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.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Fresh From The Nest

OL St. Mary's junior hoopster Jalon Bailey is a name to watch for.
This kid is catching fire at the right time. He just keeps getting better and better.
He's got a savvy, sugary type game, like Cotton Candy (future nickname alert!!) - silky stroke, fluid style, lip-smacking good on both ends of the court.
In the CHSL quarterfinals, he had 19. On Wednesday in the Eaglets 46-43 upset of Birmingham Brother Rice in the semis, he had 15 and swung momentum for his team early in the second half with consecutive triples.
To put it mildly, Bailey is a baby beast. AKA…… can see full-fledged BEAST MODE in his near future.
Agile and active on the wing, he has a soft touch on his long and mid-range jumper and his move to the tin is fast-improving. When he gets in rhythm from outside, forget about it….he's as MONEY as Floyd Mayweather. His footwork on defense is excellent and you can see he has natural anticipation skills by the way he gets his arms into passing lanes.
In other worlds, JBailey is BALLER, soon-to-be SHOT CALLER and all-around playmaker that you need to know about it… I just told, ya!! No thanks is needed!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Wondering In Waterford

In the world of what could have been, Waterford Mott is a beast on the boys basketball floor this season.
Mott is actually run-of-the-mill in 2015. If they had a starting frontcourt of D'Monta Harris, Austin Sherrell and KaKaun Williams, they wouldn't be. In fact, they probably would have challenged WL Western and WL Central for a league title in the KLAA North and had a chance at a long tourney run.
Harris (6-foot-4) and Sherrell (6-foot-6 1/2) are starring for 18-0 New Haven, following a transfer to play in the MAC for their respective senior campaigns. Harris is New Haven's leading scorer, excelling on the wing. The long, lanky and athletic Sherrell messed around and had a triple-double Tuesday night in an 84-78 win over Warren Lincoln (10 points, 10 boards, 10 dimes).
Last season, Harris was Mott's top scoring threat in the frontcourt. Sherrell started at center.
Williams (6-foot-4), the leading scorer and rebounder crosstown at Kettering in 2014, played one game for Mott this year before parting ways with the program. He broke the rim on a dunk in a preseason scrimmage.
What if all three were clicking on all cylinders in 2015 for TEAM JAYSON? Combine them with guys like Timmy Williams and DeMarquis Simmonton in the backcourt and you've got quite a contender.
Kinda crazy to think about, right?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Pride, Passion & Poise

Berkley's boys hoop squad and its' star Jonathan Radner are playing some impassioned basketball right now. Radner, headed to play in college at Syracuse (preferred walk-on) and Oakland County's leading scorer last year as a junior, lost his dad Rick late last month.
The passing of the team's biggest fan (Rick never missed a game) seems to have galvanized the Bears. They're playing darn good down the stretch. Their danger level is at James Bond villain-status and getting more wicked and wild by the game.
Growling like a grizzly, the Bears have won six of their last seven contests. On Monday, TEAM BIG MAC pushed their record over the .500 mark, improving to 9-8 on the season with a 65-56 defeat of BH Cranbrook.
Senior point guard "Jitterbug Junction" aka Jerome Cobb touched up the twine for a game-high 21 points, while the MAD RAD BOMBER went for a double-double on the Cranes, scoring 11 and dishing 10 dimes and "Clever" Connor McKelvey posted one too, scoring 11 and snaring 10 boards.
Noah Witus is a genuine SIR-GRIND-A-LOT SPECIAL on the wing and the best kind, the kind that can drop a 20-ball in your lap on any given night – see last week's 28-point effort.
My man Mad Rad Senior is smiling down from above, no doubt, basking in Berkley's grit and resilience. Wouldn't want to face this Bears cage crew come March....just saying!!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Burney's Boys BBall Rankings - Home Stretch

