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, May 31, 2015

Getting It Done In The Shadows

Oxford's Connor Elzerman has quietly built himself up into one of the top primetime gunners on the local boys hardwood these past two years, so maybe it's no surprise that he's quietly made his plans for the next level, too.
Elzerman, a long, lean and mean shooting guard with a penchant for offensive outbursts on the perimeter, recently signed with Goshen College minus much fanfare.
This kid is a game-changer of a talent. Besides being the owner of an elite shooting stroke and having 'big play' embedded in his gene code, he's the type of player that leads by example on the court – I've never seen him take a play off. Defensively, he upped his game this winter and is the definition of coachable.
Goshen is in Indiana and is an NAIA school.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Five For Fighting - Out There For The Taking

Five For Fighting – The Top 5 unsigned senior hoopsters in the OC
1 Isaiah Green (Southfield C) – Might have been the best pure big man in the area last season
2 Anthony Qasawa (North Farmington G/F) – Versatile game, red-hot shooter, has a game that just keeps improving every year
3 Nick Robak (Waterford Lakes G/F) – Natural scorer, natural athlete, GRADE-A pedigree, winner in every way possible
4 Timmy Shayoka (Troy Athens G) – Definition of grit, determination and intelligence in the backcourt, a true leader,
5 Mason Vires (Oxford G) – Deadeye shooter and a SIR-GRIND-A-LOT Special that lives in the gym, underrated playmaker off the dribble, has finally grown into his body, super under-the-radar because of lack of serious varsity minutes until this winter

Thursday, May 28, 2015

V Is For Victory

Move over, Drew, David's in the house.
Farmington Hills Harrison baseball star David Vinsky broke Hawks alum Drew Stanton's single-season record for most base hits by slugging his 57th of the campaign this week.
Stanton quarterbacked Harrison to three state championships on the football field and led the Hawks into the baseball quarterfinals as a prepster in the early 2000s. He's currently playing in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals.
Vinsky could follow in Stanton's footsteps on the gridiron, as well – he might be Harrison's starting field general in the fall. Last season, he stepped in under center for injured all-league signal-caller Jevon Shaw in the playoffs and helped take TEAM GREEN AKA TEAM HERRINGTON to an appearance in the D2 final four.
Harrison will tangle with crosstown rival North Farmington Saturday to kickoff playoff action on the diamond

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Constant Craving

Coach K got that craving for the headphones.
Following a year off, the OC's Coach K aka Adam Korzeniewski will be running the defense for the Birmingham Seaholm football team this fall.
Before stepping away in 2014, Coach K was the defensive coordinator at Birmingham Brother Rice and in the Three-Peat Era (2011, 12, 13).
Korzeniewski and Seaholm coach Jim DeWald are close friends and former college roommates, having played in the secondary in college together at Western Michigan in the 1990s.
Seaholm went 4-5 in 2014, on the heels of back-to-back OAA Blue banners in DeWald's first two seasons heading the Maples ship on the gridiron

Monday, May 25, 2015

Lining Up & Going For It

College football recruiting news from the Catholic League
Two of the state's best offensive linemen connected with D1 colleges this week
Cameron Kolwich (OL St. Mary's) – The Eagles BIG NASTY is headed to Chicago and the Big 10, committing to Northwestern. Kolwich and his OLSM teammates will be the No. 1 club in the OC come kickoff in 2015 and seeking a repeat state championship. CK is the glue in the trenches, doing the dirty work, making everyone else look pretty
Tom Kowalkoski (Novi Detroit CC) – The Shamrocks ROCK OF GIBRALTAR at the point of attack, moved from the mid-major to the high-major ranks, trading in his Western Michigan commitment for a bid to Boston College. TK is the definition of a PAIN TRAIN EXPRESS on the line, he's steamrolling up the middle and wherever else he wants to go on shear will, determination and brute physicality  

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Knighting In Rochester

The Dark Knight has returned home.
Bloomfield Hills HS basketball alum Armand Cartwright, aka "The OC Dark Night of the Hardwood" and one of the area's top leaders and backcourt studs between 2011-2014, will be playing locally at Rochester College for the foreseeable future.
This past season, Cartwright, a 6-foot-1 combo guard, suited up at the prep school level with Coastal Academy in New Jersey.
Back in his prep days, all this cage SUPERHERO did was win, hit big shots and lead by example – see his three straight Class A district titles and his captaining the Blackhawks into the state finals as last year as a senior. His shooting stroke is immaculate, his natural instinct for clutch performances uncanny.
This is a great fit: AC and RC, together at last!!       

