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, September 30, 2014

Farming It Out

Let's take a look at a few of the top candidates for the Farmington HS boys basketball job
Jamie Thomas – Currently the high-energy girls hoops coach at WL Central, where he's injected the Vikings program with some life again, Thomas was an assistant on West Bloomfield's boys' and girls' Class A final four squads in the early-2000s so he's familiar with the OAA. He played DI ball at Western Kentucky
Ben Kelso – Veteran area head coach and current Lakeland assistant that played in the NBA with the Detroit Pistons in the 1970s and won three straight Class A state crowns at Detroit Cooley (1987, 1988, 1989), Kelso was on the bench at Waterford Kettering last year. Word on the street is that Kelso is hot for the gig.
Jon Djokai – One of the top young assistants and JV coaches in the area, everywhere this guy goes, the program wins (see league titles at Birmingham Seaholm, Bloomfield Hills and Troy Athens the past half-dozen seasons. Right now, Djokai is the JV coach and varsity assistant at Walled Lake Northern. High-character workhorse of a sideline general who knows how to relate to and develop talent.
Matt Mikel – Hometown star of the early 2000s, Mikel is a former Falcons JV coach and currently the freshmen coach and varsity assistant at North Farmington. Strong basketball mind and understanding of coaching principles. 
Mike Maryanski – Longtime area assistant and West Bloomfield head coach Jeremy Denha's No. 1 lieutenant at multiple jobs, the OC Eminem is as deserving of a shot at the top spot.
Pete MantylaAnother hometown hardwood hero, Mantyla is one of the most respected assistants in the OAA and had a good showing in his brief stint in the head coaching seat crosstown at Farmington Hill Harrison.  He's currently the JV coach and varsity assistant at North Farmington, the position he was in before taking the helm at Harrison.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

All Together Now

Burney held his first-annual boy hoops shootout over the weekend.
Here's the ALL-STAR team
Kyle Woodruff (Holly) – This kid has "Big Time" written on everything he does on the hardwood, elite shooter, honed his handles and move to the tin over the offseason
Steve Redmond-Ian Hodges (Holly) – Who needs next year?... The backcourt of the future for Bronchos Nation is pretty darn good right now
Devin Mills (Oak Park) – Just a beast in the backcourt in every way, genuine sleeper stud, defines the term explosive
Mason Vires (Oxford) – One of the most improved players in Metro Detroit, stronger, more diverse, total playmaker, not simply an ace long-ranger bomber (which believe me he still is)
Del Alexander (Oxford) – The 'D' stands for DYNAMIC with this rangy and athletic wing,
Jamal Thomas (Oxford) – One of the top underclassmen in Metro Detroit, a complete point guard with outstanding instincts, motor and court vision
Connor Elzerman (Oxford) – Has the chance to become a Wildcat 'ALL-TIME GREAT', we're talking pantheon here folks, deadeye shooter, natural scorer and leader and as clutch as they come
Nate Collins (WL Central) – Ready to erupt out of the backcourt in the KLAA this winter, pure stroke from deep, smart and tough
Joey Ziniti (RH Adams) – When you combine this kid's natural ability and athleticism with his grit, heart and determination you have one heck of a player
Richard Feagin (Southfield Christian) – The OC "Faygo Pop Man" was popping off on the comp all day long!!...fearless shooting guard with increasing versatility
Theron Pringle (Bloomfield Hills) – Could be the next BIG THING in BlackHawkLand, part of an up-and-coming cage contingent of BABY MEGA BALLERS about to set off on another memorabl era under Coach Graves
Mykel Bender (Birmingham Groves) – Raw, but MAD NICE!! A possible terror in the post

Friday, September 26, 2014

Shaking & Baking In Southfield

Southfield sophomore boys basketball studs Amuri Hardy and Michael Flowers could be the top underclassmen backcourt in the whole STATE…..YEAH I SAID IT!!
Rare talents I tell you, true gems.
I think I'm going to call these two "Shake and Bake."
The "Shake" in this equation is Hardy – a lefty floor general that has a game that is SMOOTH as silk. He already has D1 offers and is a complete workhorse. This kid's at a mode on the court that is ALWAYS as cool as the other side of my pillow and he sports a hoops IQ of a seasoned vet despite only being 15 years old.
Then we have "Bake" as in Flowers – he's an expert rifleman from downtown that can heat up like a microwave in the blink of an eye and is crafty on both sides of the ball. Coldblooded is the most accurate way to describe this young man's demeanor on the court in crunch time.
Man, Burney can't wait to see these two PRIMETIME PLAYAS balling out on the hardwood in BLUEJAYLAND in a couple months from now.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Burney's OC Football Rankings - Week 5

