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, March 31, 2015

Burney's Boys BBall Awards - Fearless In '15

Dream Team
G Foster Loyer (Clarkston) - The "phenom's phemom" 'nuff said
G Trishton Jackson (West Bloomfield) - Upside is on the moon for Action Jackson
G Jake Daniels (Holly) - Willed his team to the mountain top, did it with flair, ferocity and a fierce bravado
F Chris Barton (AH Avondale) - Hardest working superstar I've seen in a while
F John Van Hoef (Troy Athens) - Human walking, talking double-double, bear of an inside-outside threat and overall total stud!!
6th Man – Jeron (Buddha) Rogers (North Farmington) - A pure playmaker on the wing   
First Team
G Walter Kelser (WL Central)
G Jerald Booker (WL Western)
F Kevin Hayes (Birmingham Brother Rice)
F Marcus Bailey (WL Western)
C Zach Allread (West Bloomfield)
Sixth Man – Drew Myers (Clarkston)
Second Team
G Tariq Derrickson (Pontiac NDP)
G Austin Roth (Birmingham Seaholm)
G/F Nick Robak (WOLL)
F Spencer Littleson (RH Adams)
F Freddy John (Southfield-Lathrup)
6th Man – Jonathan Radner (Berkley)
MVP: Jake Daniels (Holly)
Small School MVP: Marlo Brown (Southfield Christian)
MIP: J.P. Sinacola (Stoney Creek) & Daryl Porter (WL Western)
Sterling Sniper Award - Anthony Qasawa (North Farmington)
6th Man Award: Tabin Throgmorton (Clarkston)
The He Who Hustles Harder Award (aka the SIR-GRIND-A-LOT) – Jonah Newblatt (Clarkston)
Big Man Award: Isaiah Green (Southfield)
Coach of the Year: Tim Morton (AH Avondale)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Burney's Girls BBall Awards - Fab In '15

Dream Team
G Bailey Thomas (Birmingham Marian) -The Perfect Point Guard, plan and simple
G Destiny Pitts (Birmingham DCD) - Miss Basketball 2017, plain and simple
G/F Taylor Jones (FH Mercy) - A rare "miss buckets menace", elite scoring talent on the wing with few, if any, equals in the entire state...YEAH I SAID IT!!
F Samantha Thomas (Birmingham Marian) - So flawless in so many ways
C Erika Davenport (Clarkston) - As dominant as dominant can be in the OAA
First Team
G Maria Zandi (Stoney Creek)
G Deja Church (Southfield-Lathrup)
F Kara Holinski (Birmingham Marian)
F Brittany Gray (Birmingham Marian)
C Amber Jamison (RH Adams)
Second Team
G Kristin Nelson (FH Harrison)
G Megan Carter (North Farmington)
F Jessica Murphy (Oxford)
F Gabbi Bird (SL East)
F Julia Kroll (Waterford Kettering)
MVP: Kara Holinski-Brittany Gray (Birmingham Marian)
MIP: Jaeda Robinson (Birmingham Marian)
Lady Hustler Award aka LADY GRIND-A-LOT: Sierra Wangler (FH Mercy)
Coach of the Year: Scott Woodhull (Waterford Kettering)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

No Love At The Park, My Bad, Boys!

In hindsight, Burney probably should have given the Oak Park Knights early-90s prep cage regime a little more love in his 50-in-50 boys basketball countdown of the top hoopsters in the OC over the last half-century.
Howard Golding and his "Big 3" of Ryan Perryman, Jamie Arnold and Rodney Hampton deserved a little better. It's not like Burney doesn't remember watching those guys ball out like rock stars on the hardwood back in the day...oh I do,…....they were hooping Houdinis, high-flying and fun to watch, no doubt, all three. The fact that they all saw time in the pros overseas speaks to that fact. Perryman and Hampton teamed to lead OP to a Class B district crown in 1994, right over and past future NBA'er and college All-American Shane Battier and his Detroit Country Day squad.
Perryman was simply a freight train of a power forward and an elite finisher on the break - not to mention a total monster on the glass in the college ranks at the University of Dayton, leading the NCAA DI field in rebounding in 1998 with almost 13 boards per night.
Arnold was a force to be reckoned with in the post as well, a shot-blocking prodigy if you will with his crane-like arms and length, and had a solid college career at Wichita State.
Hampton was a silky-stroking marksmen who played in the Big 12 at Iowa State, starting in the Cyclones backcourt in the 1999 Campaign

