baylis (Holly) – Has the Baby Bronchos Ballers growing up fast and fearless Gary Fralick (Troy) – Proving the master motivator in getting his Colts ready to roll after James Young left the team back in August….Coach Fralick is the kind of sideline general I would have loved to suited up for!! John Hall (RH Adams) – This year might be Coach Hall's top all-time coaching effort Doug Host (South Lyon) – Coach of the Year in the OC? Alonso Littlejohn (Oak Park) – Littlejohn (aka Mr. Little Ma' Power) has his Knights playing big and the role of darkhorse in the race for the OAA White Steve Norgrove (Stoney Creek) – Excellent rebuilding job coming off a winless 2012 campaign Jason Pickett (FH Harrison) – Coach Pickett has the Hawks flying towards heights they've never reached before on the high school hardwood Jeff Rubin (BH Andover) – Constructing a well-deserving reputation on the sidelines as as someone who does a lot with a little….plain and simple!! Ed Schaffer (Birmingham Brother Rice) – Approaching the midpoint of the season, Coach Schaffer is without question the CHSL Coach of the Year Chuck Spolsky (WL Central) – The word 'seamless' comes to mind when thinking of the transitions made from the Butcher to Spolsky regimes in VIKINGLAND Brian Tass (Novi) – Instilling all the right ingredients to bring the Wildcats back to form on the court…..maybe the most underrated head coach in the OC
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
On The Prowl
In a matter of less than two years on the bench instilling his impassioned and rapid-paced brand of hoops philosophy and culture, Oxford girls basketball coach Steve Emert, has shepherded his Wildcats from basement-dwellers to the penthouse The master motivator and tactician, Emert has O-Town looking mighty lethal at the mid-point of the season. Emert's club has experience, leadership and a spirited youth-infusion. Senior standouts Shelby Davis, Miranda Murphy, Kelsey Harrison and Meagan Neff make up the core and the heart and soul of the team. Sophomore sensation Jessica Murphy, Miranda's little sister, is the squad's leading scorer and the Wildcat Cager Cub you should most look out for great things in the future. But the future is now for Oxford, a frontrunner in the race for an OAA league crown. Like all Emert teams, the 'Cats run-and-gun and as their coach likes to say, "bring full court pressure from the second we get off the bus." "Our hard work is netting positive results," the longtime sideline general said. "They trust in each other and they believe in each other on the court. We're creating scoring opportunities from our press and having a lot of fun competing. The process has been extremely rewarding for both me and the girls." Prior to last season, Emert had been retired from the coaching profession for several years, after successful stints with Walled Lake Central's boys and girls teams and at the helm of the woman's program at OCC. Then he got the itch and jumped back in the game. Two of Emert's former star players are coaching boys prep teams in Oakland County: Walled Lake Northern's Ron Thompson (1993) and North Farmington's Todd Negoshian (1998). Thompson's senior year at Central was Emert's best season on the bench with the boys, going 25-0 out of the gate, before losing to eventual Class A state champion Detroit Pershing in the Class A Elite Eight. In 1995, Emert coached the Central girls into the Class A state finals.
Monday, January 14, 2013
Burney's Boys BBall Rankings - Money Ball
1 Birmingham DCD – 'Jackets playing at their stinging best right now, just so tough!!! 2 RH Adams – The 2013 Highlander Hoop Squad is kicking butt and taking names…..these guys are like a runaway freightrain, barreling over everything in their path and I don't see them slowing down anytime soon……Make a note of that 3 Rochester – I'm ready to see how the Falcons respond from getting hit in the mouth last week 4 (tie) North Farmington – Jacob Joubert might be a FAB FROSH, but he plays like a seasoned vet……STAR IN THE MAKING in NOGOLAND!!!! 4 (tie) Clarkston – Wolfpack hitting their stride!!!! WAR the C-Town backcourt of Steady Rock D aka Drew Myers, The MILKMAN, "Slick Nick" Owens, Mason "On Fire" Vires and Press "The K-Man" Kampe
5 BH Lahser – Might have the best team chemistry in the OC....MARK THAT DOWN!
6 Southfield – Bluejays' PRIDE will PREVAIL this week!!! 7 Pontiac – The 'V' in Phoenix junior floor general Vezzie Carthane's first name is for VICTORY!!! 8 Southfield Christian – Junior sparkplug guard Ben Cookingham is really COOKING on the court lately….WATCH OUT!!! 9 Waterford Mott – Khalil Malone = BEAST MODE ACHIEVED! 10 (tie) WL Central – T.J. Warren = SWAGGER LEVEL THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND TRILLION ACHIEVED!!!! 10 (tie) WL Western – Team RA'RA will show their true colors this week in how they bounce back from losing to Central Friday…..BURNEY knows the end result will be a whopping success!!!
