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.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Jonny B Great

ATTN: WL WESTERN, BIRMINGHAM GROVES & WATERFORD KETTERING, or anyone else looking for the next great boys basketball coach in Metro Detroit.
Someone needs to hire Jon Djokaj ASAP!!
Djokaj has been one of the area's most promising young sideline generals the past decade or so.
His pedigree doesn't lie.
He was raised in the North Farmington program, prepping for RAIDERSNATION.
The past several years, he's one numerous league and district titles, first with Bloomfield Hills Lahser and more recently with Troy Athens, in an assistant capacity and honed his skills with the clipboard as a freshman and JV coach.
A master motivator and tactician and just the right mix of stern and affable, Jonny D would be the perfect fit for any team looking for a fresh start.  
If anyone deserves the opportunity after toiling away climbing the latter of success, it's him!!
So when you see my man JD getting his victory on leading a varsity club in the very near future, remember you're boy Burney gave you the 411 first!!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Prospect Check - Down On The Farm

Let's look in on all the rapidly ascending prep football stars with the Farmington Falcons.
Quick Note: So much speed and playmaking ability in this group it's downright scary
Desmond Fitzpatrick (WR) – Elite prospect at his position, best pass-catcher in the OC in the junior class
Jakkar Jackson (S) – All the intangibles for the greatness, plays with a chip on his shoulder that gives him an edge
David Reese (LB) – Just a beast, fearless ball-hound with a Muscle Car-type motor
Bryan Watson (WR/DB) – Slippery talent in the open field, great instinct on both sides of the pigskin
Kario Salters (WR/DB) – Really impressing this offseason, one of the area's newest up-and-comers   
Kyle Collins (QB) – Super Steady Signal Caller, poised for a MONSTER senior season this fall threading the needle
Kyle Brunson (S) – The last name tells you all you need to know about this kid's Blue-Chip potential

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Stark Raving Mad

Burney saw something pretty cool last week; former rivals on the hardwood, the C-Town Wolfpack & the Bloomfield Hills BlackHawk Nation joining forces as one. An AAU team consisting of a roster made up from players off both clubs called "The Ravens" went to work in tourney play at the Joe Dumars Fieldhouse on 8 Mile Rd, advancing to the semifinals, before losing a close one to the Reach Legends. Yeah, they were all there; Nick the Quick Owens, Steady Rock D Myers, Mike "The Big Irish" Nicholson, Jonah "Splat" Newblatt, Armand "The Dark Knight" Cartwright, Khalil "Mr. Smooth" Gracey & more. Doing damage, but doing it TOGETHER!! This weekend, the Ravens went to Ohio for the King James Classic, minus the Bloomfield Hills Baller Brigade, and made waves again. KEEP GRINDING, FELLAS!!!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Prospect Check - Flying Out of The Nest

Here are some names to be on the lookout for on the football field this fall for the Orchard Lake St. Mary's Eaglets.
QUICK PROLOGUE – To say TEAM PORRITT is on the cusp of a huge bounce-back from a rare down campaign last year would be a vast understatement.
Lamon Mathison (RB/SB/DB) – Butter-smooth senior workhorse ready to spur the charge in 2014 as a steady playmaker and emotional leader
Daelin Hayes (RB/LB) – Will be the OC's top junior out of the backfield….following an injury-stricken sophomore season, this MEGA BALLER is READY TO ERUPT!!....Wait for it…….
Josh Ross (MLB) – The OC's No. 1 linebacker and he's only going to be a tenth-grader….BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID!!! (Note: Ross aka "DOOMSDAY 2:0" reached swagger level three hundred thousand trillion when he was in junior high..I'm just saying!!)
Jared Mosley (LB) – Big, strong, aggressive and fast to the ball, MOSH PIT MOSLEY will shine SUPER BRIGHT during his senior year on the gridiron…..THAT'S A BURNEY GUARANTEE!!
Pierce "PJ" Bauer (LB/FB) – Does the term SIR-GRIND-A-LOT mean anything to you? The "Baby Blaster" (little bro of the BLASTER himself, Sean) aka THE O-LAKE LAND SHARK will be at his NASTY BEST burning up the comp and doing the family name ULTRA PROUD in 2014…....TAKE IT 2 THA BANK!!
Ross Moore (RB/DB) – A breakout year on both sides of the pigskin may easily be on the horizon for this REDRUM RIDER!!
Tyson Smith (WR/DB) – This future MSU Spartan will be THE catalyst on the field and in the locker room, simply put, the perfect picture of a fearsome football player and fearless competitor
Brandon Tabone (QB) – Might very well be starting under center come August, calling signals for the Eaglets offense after flashing some extremely encouraging signs quarterbacking the varsity in limited call-up action in 2013