OC Top 10
1 Clarkston – PERRRRRRRRRRRRRRFECT!!!.....'Nuff said!!
2 North Farmington – Back in gear, back at No. 2….all is right with the world now
3 WL Western – Book it, Jerald Booker is MVP of the KLAA North!!!
4 West Bloomfield – Lakeshow junior point guard Trishton "ACTION" Jackson showing why he's the best player in the OC by sticking a 35-point spot on a beleaguered Bloomfield Hills over the weekend…….my man Action just keeps
5 Birmingham Brother Rice – Calihan is calling, boyz!!  See ya there Sunday!!
6 WL Central – Transfer junior forward Anton Lukaj (West Bloomfield) recently reached SWAGGER LEVEL THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND TRILLION with his Viking Hoop Voodoo…..please spread the word!!
7 (tie) AH Avondale – Darius Woods is a mini Brandon Jennings….Yeah, I said it!!
7 (tie) Holly – All Hail the Flint Metro Champs!!!.....AGAIN!!
8 Oak Park – Man, has AD and football sideline guru Greg Carter done an amazing job stabilizing what was an about-to-rage-out-of-control situation in the basketball program or what?  
9 RH Adams – Just so many ace marksmen gunning from downtown for TEAM HALL they must hold practice at a shooting range….splish, splash!!
10 Pontiac – 'Yaktown Pride has returned on the hardwood….catch the fever!!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Better Than The Mailman

New UofM head football coach Jim Harbaugh delivered scholarship offers to two of the OC's top junior prep grid prospects in Southfield's Matt Falcon and Farmington's Dez Fitzpatrick last week.
Falcon is a versatile tailback with sprinter speed. He has over a dozen major DI offers, including bids from the Maize&Blue, Oho State, Iowa, Northwestern, N.C. State, Tennessee, Wake Forest and Vanderbilt.
Fitzpatrick is a fundamentally sound, big-play wide receiver who is already committed to Louisville. Don't be surprised if Fantastic FITZY is inking with Team Harbaugh next winter. Can you imagine a UofM aerial assault in a few years from now piloted by Alex Malzone (Brother Rice) and featuring Fitzpatrick, Maurice "Mo Money" Ways (Detroit Country Day) and Grant Perry (Brother Rice) stretching the field.....are you kidding me....Burney would be in Big House Heaven!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Oh, My These Ladies Can Hoop

Who needs a five-year plan? A four-year plan is better, don't you think?
The O-Town Reclamation Project is complete.  Spread the word!
Sideline maestro Steve Emert has officially turned the Oxford girls basketball team completely around in his fourth season captaining the pine.
On Thursday, the Wildcats won the program won its first league crown in over a dozen years (14 to be exact) with a trouncing of Troy.
I knew once Emert got on the bench at Oxford, it was only a matter of when not if the 'Cats would start growling again. And man, do they flash some mighty ferocious fangs in 2015. Tea,m EMERT aka the O-Town Lady Cager Crew is 14-0 and ran the table in the OAA White, putting together a perfect 8-0 league mark.
The 'Cats are bountiful in the balance department.
Senior captains Jessica Murphy (Wayne St) and Cheryl Benas (Lawrence Tech) anchor the perimeter and junior center Sky Donaldson fuels Oxford in the paint. Murphy is as explosive on the wing offensively as any player in the state....YEAH, I SAID IT!! She dropped a 25-spot vs. Troy....that's what she does, she makes sweet, sweet net music, like recording-contract and American Idol sweet. Benas is the ultimate pace setter at the point and Donaldson is one of the most improved post presences in the area. Emert came out of retirement to helm the Oxford girls program, years removed from guiding both the boys and girls clubs at WL Central in the 1980s, 90s and early 2000s.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Sad State of Affairs

It's hard to watch what is the painful downfall of one of the greatest prep-hoop dynasties the state of Michigan ever saw.
To say former national high school cage power Birmingham Detroit Country Day is a shadow of its former self on the boys hardwood would be the understatement of the New Millennium.
The cavernous drop-off in the program once led by the OC ZEN MASTER himself, Kurt Keener (departed for Arizona in 2013 after taking the 'Jackets to 9 state titles in three and a half decades on the bench while mentoring tons of Division I college players on and off the court), happened lightning quick and isn't at all the fault of Keener's successor Mark Bray.
This was an untenable situation. However, Bray is out in front taking the brunt of this cataclysmic storm, as we've witnessed a team who just two years ago could go toe-to-toe with literally any club in the country and just yesterday got completely dismantled and embarrassed in a 30-point blowout loss to a very average Orchard Lake St. Mary's squad.
DCD will finish below the .500 mark for the first time since I can remember this winter and tragically I am of the opinion that this is what the school itself wanted and why Keener is no longer there. They resented being known as a "basketball school" and want to be known as an elite academic school - why it can't be both, like it had been since the 1980s, I'm not quite sure.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Live From The Glue Factory