Sunday, January 13, 2013
What Used To Be
Let's take a look back at the 10 best prep boys basketball teams in the area ten years ago according to the Oakland Press's 2013 preview; 1 Pontiac Northern – The two-time defending Class A state champion Huskies featured returning starters Antonio Bonds (PG), James Smith (C) and John Cantrell (G) and fabulous sixth-man Bates Gay (F). Brian Abram stepped into his brother Lester's starting spot when LA headed to the college ranks up in Ann Arbor at Michigan. Three-point bombardier Mike Morris and athletic and gritty reserves Arthur Wilson, Kenny Long, Craig Ash and Anthony Cato made up a formidable bench unit. 2 Birmingham DCD – Purdue-commit Ije Nwankwo and all-state point guard Brandon Bradford led the '03 Jackets attack. Standout shooting guard Gerome Hunter and future UK Wildcat Mark Coury and Fab Frosh Omar Thomas rounded out The KEENER KAGE KREW starting five. 3 OL St. Mary's – The talented trifecta of John Andrews, Tony Watkins and Robert Jolley headed the Eaglets' hardwood assault, with sparkplugs like Tyrone Prentiss, Andre Ratliff, Bruce Smothers and Kenny Porritt admirably flanking them. 4 Pontiac Central – Tenacious big fella Rashawn Redmond was the centerpiece of the Chiefs hoop brigade ten years ago. Derrick Rousser and Jason Roberts handled perimeter duties. 5 Birmingham Groves – A pair of dazzling future D1'ers in Euro Dynamo Vova Severovas and point guard Giordan Watson had the Falcons flying a decade back. Senior Matt Osher was another leader of the pack for the G Men 6 Southfield-Lathrup – Brent Williams, Tonjua Jones and Ryan Carthage were the straws that's stirred the drink in Mike Avery's first year at the helm of the Chargers ship 7 Clarkston – The '03 Wolves took a trip to the Elite Eight on the shoulders of a powerful post attack spearheaded by star junior center Chris Johnston. C-Town's captains were Justin Whetstone and Matt Orris. 8 Pontiac Notre Dame Prep – The Fighting Irish were a veteran-laden group in 2003, highlighted by the likes of rock-solid players Matt Geyer and Mark Garza 9 WL Central – Before he departed for OLSM, future OU backcourt stud Brandon Cassise was torching the twine for the '03 Vikings Ship, alongside Brad Burkhart and Anthony Finn 10 Southfield – Future University of Illinois football player DaJuan Warren navigated the Bluejays Baller Bunch in '03 HM: West Bloomfield – The WB shocked everyone that year, making a memorable run into the Class A final four. '03 LAKESHOW ROLL CALL; future UofM starter and captain David Merritt, Mondo Martin, Kevin Lamb, Kyle Flancbaum, Eddie Richardson, Zach Hilbers (current WB girls hoop coach), Terrance Turner and Julian Frazier
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Coming On Board
The resurrection for the state's Eastside High School All-Star football squad took another big step towards getting the ship righted, bringing on Southfield head coach Tim Conley and Pontiac Notre Dame Prep head coach Kyle Zimmerman as the team's top assistants. Walled Lake Western head coach Mike Zdebski was recently named the head coach for the Eastsiders, on the heels of last year's embarrassing lopsided loss to the West All-Stars. Conley and Zimmerman are superb snags in the East squad's effort to bring the pigskin power back to this part of the state. The pair are without question two of the top up-and-coming young sideline tacticians in the area. The past five years, Conley's Bluejays have qualified for the playoffs four times and have captured three district titles. Zimmerman is 19-3 over the past two seasons at NDP, putting together a 22-game regular-season win-streak between 2010-2012.
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
The More The Merrier
Michigan Tech just got itself a couple of primetime playmakers on the gridiron. Holly's highlight-prone pair of football stars, seniors Johnny Williams and Evin Papuga, both committed to play in college at Michigan Tech this week. Williams' emergence as a star under center in 2010 triggered a resurgence in the town's football program. A three-year starter, he quarterbacked the Bronchos into the playoffs as a sophomore and junior and concluded his prep career back in the fall as the school's all-time leading rusher. This season as a senior, he combined for more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage – rushing for 1440 yards and throwing for 705 yards, while scoring 25 touchdowns. Papuga played all over the field for the Bronchos, lining up at running back, wide receiver, linebacker and safety. Like his high school and future college teammate Williams, Papuga knows how to fill a stat sheet. He scored 15 touchdowns in the fall on offense and recorded 75 tackles and seven sacks on defense. There is no question, both Williams and Papuga are great grabs for the Michigan Tech pigskin program. Michigan Tech went 7-3 in 2012 during a campaign where the Huskies carried seven former Oakland County prepsters on their roster, including their starting quarterback, Tyler Scarlett (Clarkston).