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Not Done Yet, Not Even Close

I sense that this year's Clarkston hoop heartbreak is the calm before the storm for Dan Fife and his Wolfpack cage troops (remember K-Rich?).
Before the Foster Loyer Era is over, Fife will raise a state-title banner…….maybe two or three …..Yeah I said It!!!......that's a Burney-Certified Guarantee!!!
All the state-tourney acrimony Fife has endured over the years will pay off with the Bling, Bling for C-Town favorite son and allow him to ride off into the sunset with the perfect career.
Loyer is just too much of a primetime talent, too special of a player, for it to not end that way.  C.J. Robinson and Tyler Houston are another two underclassmen to keep an eye out for in the WolfDen these next few years. And obviously T-RAW himself, Tabin Throgmorton will be back to team with Foster the Phenom in '16 to make a run at Breslin again.
Burney says; See ya in East Lansing sooner-than-later fellas!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

C-Town CAGE CREW Farewell

I thought this was the year of the Clarkston Wolves. I thought the C-Town grid and hoops squads were going to run the table. Guess it just wasn't meant to be, after Detroit U-D Jesuit dropped TEAM FIFE in the quarterfinals Tuesday courtesy of 34 points and a buzzer-beater by future McDonalds All-American Cassius Winston. But what a ride it was. As a journalist, I'll remember covering this '14-'15 group of C-Town athletes more than most. They're a fun, high-character fueled group of great kids with bright futures. Burney takes his hats off to you and sheds a tear while saying goodbye.
Drew "Steady Rock D" Myers - My hooping homeboy 4 life!!! What a baller , what  young man! Coldblooded Cage Assassin...'Nuff said!!  
Jonah "Splat" Newblatt - Sir Grind-A-Lot Special with few equals the past two seasons, looks like a football player, but was a basketball player with all the gritty ingredients of a pure winner!!
Josh Bonzeim & Dayton Wallis - Bonzi and Dayton Dub were the quintessential role players, the kind of guys you need to do what they do and do it well in order to go 24-0......that's what these two did, I see you fellas with that 'in-the-shadow' swag and I feel it and respect it! 
Merrick Canada - Maybe the most underrated two-sport gem in the OAA......just a gamer inside and out
Cole Chewins - Chewy, my man, all I can say stop  THE EL and the next stop after that...THE NFL DRAFT....yeah, I said it!!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Eight Ain't Enough

Things Burney's looking forward to in the boys bball quarterfinals (aka the ELITE 8)
The floor general throwdown between Clarkston's Foster 'The Phenom' Loyer and U-D Jesuit's Cassius Winston
A GINORMOUS effort from the C-Town post attach with Jonah "Splat" Newblatt and Cole Chewins going BONKERS…..expect 'Splat' to go Splish-Splash from downtown by nailing at least one 3-bomb
Wolfpack sideline general Dan Fife scooping up that second state semifinal it!!
WL Central's Walter "Baby Special K" Kelser, 'Nasty Nate' Collins & and Anton Lukaj catching some of that upset fever vs Saginaw Arthur Hill (as well as the game-within-a-game with Kelser and the Lumberjacks' & Texas-signee Eric Davis
Watching my main hardwood homeboyz at Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes punching the program's first final four tickets since the PAUL ROBAK era of the early 90s (Wait, isn't it the Paul Robak era right now too with him heading the ship on the bench?)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Five For Fighting - Big Time Balling