OC Top 10
1 Birmingham Brother Rice – Mike Roney is the best tight end you don't know about….YET!!! Him and Mr. Human Highlight Zone make up quite an underrated MAD NICE pass-catch combo
2 Clarkston – C-Town is THE PLACE to B-Town on the gridiron these days
3 Oxford – Surprise, surprise The Cats' are straight SICKNESS this fall, maybe instead of TEAM ROWLEY we should referring to O-Town as TEAM THERA-FLU
4 OL St. Mary's – The Eaglets' Pigskin Prowlers have a License to Thrill and they're using it at ALL TIMES
5 (tie) Oak Park – It's Greg Carter's world here in the OC, we're all just living in it……what did Burney tell you guys the day he took the job? I said with GC at the helm, KNIGHTS NATION became state powers immediately and I was right!
5 (tie) Southfield – Wanna know who Burney likes? The McDowell-Marshall-less D-Line in BlueJayLand, guys like Charles Harris, Aaron Turner and Aaron Cooper, among others, are really getting after it in 2014…….Just so NASTY!!
6 WL Western – He's only played four games of varsity ball, but junior quarterback Kyle Thomas has already reached SWAGGER LEVEL FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND TRILLION….make a note!!
7 South Lyon – All Burney can say is WOW!!!
8 FH Harrison – Another John Herrington classic!!!
9 West Bloomfield – Welcome back Eddy Wilson, captain of the Grocery Boyz Crew, all offensive players in the OAA Red beware!!
10 Novi Detroit Catholic Central – Alex Bock is one BAD, BAD man on the football field…THAT'S A BURNEY CERTIFIED FACT

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Going To The Mat

Stoney Creek's Andrew Price will be hanging up his football cleats soon.
After this season is through, Price, one of the toughest and smartest linebackers in Oakland County's prep ranks, is done on the gridiron.
Instead, Price, also a star wrestler, has a future that lies on the mat.
The standout Cougar grappler recently committed to wrestle at the college level for Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.
This kid's a force of nature in both sports. Whether attacking ball-carriers or pinning opponents, he's a genuine playmaker, a winner to the core of his being and the Lehigh athletic program is lucky to be getting him.
Last fall, Price helped lead Stoney Creek into the postseason for the first time in six years on the football field.
During his junior campaign on the wrestling mat, he went 57-4 at the 160-poung weight class, accumulating the second-most wins in Oakland County. Finishing fourth in the state in D1, Price personally brought home league, district and regional crowns for the mantelpiece in his trophy room.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Knocking On Wood

Oh, how times are changing. And for the better if you're residing at The Horseshoe these days.
We all know Holly hoopster Kyle Woodruff aka The OC RAINMAN as an elite marksman from downtown.
But Burney's main man Kyle has been tirelessly at work in the cage laboratory cooking up some added dimensions to his already-loaded game on the hardwood.
Sprouting up to 6-foot-3, increasing his vertical and improving his handle, Woodruff is more versatile as ever and all of a sudden a terror taking it to the rack, in addition to his Cash-Money long-distance dialing which might be the best in all of Metro Detroit!!!.....Yeah I said it!!
Translation: SWAGGER LEVEL FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND TRILLION and much consternation for opposing coaches and defenders
Oh, yeah not to mention a cherry on top of the already tasty college recruiting hot fudge sundae the OC Rainman was before…i.e. the scholarship offers should be stacking up to the ceiling soon.
Woodruff and his Holly running buddy Jake Daniels are a vicious 1-2 punch in the backcourt. The Bronchos aka TEAM BAYLIS will return a bulk of their 2014 rotation and will certainly be a force to be reckoned with on a statewide level when the 2015 campaign tips off in a couple months.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hooping It Up