Friday, April 25, 2014

Mixology 101

The blend is so perfect they should consider bottling it and selling it retail.
In their inaugural season as a baseball program, the Bloomfield Hills Blackhawks are scorching hot out of the starting blocks.
TEAM BOYD – a mix of former Andover and Lahser clubs – is 9-1 this month. The squad's pitching staff is sporting a stingy 1.51 ERA.
If this epic pace keeps up, we might be seeing this diamond cutting bunch in East Lansing come final four time later this spring just like their basketball brethren did in the winter.
The Staff
Jack Wyman, Nick Schneider, Ray Leggett, Matt Almany, Grady Wildman, Joey Kramer, Braden Cleary & Cody Rump
Wyman, Schneider and Leggett have yet to surrender a single earned run this year.
Besides his exploits on the mound, Wyman, a senior captain and all-around sparkplug, is hitting .600 and has already cracked a pair of dingers.
Charlie Dauch – Inked with Miami (OH), Dauch is everything a skip could ever ask for in a competitor…THAT'S A FACT!
Perry Klemanski – The definition of power, precision and PRIMETIME presence in the line-up
Matt Bierman & Troy Saruna – A pair of the top sophomores in the OC, Bierman catches and Saruna plays in the outfield and both carry a heavy stick and exhibit all the intangibles; Bierman is hitting .460 and Saruna is flashing a .500 average a quarter through the season  
Todd Weiss – Superior talent in center, just a plain STUD
Preston Smith – The ultimate diamond "glue guy"

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Cole Miner's Son

The DC Baby Baller won't be straying far from the nest. Can you say Diamond in the ruff?
Birmingham Detroit Country Day senior football star Derrick Coleman, Jr. signed his National Letter of Intent with Wayne State this week.
His dad, Derrick Coleman Sr is a former NBA all-star and prep and college All-American born and raised in 'The D'.
This is a steal for the WSU Warriors. Checking in at 6-5, 225 pounds, Coleman plays tight end or defensive end. He's got soft hands and runs good routes on offense. His length and rampaging motor gets him to quarterbacks and ball-carriers alike in a jiffy.
WSU finished 3-8 last fall, two seasons removed from a run to the D2 National Championship Game.
Papa Bear should be very proud!! And Burney is sure he is.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Prospect Check - Jacket Juggernauts

AH Avondale Football Players Rising in the Recruiting Game
Josh Holloman (RB) – PURE ELECTRICITY; Best tailback in the OC....YEAH I SAID IT!!!
Tricora Battle (DE) – Upside through the roof, a quarterback's worst nightmare...lean, mean and hungry for the GLEAM!!
James Prince (S) – The Yellow Jackets own version of THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN....think Ed Reed
Chase Lalla (LB) – All Heart and Soul All the Time...THATS A BURNEY GUARANTEE!!
Travis Janes (QB) – Flowering field general with opportunity to set the OC on fire the next two seasons from the pocketo:p>

Monday, April 21, 2014

Five For Fighting - Monday Magic

Five For Fighting – Best outings on the prep baseball diamond from Monday in the OC
1 Matt Lerdahl (Troy Athens) – Smashing a towering Grand-Daddy JACK, Lerdahl was the offensive SUPERSTAR in the Red Hawks 11-1 thrashing of AH Avondale, running their record to a perfect 5-0. Watch out, this kid can really tote the lumber!!
2 Sean Martens (Ortonville Brandon) – Going all VERLANDER on the comp, Martens tossed a three-hit shutout, fanning six in a 10-0 win in the opener of OB's twin-bill sweep of Flint Metro rival Holly
3 Mike Levitsky (Birmingham Seaholm) – Outdueling future MLB draft-pick Dazon Cole, Levitsky was in top-form in the Maples 2-1 upset of the WB Lakeshow....spinning a bulldog six innings of 4-hit ball. What an effort!!
4 Vinnie Puma (Waterford Lakes) – Tossed a 4-0 shutout against Class B Goodrich, playing like his name…..a straight ANIMAL
5 Mike Falter (Lake Orion) – Launched a grand slam in the Dragons 12-9 defeat at the hands of OL St. Marys. Falter did anything but......BALLER ALERT in the LO!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Real Deal