Five For Fighting – Most clutch performances on the girls hardwood at Breslin Center this weekend in the final four
1 Destiny Pitts (Birmingham DCD) – Introducing Miss Basketball 2017 edition, scored 28 in the semis and posted a double-double of 12 pts and 14 boards to lead DCD to the crown...SWAGGER LEVEL has already exceeded five hundred thousand trillion.....please make a note!!
2 Bailey Thomas (Birmingham Marian) – Was a dynamo in the state finals Saturday, battling foul trouble and still scoring 17 points to spark her squad to the repeat title.....most consistent, heady floor general in the OC    
3 Kaela Webb (Birmingham DCD) – This was a coming out party for Webb aka SPIDERWOMAN aka this young lady was a superhero this weekend. She busted loose for a 20-spot in the state finals and was simply spectacular in running the show at the 'Jackets point
3 Sam Thomas (Birmingham Marian) – The Double-Digit dandy has reached double figures in all four of her games in the final four, so ferocious, so so good, so so humble
5 Brittany Gray-Kara Holinski-Jaeda Robinson (Birmingham Marian) – Best set of role players (I cringe even calling them role players) I've ever seen on the girls hardwood…..THAT'S A BURNEY CERTIFIED FACT!!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Destiny 's Child

Destiny Pitts is PRICELESS. The Birmingham DCD girls basketball star just smiled when faced with the biggest game of her career so far on Friday night in the Class B state semifinals. With a giant grin the entire way, Pitts pumped in a simply scintillating double-double of 28 points and 10 boards, swishing six triples and all-out dominating a demolition of Goodrich. The love she showed for the game of basketball was evident. Why else do it? You're supposed to compete at whatever sport you choose because you love it, because it's more than just a game. Pitts is a diaper dandy like few I've seen on the girls HS hardwood. Every time she steps foot on the floor you can tell she's laying it all on the line and having the time of her life. And that's PRICELESS!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Maestro

Foster Loyer is unbelievable ...nuff said. Oh, ok, I'll say a little more. Who needs DTE? This kid is shining so bright he can light all of Metro Detroit. The last time I saw what the Clarkston freshman boys hoop phemon is doing right now (lifting a varsity club on his back as a ninth grader and willing it to a deep run in the tourney) was 12 years ago in Chicago when I watched Glenbrook North's Jon Sheyer lead the Spartans to the IHSAA state championship game (he'd take GBN to the crown two years later). Foster is just as smart, savvy and clutch as Sheyer was. In case you don't know, Sheyer went on to be a McDonald's All-American and end his college career as one of the best to ever suit up for the illustrious Duke program, captaining the Blue Devils to a National Title. In other words, don't be surprised if Loyer embarks on a similar path. The only difference I foresee is Loyer getting that state championship ring as a ninth-grader (the first of at least 2) and won't have to wait until his junior campaign to hoist the ultimate trophy alas Sheyer in Chitown. Sheyer is now an assistant on the bench at Duke. Loyer tallied 65 points in the Wolves two victories in the regional (career highs of 30 on Monday in the semis and then 35 on Wed in the finals)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Five For Fighting - Glory Days

Five For Fighting – Top Performers in Monday's boys bball regional semis
1 Foster Loyer - Best player in the OC right now....YEAH I SAID IT.....and he's only barely 15.... that's what a 30-point-ll-dime outing in the tourney, coming off a 24-pointer in the district finals will do for ya
2 Jake Daniels - Plain and simple, a COLDBLOODED assassin on the court....dropped 27 on 7 triples, be afraid, be very afraid!!
3 Nick Robak - ROBOTRON wreaked havoc on the Roeper Roughriders, pumping in 29 points in the lopsided 'dub
4 Walter Kelser - Baby Special K was extra special once again, going for 26 points in the Vikings upending of Howell
5 Anthony Qasawa - Q-Factor went buck wild in the Raiders victory, 24 over the last 3 quarters of action in pounding of Oak Park...just another day at the office

