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.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Orange Crush Nation

It's finally baseball season and around the OC that means Birmingham Brother Rice diamond-cutting time.
Alright let's ORANGE CRUSH Roll Call it for the 2014 campaign;
Matt Ruppenthal (P) – PURE POWER on the mound, most imposing starting hurler in the state (oh, yeah, he can shred like a Big Leaguer with a bat in his grasp and play a mean SS, too....all Burney can say is...WOW!!)
Nick Plummer (OF) – Nick the Stick is the definition of FIVE TOOL, just so skilled in so many ways
Ty Kiafoulis (professional slugger) – This kid has such a sweet stroke at the plate….a threat to go YARD every at bat
Randy Righter (P/IF) – If loving this DIAMOND DANDY is wrong, I don't want to be right….The most underrated player in the state (TAKE IT 2 THA BANK!!), does it all and does it with class
Alex Malzone (IF/P) – The Human Highlight Zone aka the OC Golden God has the Midas Touch….anything he lays his hands on (a football, a baseball bat, mitt) turns to bright, shining gold…..this spring will be more of the same
Sammy Stevens (C) – The consummate field captain behind the plate sporting some heavy lumber and a cannon of an arm to keep opposing baserunners at bay
Freddy Jehle (IF) – "Fab 5 Freddy" has the slickest glove in Metro Detroit……YEAH, I SAID IT!!
Bobby Cross (IF/P) – Mr. Hot Sauce himself aka Hot SIZZLE BOBBY CRIZZLE is ready to UNLEASH THE FURY on the comp in his final season on the OC prep diamond….WATCH OUT!!
Johnny Garry (OF) – JG is a Burney Sleeper Special….think TNT..…this kid is ready to EXPLODE in the stat sheet in 2014 (and beyond)
Tommy Lentz (UTL) – Just like his big bro, this guy can really hack at the dish
Dominic Downs & Davis Feldman (OF) – A pair of junior stalwarts that will patrol the outfield and carry their weight at the plate and on the base paths
Jeff Timko, Preston Pilat, Karl Kauffman – This three-pack of sensational sophomores will do some serious damage this spring…YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!!!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Award Season - Boys Cage Contingent

2014 OC boys basketball awards
MVP – Yante Maten (Bloomfield Hills)
MIP – A. Jonathan Radner (Berkley) B. Kevin Hayes (Birmingham Brother Rice)
6th Man of the Year – Cameron Dalton (Bloomfield Hills)
Comeback POY – Charlie Ryan (Novi Detroit Catholic Central)
Coach of the Year - Clennie Brundidge (Southfield Christian)
Player to watch for in '15 – Trishton Jackson (West Bloomfield)
Burney Bonus Baller Award – Charlie Carson (Stoney Creek)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Burney's All-OC Boys BBall Team

2014 All-OC Boys Hoops Squad
Dream Team
G Edmond Sumner (Birmingham DCD) - The best point guard in the storied annals of 'Jackets boys hoops.....Yeah I SAID IT!! (and that's saying quite a bit)
G Ahkemji Williams (RH Adams)- Just so electrifying in the backcourt.....I haven't seen many better in my time covering the prep cage scene in the area!!
G/F Jake Daniels (Holly) - Top OC talent that not a lot of people know about...a straight assassin with the rock in his hands!!!
F Buddha Rogers (North Farmington) - Very complete, a 'superstar's superstar', has the most finely-tuned internal motor of any kid I've ever covered at his age!!
C Yante Maten (Bloomfield Hills) - Could not have had a better season, pure DESTRUCTION in the paint, relentless competitor, rare skill-set, maybe the best big fella the OC has seen in a decade!!
1st Team
G Armand Cartwright (Bloomfield Hills)
G Nick Owens (Clarkston)
G/F Maceo Baston, Jr. (Birmingham DCD)
F Marcus Bailey (WL Western)
C Mike Nicholson (Clarkston)
2nd Team
G Justin Nafso (WL Central)
G Jared Ocampo (Clawson)
G/F Ja'Christian Biles (Oak Park)
F Marlow Brown (Southfield Christian)
C Brad Govan (Lakeland)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Award Season - Girls Cage Contingent