Do you know who could be the top "Glue Guy" on the boys basketball court in the OC this year?
Here's a hint: He might also be the most improved player in the whole KLAA.
I'm talking about my main hooping homeboy Daryl Porter out at Walled Lake Western.
Dynamic Daryl is playing out of his mind, averaging double figures in the scoring column and helping his Warriors soar.
Western is 15-1 and just claimed a share of the KLAA North title for the first time in a decade.
Competing with fundamentally-sound tenacity and showing off quite a buttery soft touch on his jumper, Porter is a catalyst for the WARRIORSNATION cage assault in 2015. He started to come on strong at the tail end of last year, now he's in full-blown BALLER MODE. Going to the rack, he's straight cash money. Getting out on transition and filling a lane on the fast break, he's displaying athleticism, finishing skill and crazy pogo stick hops.
To sum it up, Porter went from a role player to a possible college-scholarship bound hooper in the matter of a few months. What a testament to his work ethic, attitude and making the most of the opportunity when its provided.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Five For Fighting - Catholic Crossing

Five For Fighting – Top performers over the weekend in the CHSL girls hoops tourney
1 Taylor Jones (FH Mercy) – Hung a 30-spot on Pontiac NDP in Marlins 'Dub'…just another day at the office for my main Mercy homegirl TJ
2 Ally O' Donohue (Wixom St. Catherine) – O' Donohue did a Diana Taurasi and dropped 18 points in the Stars' smackdown of WOLL
3 The whole Birmingham Marian team – Creamed AP Cabrini (I sent the Cabrini athletic program a condolence card Fri morning that opened 'To the dearly departed)............the Swagger Level in the Mustangs locker room has reached FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND TRILLION and is still growing……think UConn
4 Audrey North (RO Shrine) – North was MAD NICE on the hardwood for the Knights, leading a balanced Shrine Lady Cager attack over MH Bishop Foley by contributing 10 points
5 Gabbi Green (Wixom St. Catherine) – Played Lisa Leslie to teammate O' Donohue's Sheryl Swoopes Saturday putting up a 15-ball in St. Catherine's win

Friday, February 13, 2015

Be On Red Alert

Reasons why Troy Athens can take a tumultuous season on the boys hardwood so far (the vet-laden Red Hawks are 7-8 and just lost senior capt Timmy Shayoka for the season with a knee injury) and turn it into another one to remember – Does the term 3PEAT mean anything to you?
Taylor McCaskill is one of the most exciting freshman in the area....TAKE IT 2 THA BANK!!
Corbin Vrinj is back and on the warpath – see Tuesday's 16-point effort and his second-half monster slam Thursday night....Can you say X-Factor?
Crossover specialist Devin Terry is the Red Hawks resident ankle-breaker in the backcourt.....he's TTTTTTTERRIFIC!
Zak Spryzak is a SIR-GRIND-A-LOT STUD MUFFIN.....floor burns beware!!
John Van Hoef is a walking, talking double-double......not too many athletes as consistent as the JVH in the OC
Nick Santoni is a BALLER & SHOT CALLER no matter what he does....Two words: quiet assassin
Max Adamo will surprise you coming off the bench with his savvy and determination

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Let's talk primetime performers. Let's talk RH Adams boys basketball standout Joey Ziniti aka JOEY ZSA ZSA.
Is this kid coldblooded from beyond the arc or what?
The Highlanders' junior juggernaut on the wing is as CASH MONEY as they come from downtown with the game on the line.
On Tuesday, he nailed another game-winning triple, his second this season, in Adams' edging of Troy Athens. Earlier this year, Ziniti sank 7 3-balls, including the game-winner against Oak Park.
When you combine him and fellow junior riflemen Spencer Littleson we've got the OC's own version of the Splash Brothers…….YEAH, I SAID IT!!
Besides displaying excellent marksmanship and an unflappable demeanor at all times on the court, Joey ZSA ZSA is durable, dogged, fundamentally-sound and a GRADE-A finisher on his move to the rack and on the fast break. Defensively, he's in-your-face and active and practically impossible to screen.
If I'm a D2, D3 or NAIA program looking for NASTY AS YOU WANT BE at all the times in the backcourt, the kind of kid that will run through a wall for you and connect on TWO-ONION SPECIALS from 3-Land with the game on the line, I'm looking towards Rochester Hills and HighlanderCountry and my man JOEY ZSA ZSA.....BANG, BANG, homeboy!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