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Power Aid - Boys BBall Regionals

Top 5 Teams
1 Clarkston
2 North Farmington
3 WL Central
4 AH Avondale
5 Holly
Top 5 Players
1 Chris Barton (AU Avondale)
2 Foster Loyer (Clarkston)
3 Buddha Rogers (NF)
4 Jake Daniels (Holly)
5 (tie) Walter Kelser (WL Central)
5 (tie) Nick Robak (WOLL)
Top 5 Coaches
1 Tim Morton (AH Avondale)
2 Dan Fife (Clarkston)
3 Lance Baylis (Holly)
4 (tie) Josh Baker (SCS)
4 (tie) Todd Negoshian (North Farmington)
5 (tie)  Greg Carter (Oak Park)
5 (tie) Chuck Spolsky (WL Central)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Going Out On A Limb

Burney's Bold predictions for the next two weeks of March Madness:
1 North Farmington RAIDERSNATION will make a quarterfinal appearance 
2 Holly and Walled Lake Central will play an all-out war of an instant classic in the regional finals at what will surely be a raucous Horseshoe (Burney's keeping the victor a secret)
3 WOLL will be final four-bound in both boys and girls hoops
4 The vaunted Clarkston Cage Crew snags legendary coach Dan Fife that long-awaited wooden mitten (aka a Class A state crown)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Net Objective

Taylor Jones, one of the top scoring threats the area's girls hoops scene has seen in quite a while, is done in her FH Mercy uniform - the Marlins bowed to Birmingham Marian in a Class A regional final. Next stop: Rochester Hills and Oakland U.
This girl has a nose for the bucket like few I've covered. Her swagger and determination were in overload whenever I saw her take the court. She's long and active, which in terms of defense, will only help her achieve success at the next level.
But that natural instinct to score the basketball is her best attribute. It's uncanny. I think she just scored a few more baskets for good measure. I will always remember her 32-spot in the regionals as a sophomore, her game-winning miracle steal and layup at the buzzer last year in the Catholic League finals and her 37-ball last week in districts....those are some pretty magnificent memories, don't ya think?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

See Ya Later, Skip

My high school basketball coach, Birmingham Roeper's Ernie Righetti, called it a career tonight.
His girls cage crew bowed from state tourney play with a loss to Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes in the Class D regionals.
For over 30 years, the big fella was on the bench leading both the Roughriders girls and boys hoops programs. At the end of the day he has almost 800 wins to show for it, one of the best totals in MHSAA history.
I can honestly say without a doubt in my mind I learned more from Ernie in my teenage years than any book or teacher I ever had. He taught me about being a man, a human being, an individual of substance and character, about what it meant to be responsible, devoted and mature, about how to be relentless in your work ethic and commitment. I owe so much to him, the person that besides my father was the most influential male role model and mentor in my life. He cultivated my love of basketball, coaching me from the time I was 11 until I was 18. My junior year on varsity, I played sparingly on his first-ever district championship team. My senior year, I was his captain on a repeat-title squad. Those memories, his guidance and nurturing, are forever embedded in my heart. His impact, his lasting imprint at a school where there were hurdles upon hurdles facing success and support in athletics endeavors, was tremendous, indelible. His legend in the area's small-school prep basketball ranks colossal. Here's hoping his retirement days are just as fulfilling.  