2014 OC girls basketball awards
MVP; Erika Davenport (Clarkston)
MIP; A. Elise Tolbert (Birmingham Seaholm); B. Brittany Gray (B'Ham Marian)
Comeback POY; Megan Carter (North Farmington)
6th Lady of the Year; Tyler Parlor (FH Mercy)
Fab Frosh of the Year: A. Deja Church (Southfield-Lathrup); B. Destiny Pitts (Birmingham DCD)
Coach of the Year: January Hladki (Birmingham Seaholm)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Burney's All-OC Girls BBall Team

ALL-OC 2014 girls hoops crew
G Candice Leatherwood (FH Mercy) - Lady Magic...'NUFF SAID!!
G Lauren Hung (Waterford Mott) - Coldblooded assassin out of the backcourt, well-honed sniper skills, killer finisher
G Asia Doss (Birmingham DCD) - The picturesque point guard, continuing on the tradition of TEAM ORLANDO prep greats
F/G THE HAWKSNATION Big 3 (FH Harrison) - Kristen Nelson, Amber Stephens and Kyla Roland are as formidable a trifecta as the OC has seen in a while......and they're coming back to defend their OAA Red crown in 2015...pretty scary huh?
F Erika Davenport (Clarkston) - Simply SPECTACULAR!!! Best player in the county, bar none!!
F Amber Jamison (RH Adams) - Peerless post presence on both ends of the floor, a human, walking-talking double-double....just so hard to handle around the rim it's sick (Thera-Flun anyone?)
C Allyssa Copley (Holly) - Definition of consistency, diversity and complete DEVASTATION in the paint
1st Team
G Kerri McMahan (Novi)
G Shannon Wilson (Bloomfield Hills)
G Bailey Thomas (Birmingham Marian)
F Kara Holinski (Birmingham Marian)
F Lauren Voss (Stoney Creek)
C Samantha Thomas (Birmingham Marian)
2nd Team
G Mackenzie Harbort (Birmingham Seaholm)
G Kristen Massey (Novi FR Christian)
G Megan Carter (North Farmington)
G Marissa Zandi (Stoney Creek)
F The Tewes Sisters – Hailey & Lauren (Waterford Kettering)
F Jessica Murphy (Oxford)
F Taylor Jones (FH Mercy)
F Sarah LewAllen (Pontiac NDP)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Ringing The Bell

It's not even April yet and the Oak Park 2014 football squad has already placed two of its players at the DI level.
Senior-to-be Shahid Bellamy (6-foot-3, 265 pounds), one of the top defensive linemen in the state, committed to Central Michigan this weekend, just a week removed from linebacker Junior McMullen giving his 'verbal' to Western Michigan.
Bellamy is a bundle to handle in the trenches; He's speedy and stout and can play nose guard or tackle. His natural run-plugging skills are unteachable and quite scary to witness – he devours ball-carriers in a single swoop.
As a sophomore, he collected 70 tackles and seven sacks in helping lead Oak Park to a league and district championship. Last fall as a junior, Bellamy racked up 80 tackles and eight quarterback takedowns.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Kings Of The Castle.....Again