His glove speaks for itself. And speaks quite loudly for that matter.
You might not see his name in a lot of headlines, but Madison Heights Bishop Foley junior baseball standout Cam Horwath is one of the  best defensive players in Oakland County and was a central cog in the Ventures' 3peat state title last spring.
Because of his EXPERT WEBOLOGY, he was named to the all-district team following Foley's 2013 tourney run.
Horwath is as diverse a talent on the diamond with a glove in his hands as there is, too.
He can play in the outfield, covering ground and displaying his gun to keep those on the base paths at bay, and in the infield, taking the form of a human backstop.
Not surprisingly, Horwath is at it again this season and the Ventures are tracking towards another championship (can you say 4peat?).
This kid is such a natural with the leather, I'm going to nickname him THE GLOVE.
Straight Real Talk; Cam Horwath is a BOSS AND HOSS and deserves more props. Don't worry, C, you're boy Burney's got your back!!!
I only have one more thing to say on this subject; FEAR THE GLOVE!!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Burney's 2014 OC Girls Soccer Preview

OC Top 10 Players
1 Taylor Timko (Pontiac NDP) – Nose for the net like few the area has ever seen
2 Sarah Troccoli (Troy) – Maestro in the midfield, the ultimate pitch pace-setter
3 Kelly Sweeney (Birmingham Marian) – Elite offensive talent with natural finishing ability you can't teach
4 Michelle Manning (Birmingham DCD) – A true technician on the field, outthinks her opponents and wears them down with her tireless work ethic
5 Kendall Kramer (Novi) – This Michigan-bound blazer out of the midfield is a fast-riser with tons of tantalizing tools
6 Madison Duncan (AH Avondale)
7 Annika Johnson (Birmingham Marian)
8 Jamison Midgley (Stoney Creek)
9 Marissa Zandi (Stoney Creek)
10 Tiffany Buckler (RH Adams)
OC Top 10 Teams
1 Stoney Creek – Da Creek is DA BOMB DIGGITY, ready to start kicking butts and taking no prisoners on the pitch
2 Novi – The OC Tried and True is at it again
3 Birmingham Marian – The OC Tried and True PART 2 is at again, too
4 Pontiac NDP – Timko & Klei is a rare duo up front….veterans, leaders, closers, goal-hounds
5 RH Adams – BURN NOTICE: The Highlanders are HOT, HOT, HOT
6 Birmingham DCD
7 AH Avondale
8 Troy
9 Troy Athens
10 WL Northern

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hustler's Spirit

North Farmington senior diamond SIR-GRIND-A-LOT Austin Hill just kept at it, never giving up.
Hill was cut by the Raiders baseball team as a junior, but this spring he's roared back with a vengeance.
Courtesy of an outstanding offseason and ironclad determination, he's North Farmington's starting third basemen this year.
So far, so good.
"He's spunky," said North Farmington Mike O'Connell of Hill's demeanor. "I give him a lot of credit. We cut him last year. He didn't let that get him down though. He used it as motivation and really improved to the point where we had to not just keep him this year, but give him a starting spot."
What a story.
This is a kid you can really root for.
No matter what happens the rest of the season, in several ways Hill has already made it to the top of the mountain.
Mad Props!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cage Connections

Some of Oakland County's best boys basketball players secured college landing locations in the last week for their 'NEXT LEVEL' cage endeavors.
Here's a breakdown;
Taylor Graffa (Birmingham DCD) – The consummate sharpshooter and character guy/glue guy for state-power DCD the past two seasons, Graffa is headed to Wooster College in Ohio.
Jason Hugan (Milford) – A quiet assassin and one of the most under-valued paint prowlers in the area, Hugan (6-foot-6) is set to be buzzing on the blocks the next four years for the Kalamazoo College Hornet.
Mike Nicholson (Clarkston) – Long and hard-working, this 6-foot-8 center with an upside that's through the proverbial roof, signed with Lake Superior State.
Jared Ocampo (Clawson) – An elite marksmen and supreme playmaker, Ocampo is slated to keep BALLING OUT OF CONTROL at Adrian College.
Ahkemji Williams (RH Adams) – Maybe the most deadly backcourt gunner in the whole OC this winter, Williams inked with Lake Superior State, just a PURE STEAL for the U.P. LAKE SHOW!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Windy City Workhorses