Monday, March 9, 2015

Five For Fighting - Monday Night BBall

Five For Fighting – Best individual performances on the boys bball court to open tourney play
1 Freddy John (Southfield Lathrup) – Breakfast Meat Alert: The recent Toledo-commit went HAM in an edging of Royal Oak, posting 27 points, 17 rebounds and hitting the game-winning shot…..'NUFF SAID!!
2 Spencer Littleson (RH Adams) – A DURANT-LIKE Double-Double, going for 27 points and 10 boards in revenge victory over crosstown foe Stoney Creek
3 Austin Roth (Birmingham Seaholm) – Just another day at the office for my man AR-57, dropping a 31-ball in a dub to tipoff the tourney in MAPLESNATION
4 "Little Ra" Murray (Southfield Bradford) – Nothing little about Baby Ra Monday night as he kept Bradford's season alive with a buzzer-beating triple to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat
5 Ian Hodges (Holly) – This silky southpaw cage phenom went for 21 in the Bronchoes upending of Linden

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Burney's Boys BBall Rankings - This Is It

OC TOP 10 – Final Grades
1 Clarkston – Final Four or bust!!
2 North Farmington – Wish Billy Thomas could come along for the Raiders tourney ride….don't worry, BT, next year will be huge for you…..'bout to take the OAA backcourt scene by storm in '16….. book it!!
3 WL Western –Very special year in BIG BLUE WARRIORNATION no matter what March Madness holds in store
4 West Bloomfield – Don't look past Jeremy Denha in OC Coach of the Year race
5 Birmingham Brother Rice – The Ghosts of Great RICE CAGER PAST could be rearing their heads this week……I sense a little Kevin Smith KARMA coming on!!
6 AH Avondale – Hardest working team in the OC….that kind of style bodes well for tourney play, don't ya think?
7 WL Central – Vikings' darn dangerous right about now….. I – FACTOR anyone ? as in Ike the Vike!!
8 Southfield Christian – Finally cracking the poll, probably should have been there all along
9 Holly – Burney sees a lengthy jaunt in the Bronchos future
10 Troy Athens – Best 12-8 team in the state!!!......Yeah I said it!!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Still In The Hunt?

I hope that Clarkston's early exit from the girls hoops tourney doesn't take Wolves superstar Erika Davenport out of the race for Miss Basketball.
She could easily be the best player in the state right now. Playing in a beast of a conference (OAA RED), Davenport averaged 23 points and 13 rebounds per night. Throughout the past three years, she's been practically unstoppable.
Burney wishes she could have had a longer March Madness run and prays it doesn't bounce her from the Miss BBall comp. Either way, the Marquette-bound Davenport goes down as an all-time great in Oakland County, after bringing home Class A Player of the Year honors last year as only a junior. The OC has had two Miss Basketballs in its history: and they came in back-to-back campaigns when Birmingham Marian's Jennifer Shasky and Birmingham DCD's Peggy Evans accepted the prestigious award in 1989 and 1990, respectively.
The finalists for the 2015 Miss Basketball trophy:
Erika Davenport (Clarkston)
Tania Davis (Goodrich)
Cierra Rice (GP South)
Kalabrya Gondrezick (Benton Harbor)
Pressley Hudson (Wayland)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Fresh Perspective

Pinch me, Burney must be dreaming. Clarkston's Foster Loyer is almost too good to be true.
The fab frosh does it all on the basketball floor. I have no question in my mind that he will leave C-Town in a few years as one of the school's all-time greats. And possibly with the prpgram's first state title in tow.
I'm talking Mr. Basketball caliber here. I'm talking McDonald's All-American, Duke/Kentucky caliber. That's where this PHENOM is headed. It's a no-brainer. This is the smartest, most fundamentally-sound and poised ninth-grade hoopster I've witnessed in the area in well over a decade. He posted 15 points and seven dimes to help lead Clarkston to a 66-57 defeat of RH Adams Thursday to put a cherry on top of their perfect 20-0 regular season
I'll go out on a limb and declare Loyer the MVP of the always rough and rugged OAA Red and maybe the entire OC this year (…..and he's got three more to go!!!)
In other words, be afraid, be VERY afraid. The Foster the Phenom era is ready to be an epic adventure. Let's all strap in and enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Right Said Fred