Southfield Christian 3PEAT ROLL CALL: all hail the THREE TIME defending Class D state boys basketball champion EAGLESNATION!!
Bakari Evelyn – Boy Wonder does it again!!!! Was there ever any doubt? BURNEY THINKS NOT!!
Lindsey Hunter IV – Plain and simple, LH4 has unlimited shooting range…..think RAY ALLEN!!
Kameron Garner – The toughest kid you'll ever find!!! Get's the WILLIS REED/ISAIAH THOMAS award for gutty effort with the season on the line, after he came back in the game to nail a key bucket late following being mauled on a play in the first half...NAILS!!
Marlo Brown – Just so smart, so skilled, so steady, so surefire in everything he does on the hardwood
Damarco White – Has an upside that's through the roof in the paint, whichever college lands this 6-foot-7 post stud is going to be very, very lucky
Jalen Bouldes – They call him Butter cause he 's just so smooth, came through huge with LH4 fouling out, connecting on what wound up being the state championship game's winning-shot; an AND1 on a drive into the teeth of the Lenawee Christian's D
Ben Cookingham, Kasan Belgrave & Harding Fears – The X-FACTORS!!!....'NUFF SAID!!
Brock Washington & Richard Feagin – The FUTURE!!!....'NUFF SAID!!!

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Great Wall

One of the nastiest three-sport studs in the OC is heading to the SAGNASTY.
Yeah, that's right, Walled Lake Western senior David Walczyk recently signed with Saginaw Valley State University to play college baseball.
Versatile as he is good, D-WALL can catch, pitch, play first, third or patrol the outfield. Currently checking in at 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, he's a SHRED SPECIALIST at the dish, hitting 500 last spring as a junior.
Can you say TOTAL PACKAGE?
SVSU is 3-9 out of the gate in 2014.
Walczyk is a beast on the football field and basketball court as well.
Last fall for the Western gridiron gang, D-WALL was D-LICIOUS, aka maybe the most reliable wide receiver in the entire area. He had 42 grabs for 650 yards and 12 touchdowns and helped lead the Warriors aka TEAM Z to a league championship.
On the hardwood, Walczyk has aided greatly in the TEAM RA RA resurrection project, playing tough as nails (per usual) in the paint.
This is a super kid, too. The kind you want on your club and in the locker room.
Welcome to Cardinalland D-WALL!! Burney thinks it's going to be a magnificent fit for the both of ya!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Getting Down & Dirty

It's never too early to gaze into the future…….
The Dirty Dozen – Top 12 girls basketball players in the OC for the 2015 campaign
1 Erika davenport (Clarkston) – Might be the best player in the whole state…..STRAIGHT DOMINATION !!!
2 Amber Jamison (RH Adams) – Just devours the competition on the blocks, athletic, smart and an endless motor
3 Kristin Nelson (FH Harrison) – Has a game that's as cool as the other side of my pillow….does it all and does is so smooth
4 Deja Church (S-Lathrup)-Destiny Pitts (DCD) – The best two sophomores in the OC and maybe the entire Mitten
5 Megan Carter (North Farmington) – The total package in the backcourt
6 Taylor Jones (FH Mercy) – Long, lean and mean on the wing
7 Mackenzie Harbort (Birmingham Seaholm) – The perfect point guard, plain and simple!!
8 Jessica Murphy (Oxford) – Could be the best pure scorer in the OC, defines the term 'nose for the hoop'
9 Kyla Roland (FH Harrison) – Versatile talent in the paint with outstanding leadership ability and superior touch and range  
10 Samantha Thomas-Kara Holinski (Birmingham Marian) – Most fearsome forward tandem in the Catholic League and possibly the state
11 Maria Zandi (Stoney Creek) – Phenomenal floor general with few equals at her position
12 Antoinette Miller (S-Lathrup) – Upside that's through the roof

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Five For Fighting - Eye Of The Hawk