In honor of Burney's first-annual boys basketball exposure camp (Sunday Sep 28, at Southfield Bradford Academy – day-of registration 8-10 a.m – , contact me for details or @Burneystweets on Twitter), here's a look of some fall position rankings on the OC hardwood
Top 5 Point Guards
1 Trishton Jackson (West Bloomfield)
2 Drew Myers (Clarkston)
3 Jerald Booker (WL Western)
4 C.J. Wilson-Jason Boswell (OL St. Mary's)
5 Devin Mills (Oak Park)
Top 5 Combo Guards
1 Jake Daniels (Holly)
2 Timmy Shayoka (Troy Athens)
3 Walter Kelser (WL Central)
4 Jonathan Radner (Berkley)
5 (tie) Spencer Littleson-Joey Ziniti (RH Adams)
5 (tie) Timmy Williams (Waterford Mott)
Top 5 Shooting Guards
1 Kyle Woodruff (Holly)
2 Nick Robak (WOLL)
3 Cameron Dalton (Bloomfield Hills)
4 Connor Elzerman (Oxford)
5 Chris Barton (AH Avondale)
Top 5 Small Forwards
1 Jeron (Buddha) Rogers (North Farmington)
2 Kevin Hayes (Birmingham Brother Rice)
3 Marlow Brown (Southfield Christian)
4 Deshawn Lewis (Birmingham DCD)
5 Tabin Throgmorton (Clarkston)
Top 5 Power Forwards
1 Kalvon Fuller (Oak Park)
2 Freddy John (Southfield-Lathrup)
3 Nazir Wallace (Birmingham DCD)
4 Marcus Bailey (WL Western)
5 Corbin Vrinj (Troy Athens)
Top 5 Centers
1 Isaiah Green (Southfield)
2 John Van Hoef (Troy Athens)
3 John Rexroth (FH Harrison)
4 Justin Banks (Farmington)
5 (tie) Cole Chewins (Clarkston)
5 (tie) Gary Perry (MH Bishop Foley)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Clawing To The Top

Bang, bang.
The CLAWVILLE gunslinger has slung his way into the record books on the prep gridiron.
Prolific Clawson senior quarterback Ty Sparks broke three Trojans all-time career passing records in a Week 4 loss to St. Clair.     
This kid is COLDBLOODED behind center. Think a surgeon, but instead of a scalpel he has a pigskin in his hand to do his carving with.
Sparks now owns CLAWVILLE all-time marks in yards (5062), completions (394) and touchdowns (54). The previous records were held by Sparks' childhood idol Rob Feeman.
In Friday's 45-33 defeat, he went 34-of-53 for 350 yards and three touchdown tosses.
Clawson is 2-2.
And Ty Sparks is in peak form in the pocket for the third year in a row. Can you say the OC Drew Brees?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Orange Report

Some news & notes from the Birmingham Brother Rice athletic department.
Senior football stars and team captains Alex Malzone and Jack Dunaway are both headed to Ann Arbor to play their college pigskin, one a little soon than the other.
Malzone, the Orange-and-Black's all-state quarterback, committed to the University of Michigan back in the spring. He recently announced that he will graduate from Rice early and enroll at UofM in the spring. That means no more baseball. Sadly, the Human Highlight Zone will be a gridiron-only production from this point forward, no more diamond dazzling, which anyone who knows Malzone knows he did a lot of the past three springs holding down the hot corner for TEAM RIKER. 
Dunaway, a workhorse defensive end and emotional sparkplug in the locker room and in the trenches, recently decided to accept a preferred walk-on offer from the Wolverines and join the UofM football program in a non-scholarship capacity when he reaches campus next fall. If he had so chosen Dunaway could have earned a full-ride to play ball in the MAC or the Ivy League, but he wants to wear the Maize and Blue so god bless him!
Rumor mill: Burney's hearing that all-state senior wide receiver Grant Perry could be on his way to earning a four-year trip into THE BIG HOUSE, too!!!
Rice two-sport STUD Johnny Garry is going to be playing baseball in college, however it's the football field he's excelling on this fall, GOING HAM on opposing secondaries at every opportunity. He's the picture of reliability. Over the past two games (both wins, of course), Garry has 14 grabs and two touchdowns.     
BIG ORANGE SIR-HOOP-A-LOT Kevin Hayes will be the best player in the Catholic League this winter not named Cassius Winston…….TAKE IT 2 THA BANK!!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Five For Fighting - Going 4 The Jugular