Bad news out of Troy Athens.
Red Hawks senior boys basketball star Timmy Shayoka is done for the season with a torn ACL.
Shayoka was a stud, a Sir-Grind-A-Lot SPECIAL with an endless motor and ice running through his veins. He was one of those four-year varsity players that seemed like he'd be in the OC cage scene forever….wasn't his freshman year in 2003?
The kid was a true winner, too – like back-to-back league and district titles type winning.
Watching my boy Timmy was like witnessing a freight train pick up speed and start plowing over anything in its path. That's how he plays basketball, like a ball-toting demon with drive, desire and a deadly streak in the clutch. Wherever he lands at the college level will be getting one heck of a talent and terror in the backcourt....that's a Certified Burney Guarantee!!!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Burney's Boys BBall Rankings - Over The Top

OC Top 10
1 Clarkston – More Mitch Heaton & Cole Chewins in the TEAM FIFE frontcourt will make Burney so so Happy!!
2 West Bloomfield – LakeShow FEVER Activated…..& OVERLOADED
3 WL Western – The Western cage squad hasn't sizzled like thid since the Ben Dewar era (look it up, kids)
4 North Farmington – Bit by a recent turnover bug, no doubt RAIDERSNATION will rebound this week……Take it 2 tha Bank!!
5 Birmingham Brother Rice – Kevin Hayes is about to go all KEVIN HAYES on the U-D Jesuit…..calling my shot….double-double of 25-10 and an Orange&Black dub
6 WL Central – Nasty Nate Collins has unlimited range……just had to say that
7 Holly – The Horseshoe is getting quite HEATED these days…..can you say repeat Flint Metro champions?
8 AH Avondale – TEAM MORTON aka the 'Jackets hoop crew are the feel-good story of the season in Burney's opinion
9 (tie) Stoney Creek – STRAIGHT G ALERT whenever Cougars senior swingman Eric Gilgenbach enters a room, let alone a basketball court
9 (tie) RH Adams – Highlanders senior sniper Brandon Barrows reached SWAGGER LEVEL FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND TRILLION…..please make a note!!
10 (tie) Oak Park – Will Kelvon Fuller get back on the floor in 2015? Answer to that question holds OP's fate.
10 (tie) Pontiac – Fab frosh Jalon Kelso has even played a month of varsity ball and he's already one of the area's best in the backcourt

Sunday, February 8, 2015

OC Mid-Season Boys BBall Report - Awards

1 Tim Morton (AH Avondale)
2 Ed Shaffer (Birmingham Brother Rice)
3 Ben Kelso (Pontiac)
4 Brandon Sinawi (Novi)
5 (tie) Steve Norgrove (Stoney Creek)
5 (tie) Gary Fralick (Troy)
6th Man
1 Tabin Throgmorton (Clarkston)
2 Jordan Jaden (Oxford)
3 Josh "Baby Hoags" Hogans (North Farmington)
4 David Rinke-Mike Girdler (RH Adams)
5 The Whole Holly Bench
1 Anthony Qasawa (North Farmington)
2 Mason Vires (Oxford)
3 Jacob Joubert (North Farmington)
4 J.P. Sinacola (Stoney Creek)
5 Austin Roth (Birmingham Seaholm)
1 Trishton Jackson (West Bloomfield)
2 Jerald Booker (WL Western)
3 Kevin Hayes (Birmingham Brother Rice)
4 Jeron "Buddha" Rogers (North Farmington)
5 Austin Roth (Birmingham Seaholm)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