FIVE FOR FIGHTING – Best performances from the Bloomfield Hills Black Hawks boys basketball squad Tuesday night in the Class A quarterfinals (a 74-68 takedown of Warren Mott)
1 Yante Maten – Just another day at the office for the Big Impact, 32 points, 18 rebounds and 10 blocked shots (this kid messes around a drops a triple-double like his name was Ice Cube!!) in front of a gallery of major DI coaches in the stands...need I say it again? okay I will......BEST POST PLAYER IN THE STATE BAR NONE!!!!!
2 KILLER Cam Dalton – The OC Microwave heated up in a hurry, showing a fearless ferocity in his competitive spirit, pulling the trigger on his 3bombs from practically the Lodge Freeway and sinking 4-of-6 of them for 15 points, capped by a four-point play in the fourth the propelled   
3 Armand Cartwright – The Dark Knight rose to the occasion AGAIN, inspiring and fueling his team with his leadership and intelligence in the backcourt, scoring 15 points, dishing six assists and corralling five rebounds in the Dub....I love what this kid brings to the table in so many ways on and off the floor, he's what being a BALLER&SHOTCALLER is all about
4 Xzavier Reynolds – X-Man was the X-Factor, making a critical steal and banging home a game-sealing triple in the waning minutes.....X marked the spot Tuesday for BlackHAWKSNation
5 Coach Graves & Coach Parker – Burney loves this 1-2 punch on the bench and they showed why with a masterful job keeping their club totally focused with controversy swirling in the days leading up to Elite 8

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Five For Fighting - Breslin Baller Edition

FIVE FOR FIGHTING – Top individuals outings from the Class A state girls basketball champion Birmingham Marian Mustangs this weekend in East Lansing at the Breslin Center
1 Samantha Thomas – The 'S' stands for SUPER WOMAN, as well as stupendous, sensational scintillating, sizzling, superb…Shall I continue? SAM I AM went for a game-high 15 points on Saturday in the Mustangs' 44-26 thrashing of Canton in the state finals, showing the GLAM-BAM type game that has her on the fast track to GREATNESS. (she was a thorn in her opponents' sides in the semifinals, too, going for 13 points and seven rebounds). BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID!!
2 Kara Holinski – Special K did a doozy of a demolition job against arch-nemesis Farmington Hills Mercy in Friday's semis, dropping a 20-point, 5-dime, 5-board effort in the 67-55 win. Can go 'Inside-Out' with the best the county has to offer, just so complete; i.e. sweet-stroke from deep, tenacious in the paint, very good passer, handler & finisher
3 Brittany Gray – Could be the most improved player in the area this winter….has been devastating in so many ways, the latest example being in the Mercy game Friday, where she posted a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. Despite the last name, there's no gray in BG's's as black&white as can be, plain and simple meaning she's DARN GOOD!!
4 Laura Bruton – Per usual, The Captain was all heart all weekend long……was there really any question? What a way to end it for this Marian MAULER that was the definition of THE ROCK OF GIBRALTER her entire career in the Blue & Yellow.
5 Bailey Thomas – TEAM CICERONE's tremendously potent pace-setter at the point of attack, this BEETLE BAILEY was zooming, zigging and zagging steering the Mustangs hardwood assault…Can U Say a Female Version of CHRIS PAUL?....YEAH, THAT GOOD!!

Friday, March 14, 2014

State Finals Flashback - Mustang Memories

Let's take a look back on Birmingham Marian's last trip into the girls basketball state finals.
It was 16 years ago in 1998 and TEAM CICERONE beat Saginaw Arthur Hill 59-45 to raise the program's fourth state title in school history.
Trailing 28-26 at halftime, the Mustangs rallied, outscoring the Lady Lumberjacks 17-7 in the third to coast to the crown.
Nicole Anaejiou recorded a double-double of 22 points and 10 boards to fuel Marian's attack.
Three separate players reached double-figures in the scoring column for the MIGHTY MUSTANG NATION in the game, which back then was held in Mount Pleasant at Rose Arena.
Anaejiou's effort was flanked by 17 points out of Kellie Byers and 11 points and eight rebounds from Augie Sheldon.
Marian finished 25-3 that year. The 2014 Mustangs are set to square off with Canton on Saturday in the Class A state championship game at the Breslin Center in East Lansing. GO HORSE!!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Goodbye & Good Luck, Fellas