Southfield-Lathrup boys basketball star Freddy John is bound for a border crossing in his near future. The destination - Ohio.
John, a 6-6 swingman and three-year starter for the Chargers, will be heading across the state border for his college hoops, committing to the University of Toledo this week following a visit to the Rockets campus.
One of the most under-the-radar cage studs in the area, John is an excellent shooter, a dogged slasher and a tenacious rebounder. His internal motor is his best hardwood intangible – the kid is relentless out there.
Waiting for him on campus when he arrives full-time this summer is former Lathrup teammate, Jonathon (Jon-Jon) Williams, Toledo's starting sophomore point guard.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

One For The Thumb

Bling, bling. The ORIGINAL & One-and-Only OC ZEN MASTER has worked his magic once again and will wear yet another state championship ring on his already crowded fingers. This one was acquired in the dessert
Yep, I'm talking about Kurt Keener, the former legendary Birmingham Detroit Country Day boys basketball coach, now on the bench down in Arizona.
Back on Saturday, Keener's Gilbert Christian squad raised an AHSAA Division 2 state-title trophy with a 55-52 overtime edging of Arcadia.
For the American prep version of Phil Jackson, that's one for the thumb – yeah, that's right, Keener has TEN state crowns to his name as of this past weekend after posting nine state-championship banners at DCD in his 35 years building the 'Jackets into a national high school hoop power.
Meanwhile, a Keener-less DCD program finished 4-16. WOW, the two years since he left feels like an eternity.
Gilbert Christian went 25-6 in 2015 and wrapped up the regular season with the No. 4 ranking in the state of Arizona.
Former Southfield Christian all-state point guard Bakari Evelyn (three state-championship rings at SCS) is at Gilbert Christian this year – he never made it onto the hardwood though due to eligibility issues.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Power Aid - Girls Hoops

Top 5 Teams
1 Birmingham Marian
2 Southfield-Lathrup
3 Birmingham DCD
4 Waterford Kettering
5 Stoney Creek
Top 5 Players
1 Erika Davenport (Clarkston)
2 Birmingham Marian (the ENTIRE 'STANGS STABLE!!)
3 Taylor Jones (FH Mercy)
4 Amber Jamison (RH Adams)
5 Destiny Pitts (Birmingham DCD)
Top 5 Coaches
1 Scott Woodhull (Waterford Kettering)
2 Mary Ciccerone (Birmingham Marian)
3 Steve Emert (Oxford)
4 Michelle Marshall (Southfield-Lathrup)
5 Ernie Righetti (Birmingham Roeper)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Bonus Bytes Edition - Sweet Emotion

OC boys hoops quick hitters
If WL Central junior 5-foot-10 combo guard Walter Kelser was just three or four inches taller he might be the most deadly player in the whole state…….Yeah I said it!!
Troy Athens is my potential darkhorse entering tourney play in a week – I can see the Red Hawks going to the Elite 8
Hazel Park senior Julius Giles might be the No. 1 player in the area YOU'VE never heard of it…..kid's got mad game!!
AH Avondale's Tim Morton for coach of the year!!!!
Burney loves himself some WL Western 'BIG 4' of Bailey, Booker, Flowers & Porter......those are some straight Gs right there.....another couple of crownings anyone?
Mad Shout Outs to Southfield Bradford for its first league championship in school history – the Bulldogs claimed the Charter League crown Friday night. 'BB' Roll Call: Quantas Ruffin, DeLeon McDaniel and Cordell Kelly make up a very good frontcourt, senior "Little Ra" Murray has been rock solid in the backcourt.
Novi Detroit Catholic Central sophomore C.J. Baird is one of my favorite tenth-graders in the county right now
Southfield Christian's Brock Washington is on the verge of reaching SWAGGER LEVEL FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND TRILLION….I'll let you know when it happens (I'll give everyone a hint, I think it could come in the next few weeks)