Top 5 Performances on the OC Prep Gridiron from Friday
1 The Oxford 'D' - TEAM ROWLEY was an iron curtain against Lake Orion, staging SIX goal-line/red zone stands in their 21-14 defeat in SMURFTURFNATION
2 Bobby Dixon (Birmingham Brother Rice) - OG BOBBY D kept up his clutch play with the game-winning td run in TEAM SOFRAN's 28-21 upending of Warren De La Salle
3&;Waterford Mott QB Duo of Dakota Kupp & Adam Upleger - TOO HOT TO HANDLE, TOO COLD TO HOLD, these peanut butter and jelly tandem (Kupp is the sweet chucker in the pocket, Uplegger to the gritty master of the Wildcat formation 33-29
4 Trevor Tank (South Lyon) - This kid is a total throwback of a gridiron gladiator, a SIR -GRIND-A-LOT SUPREME, as in 115 yards and a touchdown and 10 tackles on defense in the Lions 21-12 besting of Northville....I honestly think this young man bleeds and sweats steel that's how tough he is....THAT'S A FACT!!
5 D.J. Zezula (Clarkton) - Entered PEYTON MANNING MODE again in the Wolfpack's 35-14 clobbering of Stoney Creek, tossing four touchdowns in the first half....YEAH, THAT JUST HAPPENED!!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Burney's OC Football Rankings - Week 4

OC Top 10
1 Birmingham Brother Rice – Back at it in NFL-MODE, as if that's a surprise
2 Clarkston – TEAM K-RICH is rich with playmakers….again
3 OL St. Mary's – Josh Dabney is a STRAIGHT G on the gridiron
4 Oak Park – Impressive Week 3 handling of Harrison, that 'D' may be the best in the whole darn county....holler back at cha boy, Junior McMullen, Shahid Bellamy & co.!!!
5 Oxford – O-Town in THA HOUSE!! WAR TEAM ROWLEY!!
6 Southfield – Takes a step back in the rankings because of Oak Park spinning the shutout, don't worry you'll be back in the Top 5 soon enough, boyz!!
7 WL Western – You can't stop James La Londe, you can only hope to contain him…..and that's pretty darn hard to do too
8 FH Harrison – Needs a strong rebound from being blanked in Week 3, Burney knows his HAWKSNATION PIGSKIN PLAYAS is going to give it to him
9 Lake Orion – God, Burney loves himself some TEAM VICTORY BELL….these guys are some rough and rugged characters on the field of battle
10 (tie) West Bloomfield – Showed well vs. mighty Clarkston, as Burney thought they would
10 (tie)Novi Detroit CC – Grinding back to SHAMROCK homeostasis…I.e. BALLER-SHOT CALLER GEAR

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bearing Down, Blazing Upward

Run and hide. Warn the women and children.
The Berkley Bears are growling on the gridiron. WATCH OUT!
Torching the competition out of the proverbial starting gate, Chris Sikora's pigskin playmakers are 3-0, averaging over 30 points an outing so far this season.
I for one am VERY impressed. Sikora-coached clubs are notoriously gritty. So that's no surprise. But these Bears are a lot more lethal than Burney expected. They've got several different diamonds in the ruff contributing. I'm talking about guys like quarterback Jake "The Snake" Cummings, defensive lineman Jake "The Human Cash Register" Bills, linebacker Austen "Mr. Wonderful" Wood and wr-db Nolan "He's Gives Cornerbacks Nightmares" Givens.
Unsung heroes such as Carlton Williams and Brandon Kamo have come up big early in the season too.
The whole shebang is possible; Playoffs, OAA Blue league title, universal love and respect from OC football heads from county-line-to-county-line, it's all there for the taking.
Alright, boyz, go out and seize the day!!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Football Fantasyland

Burney's "What if?" OC Prep Fantasy Football Team
QB Alex Malzone (Birmingham Brother Rice) – The Peyton Manning of the OC….'NUFF SAID
RB Matt Krause (Lake Orion) – I knew this Dragons Dandy was in for a big season toting the rock….I would have snatched him up in like the 3rd or 4th rd
RB  Zak Goor (WL Central) – Is this kid a freight train in the backfield or what?
WR Tyson Smith (OLSM) – Maybe the most consistent wide receiver in the area…YEAH I SAID IT!!
WR Nick Robak (WOLL) – All ROBOTRON does is make big-play after big-play
Flex Anthony Gunn (Pontiac NDP) – My man Double Barrel is ALL BUSINESS ALL THE TIME so that's why I need him on my squad
TE Nick Coccochetta (Novi Detroit CC) – The Big Hot Chocolate is a terror in the red zone, the definition of reliability, sure-handed and goal-line hungry
D Clarkston – Last week doesn't faze me…the WOLFPACK 'D' is mad dangerous….Take IT 2 THA BANK
K Anthony Springer (Southfield) – Underrated cash money
Main Bench Guys
Glacier Wallington (Oxford)
Centrus Williams (Clarkston)
James LaLonde (WL Northern)
Kameron Garner (Southfield Christian)
Jaylen Wiggins (Lake Orion)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Time To Take Notice