Pontiac Notre Dame Prep held a pair of recent departure parties.
On Wednesday, Birmingham Detroit Country Day all-state senior basketball player Edmond Sumner concluded his prep career on the hardwood at NDP, when his Yellowjackets lost to Detroit Douglass, 69-56 in the Class B regional finals in the NDP gymnasium.
Late last month, NDP football coach Kyle Zimmerman left his post with the Fighting Irish to assume the reins on the gridiron at Davison.
Sumner, simply a FANTABULOUS 6-foot-4 floor general headed to Xavier and a Top 5 candidate for Mr. Basketball to boot, and Zimmerman, one of the fastest-rising young sideline generals in the state, are both the definition of class acts.
They each define winning and being a winner on and off the field of battle, as well.
Zimmerman was 43-19 wearing the head phones at NDP, a gleaming 27-6 the past three years and Sumner led DCD to a state championship last year as a junior, just a season removed from helping guide the 'Jackets to the final four.
No doubt, they both made quite a mark in the area during their time DOING THEIR THANG in the OC prep ranks and they will be dearly missed!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Add Another One

Nate Emery is back in Bloomfield Hills, adding some more movement to a busy OAA offseason in the prep football world that was reported on yesterday. NASTY NATE attended Bloomfield Hills Lahser as a Fab Frosh and Soph Sizzler on the gridiron, starting at tailback and cornerback, helping lead the Knights into the playoffs both years and earning first-team all-league in 2012. Then, last winter, he moved to Utica Eisenhower. Due to injuries, Emery only played four games. Now. he's returned home and is enrolled at Bloomfield Hills High School. Therefore, he'll be back in the OC for his senior campaign carrying the rock. Watch out Black Hawks opponents this kid is a straight shredder with a pair of cleats on, tearing up defenses with ferocity and efficiency. Welcome back to the fold, long lost friend, the OC is glad to see ya again!!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Changing Places

Some local prep football players have switched schools within the OAA and could be making significant impacts on the gridiron in their respective new uniforms this fall:
Khalid Kareem – A tough-as-nails and naturally instinctive linebacker, Kareem was at West Bloomfield last season, but is now at Farmington Hills Harrison. He made 77 tackles and racked up 7 sacks as a sophomore for the Lakers in 2013 and will team with incoming Hawks senior Mike Ojemudia (all-league MLB) to give defending district champion TEAM HERRINGTON a mighty formidable linebacker unit.
Varandre and Deandre White – Shifty, athletic and versatile, the White twins have made the move from Southfield to Oak Park for the end of their junior year and entire senior year and football season. They can each do several things well on the field and will line up for TEAM CARTER at a variety of different positions (SB-WR-KR-PR-CB).

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Five For Fighting - Fearless Friday

Five For Fighting – Best individual efforts on the boys basketball court on District Final Friday
1 Nick Pepin-Antonio Capaldi (MH Bishop Foley) – Can you say SEVEN PEAT!!!, Pepin pumped in a career-high 26 points and AC nailed the game-winning jumper as Bishop Foley pulled the upset, 57-55, knocking off favored Southfield Bradford and TEAM WEST took home a seventh straight district crown....When it comes tourney time, you just can't stop the Ventures, you can only hope to contain them (and that's pretty darn difficult)Peppin and Capaldi both have PHD's aka PLAYA HUSTLA DEGREES on and off the hardwood
2 Yante Maten (Bloomfield Hills) – Just another day at the office for The BIG IMPACT, Maten stuffed the stat sheet with ANOTHER triple-double, busting loose for 20 points, 22 rebounds and 11 blocked shots in leading the Black Hawks to an utter dismantling of FH Harrison…..BEST PLAYER IN THE OC in 2014 (YEAH I SAID IT!!)
3 Jason Boswell (OL St. Mary's) – THE BOZ was the DIFFERENCE in the Eaglets takedown of WL Western, with the scrappy junior floor general putting up 15 points and six assists in corralling OLSM that district trophy…this kid's a  STRAIGHT BOSS with the ball in his hands running an offense pure and simple!!!
4 Nick Robak (WOLL) – ROBOTRON was automatic on Friday in the LakeShow's 52-31 defeat of Birmingham Roeper, tickling the twine for a game-high 21 points to add a district championship (first in 7 years) to the Catholic League title (first in 22 years) he already guided TEAM ROBAK to….SWAGGER LEVEL FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND TRILLION ACHIEVED!!!
5 Drew Swanson-Dayton Wallis (Clarkston) – These SIR-GRIND-A-LOT Sparkplug Specials came off the pine and delivered big-time, both drilling game-securing 3s for the Wolfpack in their 61-42 downing of Stoney Creek that broke the program's rare two-year district-title drought