The OC prospect parade rolled through the Windy City over the weekend, as a pair of area prep football stars went bonkers at the Nike combine in Chicago.
Auburn Hills Avondale tailback Josh Holloman displayed his jaguar-like speed, clocking as fast as 4.26 in the 40-yard dash, the fastest time at the entire event. Yeah, you read that right, dude outran a locomotive….SUPERMAN was in the building!! There's a reason this kid is one of the top offensive recruits in the state. When he's got the rock in his hands it's like watching something out of a comic book or Avengers-type movie blockbuster...STRAIGHT INSANITY. Last season as a junior, Holloman (6-foot-0, 195 pounds) busted loose for 1200 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Moving over to the defensive side of the pigskin, Oak Park linebacker Junior McMullen left The CHI with MVP honors at his position, shining bright in both stopping the run and dropping back in pass coverage. McMullen (6-foot-2, 225 lbs) is committed to Western Michigan.Can you say REAL DEAL HOLYFIELD? Junior is nothing but MAJOR, full-throttle tenacity in pursuit of ball-carriers....Like a stick of TNT, get over to THE PARK this fall and see him EXPLODE!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Burney's 2014 OC Baseball Preview - Teams

Top 10 Baseball Teams in The OC
1 Birmingham Brother Rice – Flashing the kind of firepower that would make the US Military jealous
3 West Bloomfield – LAKENATION ROLL CALL: Dazon "D-CRUSH' Cole, Chandler "The Soaring Eagle" Sedat, Josh "B-RIGHT" Birnberg, Zach "The O-Factor' Oshinsky (best No. 3 in the OAA?), Zach "BALLER ALERT" Allread, Robbie "Rev Rev" Jones (man is that motor sweet!), Daiki "The Night Train" Nishioki, Deshawn "Baby D-Crush" Cole (the last name says it all)
4 Lake Orion – Will be living at the corner of Awesome&Amazing once again this spring...ALL ABOARD, THE SCHAENZER AND BAYS EXPRESS leaving from the station, next stop OVERDRIVE
5 OL St. Mary's – Could wind up being a real special year for TEAM PEACHES aka TEAM PETRY…they've got the arms, the bats, the athleticism, the experience, need I say more?
6 Clarkston – C-Town will be the place to B-TOWN on the diamond this season with my main men DJ Zezula, Joe Popp, Ryan Rea & Nate Morris at the forefront of the WOLFPACK attack....
7 Stoney Creek – Burney is BIG on DA CREEK this year….these are some BAD, BAD BOYS (bad meaning good) on the baseball field….think Isiah, Lamb, Mahorn, JoeD, Microwave, Worm & Spider
8 North Farmington – For RAIDERSNATION, it's JUST WIN BABY time again for TEAM O'CONNELL…and Burney sees them doing just that....Soph hurler Alex Darden might be the best lefty in the state by the time he's a senior....and yes, the MLB clubs will come calling soon
9 Walled Lake Western – Watch for a banner campaign from this Burney Sleeper Special Squad....AGon and DWall are in for GINORMOUS campaigns....mark that down!!
10 Pontiac Notre Dame Prep – This Irish club is fixing to have a lot of fight in it….who would've thought? Mad Shout outs to my GREEN&GOLD two-sport superstuds Aiden "The Situation" Cullen (there's a situation for opposing teams, whether its baseball or football, when this kid's on the field of battle) and Anthony "Double Barrel" Gunn (simply blows the comp away on the diamond and the gridiron)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Burney's 2014 OC Baseball Preview - Players