Farmington showed me a lot on the football field last night. The Falcons are for REAL!!
I'll admit, following Week 1's debacle vs Harrison, Burney had his doubts.
Those doubts were quickly vanquished after witnessing TEAM BECHTEL's total dismantling of AH Avondale in a 35-0 victory to raise its record to 2-1 on the year.
Offense – Scintillating
Defense – Superior
Special Teams – Smoking
Coaching – Smart
Playmakers – EVERYWHERE
Alright let's roll call it
Kyle Collins
So much natural SWAGGER under center it's utterly ridiculous
Dez Fitzpatrick
A secondary's worst nightmare
Jakkar Jackson
The definition of vicious and versatile
David Reese
I'm going to start calling this young man "THE BEAST" David Reese because he's in BEAST MODE on both sides of the ball ALL THE TIME, EVERY SNAP, EVERY GAME!!
Kyle Brunson
The 'B' is for BALLER!!
Justin Banks & Will Swanson
Leading the attack up front on the line like the BOSSES AND HOSSES I know they are
Courteous Preston-Mark Thomas
A pair of "Live-and-Die for-type" linebackers that ALWAYS get the job done
Damon Williams
MVP, MVP, MVP, MVP!!!...two picks and a sack on a safety blitz.....are you kidding me?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Burney's OC Football Rankings - Week 3

OC Top 10
1 Birmingham Brother Rice – Be afraid, be VERY afraid!!!
2 Clarkston – Joe Popp is THE MAN….'Nuff said!!!
3 OL St. Mary's – Team Porritt is on a rampage, that playoff miss last year really left a bad taste in their mouths and its showing with their play so far this fall
4 (tie) Southfield – I honestly can't tell you who the best or most dangerous player on the Blue Jays roster is, seriously, they have THAT many SUPERS STUDS
4 (tie) Oak Park – Lots of reasons to be excited this year in the OC's very own OAKTOWN, as in the gridiron is chalk full with ballers, maulers and all-around shot-callers....again!!
5 FH Harrison – Team HERRINGTON just as lethal as ever, not really that surprising, is it?
6 Oxford – Expect Dallas Pruitt and Jordan Henry to be good for a couple TD catches from the ICE MAN in WEEK 3...Take It 2 Tha Bank!!
7 WL Western – THIS is how the West is won……..that's a Burney-certified guarantee!!
8 Lake Orion – Zoom, zoom goes the Dragons offense, broom, broom goes the comp!!
9 Novi Detroit CC – Will be back to form soon…..Burney says COUNT ON IT'!!
10 West Bloomfield – Ya made it, boys!! Show well against C-Town on Friday and you'll be sticking around for a while I suspect….and oh by the way, Lakers   WR-SB-CB-KR Mike King is a diamond in the recruiting ruff folks, this kid is a STRAIGHT PLAYMAKER anytime he comes near the pigskin!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Taking Some Notes

A news and notes around the Oakland County prep football scene
West Bloomfield CB-WR Obbie Jackson committed to Eastern Michigan this week. Jackson and his Lakers are a scorching-hot 2-0, having outscored their opponents 76-13, 62-0 over the past six quarters.
AH Avondale senior tailback and Cincinnati-commit Josh Holloman has been officially christened "The Hologram"…… now you see him, now you don't, just when you think you've wrapped him up, he's disappeared alas some Star Trek/BEAM ME UP SCOTTY stuff. I can't believe it's taken me so long to name him that, its not like he's been tearing up defenses all across THE OC for the past two years before this…oh, wait he was…my bad, Mr. HOLLERBACK HOLLOGRAM!! Now, go and put up a 200-spot and tell'em your boy Burney told you to do it
Bad news out of Walled Lake Northern; Knights junior running back A.J. Chuchla might be out for the year with a broken leg suffered in Week 2……wishing the best for my man A.J. and the whole TEAM MOORE FAMILY out on Bogie Lake Rd
I like the nose for the goal-line I'm seeing from FH Harrison running back Omaury Rogers Watch out, this kid could be another TEAM HERRINGTON HUSTLA in the backfield
Lake Orion senior running back Matt Krause WILL reach the 1,000-yard plateau in Week 3....TAKE IT 2 THA BANK!!