Friday, March 7, 2014

Stinging Sensation

Kalamazoo College's boys basketball team just got a lot better in the backcourt.
The Hornets nabbed Stoney Creek all-league point guard Charlie Carson for their incoming recruiting class.
Carson is a beast of a playmaker. He can do so much physically and has all the mental toughness and core x-factor intangibles necessary to be an absolute super stud at the next level.
A three-year starter for THA CREEK, Carson actually moved off the ball this winter for the sake of the club and still KILLED IT!!
Averaging 17 points, five assists and almost three steals a night, he led the Cougars to a 15-8 record and a trip into the Class A district finals.
Last season, Carson spearheaded Stoney to it's first-ever OAA league championship.
Kalamazoo went 10-15 in 2014 and Carson will be joining fellow OC point guard Mike Oravetz (currently a sophomore) of MH Bishop Foley on the Hornets 2015 roster.
The definition of a Southpaw Slayer anytime the rock is in his grasp, Burney sees this as a relationship (CC and KZoo) made in heaven and one that will almost certainly be bearing some MAJOR fruit very soon!!!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Welcome To The New Age

One on the board.
Oak Park football star Junior McMullen became the state's first player in the Class of 2015 to accept a DI college scholarship, committing to Western Michigan University this week.
At 6-foot-2, 225 pounds, he's a speedy, instinctive and hard-hitting outside linebacker.
Last season as a junior, McMullen made 76 tackles and recorded six sacks on a Knights playoff squad.
He's only the first of a parade of college-pigskin bound studs from the OP senior class, which will also be sure to include Johnny Kelly (RB-CB) and Shahid Bellamy (NT), among others.
TEAM CARTER aka the OP Knights will once again be a top-tier prep gridiron gang in Metro Detroit come this fall.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Time To Reevaluate

The MHSAA should do something about the state basketball tourney draw.
The way it is now, seems unfair and incredibly random in a lot of ways.
First, we need to seed, at least after the districts. There just shouldn't be a region like there is in the girls Class A bracket at Farmington where the state's No. 1 , No. 2 and No. 3 teams are all in the mix, with only one getting the right to head onto the quarterfinals.
Don't we want as many of the state's Top 5-to-Top 10 squads going as deep as possible and then squaring off in the Elite 8, Final Four or State Final?
Why should teams that are average or with under .500 records have easy routes out of the district and sometimes out of the regional, while other superpower clubs must fight tooth-and-nail just to snare a single trophy (see boys Saginaw v. Arthur Hill first-round clash)?
I'm not sure why we do it this way. It seems logical to pick playoff pairings right before the tourney starts, alas football, but the MHSAA delves out its district assignment in the summer, a good six months before we really have any clue what will be what and who will be who.
As things are right now, it seems that luck has more to do with it than it should – where a specific team is sent for tournament play practically and sometimes literally means more than how that team did during its season.
Maybe, everyone shouldn't qualify (also alas the state's prep gridiron world) and you have to be over .500 just to get in (an idea I would consider).
Whatever the answer is to get things fixed, Burney will tell you it's not this.