Top 20 Players in Oakland County This Spring:
1 Matt Ruppenthal (Birmingham Brother Rice) - SEC-bound All-American mound-mauler tracking towards the Big Leagues
2 Brad Schaenzer (Lake Orion) - SEC-bound All-American mound-mauler tracking towards the Big Leagues SOUTHPAW EDITION
3 Dazon Cole (West Bloomfield) - Multi-talented athlete on the diamond that may have the highest upside in the whole darn state
4 Nick Plummer (Birmingham Brother Rice) - Can you say FIVE-TOOL FIREPLUG?
5 Ty Kiafoulis (Birmingham Brother Rice) - The kind of swing you can't teach, just so pure!!
6 Grant Reuss (BH Cranbrook) - POWER PERSONIFIED on the hill and at the plate
7 Garrett Schilling (MH Bishop Foley) - Mr. Perfect...'NUFF SAID!!
8 Nate Grys (MH Bishop Foley) - No. 1 junior in the area, HEAVY DUTY in everything he does on the field
9 Randy Righter (Birmingham Brother Rice) - The consummate competitor on the rubber & at the dish
10 Andrew Gonzales (WL Western) - STRAIGHT THRILLER-MC-THRILLSON with the pill in his grasp
11 Will Salter (OL St. Mary's) - Best defensive catcher in the state...BAR NONE!!
12 (tie) Nate Morris (Clarkston) - Future Spartan slinger poised for a big senior season
12 (tie) Karl Kauffman (Birmingham Brother Rice) - The top sophomore in the OC, this nasty-throwing righty is set for Ann Arbor in the spring in 2017 and will be in BEAST MODE at Brother Rice until then
13 Connor Bowers (OL St. Mary's)
14 Chandler Sedat (West Bloomfield)
15 (tie) Josh Bays (Lake Orion)
15 (tie) Mike Reid (MH Bishop Foley)
16 Brennan Williams (WL Northern)
17 P.J. Piesko (Oxford)
18 Sammy Stevens (Birmingham Brother Rice)
19 Will Mullen (Pontiac NDP)
20 (tie) Alex Malzone (Birmingham Brother Rice)
20 (tie) Alex Darden (North Farmington)

Friday, April 11, 2014

As If There Was Any Question

Garrett Schilling continued his prodigious ways in his first trip to the pitching mound in 2014.
Mr. Perfect aka Mr. Untouchable remained just that.
Madison Heights Bishop Foley's senior ace and one of the most consistent high school baseball players in the entire nation kept his career record flawless in the Ventures opener, going to 1-0 on the young campaign and pushing his mark from the rubber to an immaculate 32-0 overall.
Earlier this week, the Xavier-bound hurler fanned 10 and scattered four hits in a 6-0 thumping of Pontiac Notre Dame Prep.
Quick reminder: although Garrett appears to be just a teenager from Metro Detroit, his real name is Curt and in a previous diamond incarnation he was a 6-time MLB all-star toeing the slab and the World Series MVP in 2001
The OC's own GSchill is unadulterated DOMINANCE on the hill. The most technically-sound prep thrower I've ever laid eyes on.....YEAH I SAID IT!! If you haven't seen this kid toss the pill the past three years, please do yourself a favor and get out to a Bishop Foley game this spring and catch a glimpse of GREATNESS before he's off to Ohio for college. What he's in the midst of doing is THAT SPECIAL and deserves the attention of all baseball fans in the D.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Burney's 2014 OC Softball Preview

Top 10 Softball Players in the OC
1 Sydney Heath (Troy) - 5-tool terror with an upside at the college level approaching the stratosphere
2 Haley Zemmer (Troy Athens) - Simply MARVELOUS in the circle and at the dish, the definition of GAME-CHANGING TALENT
3 Jessica Mehr (South Lyon) - Virginia Tech-signee that's elite at her craft, but won't be back on the diamond until late in the season after surgery for a torn labrum 
4 Alex Sobczak (FH Mercy) - Primetime POWER is the name of the game when it comes to this Marlins long-distance hitting specialist
5 Rachel Viera (Clarkston) - Does everything really, really well, as fundamentally-sound and dangerous as they come
6 Madison Burgess (Lakeland)
7 Riley Miller (Birmingham Seaholm)
8 Megan Keller (North Farmington)
9 Alex Carpenter (Lake Orion)
10 Abby Krzywiecki (FH Mercy)
Top 10 Softball Teams in the OC
1 FH Mercy - Deck is stacked in MALANOWSKILAND, Next stop East Lansing
2 Lakeland - TEAM JOE is locked, loaded and ready for destruction once again
3 Lake Orion- The Dragons are breathing fire on the diamond, about to enter 'taking no prisoners' mode
4 Clarkston - C-Town is the place to B-Town on the softball field in 2014
5 Troy Athens - TEAM MARR is ready to MASH, so watch out!!
6 Troy
7 South Lyon
8 North Farmington
9 South Lyon East
10 (tie) RH Adams
10 (tie) Waterford Kettering