OC Mid-Season Boys BBall Report - Frontcourt

Small Forward
1 Jeron (Buddha) Rogers (North Farmington)
2 Spencer Littleson (RH Adams)
3 Chris Barton (AH Avondale)
4 Marlow Brown (Southfield Christian)
5 Deshawn Lewis (Birmingham DCD)
1 Kevin Hayes (Birmingham Brother Rice)
2 Anthony Qasawa (North Farmington)
3 Tabin Throgmorton (Clarkston)
4 Naji Ozier (Novi)
5 Antonio Capaldi (MH Bishop Foley)
Power Forward
1 Kelvon Fuller (Oak Park)
2 Marcus Bailey (WL Western)
3 Freddy John (Southfield-Lathrup)
4 (tie) Del Alexander (Oxford)
4 (tie) John Van Hoef (Troy Athens)
5 Jake Menzel (Lakeland)
1 Isaiah Green (Southfield)
2 Zach Allread (West Bloomfield)
3 Jonah Newblatt (Clarkston)
4 Justin Banks (Farmington)
5 John Rexroth (FH Harrison)

Friday, February 6, 2015

Next Man Up

Could the Jeff Rubin era be on the horizon with the Bloomfield Hills boys basketball program?
Rubin seems to be the most logical choice to step in for Duane Graves, who resigned his post this week. Graves (the former Lahser sideline general) led the BlackHawks to a berth in the Class A state finals last year.
Before the school merger, Rubin was the boys coach at Andover. Now, he just coaches the girls at BH. Back in his Andover days, not many coaches in the state got as much out of his talent than Rubin did.
I guess only time will tell.
Nick Stration has been named interim head coach, presumably for the rest of the season.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Please, Do Burney A Favor

I'm begging TEAM NOGO to apply the press the next time North Farmington plays Clarkston. They never do and always lose. Now, the Raiders press every other team they play. For some reason, they don't think it will work against TEAM FIFE.
Well, maybe so, but at least they would lose playing THEIR game. No team presses better than NF. They're relentless. Raidersnation brings pressure as good as anyone around. I know C-Town has some pretty good guard play (they always do), yet I also know the press WOULD work. It does against almost everyone else. Make Burney happy and go back to doing what you guys do best when you square off in the Wolf Den later this month. I guarantee positive results, if not a much-needed win for a superior OC rivalry that isn't much of a Rivalry with Clarkston taking the last 9 straight in the series.

Monday, February 2, 2015

OC Mid-Season Boys BBall Report - Backcourt

Point Guard
1 Trishton Jackson (West Bloomfield
2 Jerald Booker (WL Western)
3 Foster Loyer (Clarkston)
4 Jacob Joubert (North Farmington)
5 Darius Woods (AH Avondale)
Combo Guard
1 Austin Roth (Birmingham Seaholm)
2 Jake Daniels (Holly)
3 Walter Kelser (WL Central)
4 Drew Myers (Clarkston)
5 Jonathan Radner (Berkley)
Shooting Guard
1 J.P. Sinacola (Stoney Creek)
2 Kyle Woodruff (Holly) *
3 Nick Robak (WOLL)
4 Mason Vires-Connor Elzerman (Oxford)
5 Dominic Downs-Davis Feldman (Birmingham Brother Rice)
*Woodruff is out for the year with a broken collar bone suffered in practice a couple weeks ago

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Extending The Anticipation

We'll just have to wait a little longer.
The prep boys basketball superclash of Oakland County powers Clarkston & North Farmington has been moved from Monday to Wednesday due to severe weather.
North Farmington, who will be hosting the first of two February cage showdowns, is 12-0. Clarkston, eight-time defending champions in the always rough and rugged OAA Red, is too.
Both clubs are deep, experienced and well-coached.
TEAM NOGO aka the NF Raiders are headed by a three-headed monster (possibly four-headed by the end of this week), led by Jeron (Buddha) Rogers, Anthony "The Q Factor" Qasawa and Jacob "Junior Judge" Joubert – aka the "Mini Magistrate."
Mega transfer Billy "The Bomber" Thomas (U-D Jesuit-Genesis Academy) might be finally eligible after nearly a month in limbo because of an MHSAA investigation and transcript issues.
Clarkston aka THE FIFE FRANCHISE is flashing possibly the best squad the school has seen since its 2009 final four team.
The 2015 Wolfpack are piloted by the likes of captain, Drew "Steady Rock D" Myers, junior wing Tabin "T-Raw" Throgmorton, post prowler Jonah "Splatt" Newblatt and frosh phenom Foster "The Fearless One" Loyer.
Rev your engines gentlemen and let's get ready to BALL OUT like an old-school battle on the hardwood between the Lakers-Celtics.