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Early Eight

OC Early-Offseason "Great 8" Boys Basketball Teams
1 Clarkston – C-Town will be the place To Be Town in 2016….....again: Foster the Phenom Era - Year 2 ready 2 ignite
2 WL Central – Another special year in store for Baby Special K & the Vikes cage crew
3 Southfield – A healthy Hardy, an on-the-rise Flowers and Priest
4 West Bloomfield – The upcoming campaign could be an extremely memorable one for Action Jackson & the Team Denha Lakeshow
5 RH Adams – The upcoming campaign could be an extremely memorable one for Not-So-Little-Son and Joey Za Za & the Team Hall Highlander Hoop Brigade
6 North Farmington – Billy, Billy, Billy, Billy, Billy!!!!!
7 Holly – The High-Flying Holly Hardwood Houdinis might be the most exciting club to watch play in the OC
8 Southfield Christian – Elite small-school program with one Bad-As-In-Too-Good-To-Be-True Brown and a few Washington Monuments ready to take it up a notch next winter, which is an incredibly scary thought

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Falling To Niagara

The hardest working superstar in Oakland County, Auburn Hills Avondale's senior boys basketball star Chris Barton, is DI bound.
Barton, a smart, gritty and high-scoring 6-foot-4 two-guard, signed with Niagara University this week. What a stupendous late-signing period steal! Can you say GRAND LARCENY? Niagara is located in New York and competes in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Back in March, Barton was selected to The Oakland Press' postseason Dream Team.
This past winter, CB led his Yellow Jackets to an unexpected league title, torching the twine for 22 points per game to go along with eight rebounds, four dimes and FIVE FLOOR BURNS a night. And boy, you want to talk about in-your-shorts defense, that's what Barton's all about. He loves mixing it up on both ends of the court and that's why he's so valuable – think if Carmello Anthony had Michael Jordan defensive commitment. That's the kind of talent we're talking about at the small-school DI level for Barton these next four years. The Niagara Purple Eagles program last went dancing in the NCAA Tournament in 2007.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The BlueJays Bench Bulletin

Southfield HS coaching news:
I'm talking about Mr. Trifecta himself, Bluejays lead BALLER and coaching-genius extraordinaire Tim "the CLOSER" Conley. "The Closer" did what he does Tuesday, close deals, close curtains and post banners: he guided his Southfield boys track team to an OAA league championship. That's to add to his OAA football and wrestling titles he took his clubs to in the fall and winter, respectively. Conley's 'Jays gridiron gang made the final four in 2014.
Possible candidate list for the vacant Southfield HS varsity boys hoops coaching position
Mike Avery – Former Southfield Lathrup sideline general, Flint schoolboy star
Jamie Glinz – Bluejays girls coach on the heels of an excellent 2015 season 
Paris McCurdy – Bluejays assistant coach, former NCAA standout, a rare NBA-and-NFL pedigree
Clennie Brundidge – Former Bluejays assistant coach, current assistant coach at Southfield Christian, where he helmed a Class D state-title team in 2014 filling in on an interim basis for Josh Baker
Ken Flowers – Detroit Henry Ford AD & head coach fresh off navigating his Trojans into the Class B state finals, formerly on the bench at Detroit Redford, where he led the program to a pair of PSL crowns and an appearance in the Class A state championship game (2007)
Jermaine Jackson – Former head coach at Mt. Clemens, retired NBA player, 1990s PSL and UD Mercy star
RaRedding Murray – Current head coach crosstown at Southfield Bradford, where he just led the Bulldogs to a Charter School League championship, formerly head man at Detroit Crockett (Class B final four appearance) and WL Western

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Burney's OC Baseball Rankings - Almost There

1 Birmingham Brother Rice – Senior Steve Ring has been residing in a ring of gold on the diamond with his 24 Karat performance so far this spring for TEAM RIKER         
2 West Bloomfield – The Lakeshow's Deshawn Cole has a pair of hands and a glove in the infield that are so soft and sugary sweet, he's practically error proof and personally sponsored by WILLY WONKA
3 MH Bishop Foley – Destination: EAST LANSING……..mark it, down!!!
4 Bloomfield Hills – Boom, Boom POW in BLACKHAWKLAND
5 Orchard Lake St. Mary's – Swagger Level reaching PETRY-esque proportions, surprising? Not so much!
6 WL Northern – Hottest club in the area right now: Part 1
7 RH Adams – Hottest club in the area right now: Part 2
8 Lake Orion – Cooler than the other side of the pillow…..again
9 North Farmington – Forget about North By Northwest, I prefer North By NorthAWESOME on the diamond in RaidersNATION
10 Pontiac Notre Dame Prep – Will Mullen has the will of a GIANT…..please, make a note!!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Going To The Matt

Rochester Adams alum Matt Rea, a former Highlanders football stud, was drafted this week into the CFL, selected in the fourth round by the Saskatchewan Roughriders (34th overall).
Rea graduated from Michigan State, after starting his college gridiron career in the Ivy League at Penn. Rea is a fullback with a smashmouth mentality and the perfect TEAM PATRITTO pedigree. While in high school, Matty NICE was a four-year varsity letterman, played on three OAA league title teams and was a captain his senior year in 2010.

Friday, May 15, 2015

On Second Thought

Walled Lake football standout Ade Ogundeji is back on the make and the college pigskin recruiting market. Ogundeji (6-foot-5, 235 pounds), the Vikings star defensive end, decommitted from Western Michigan earlier this week, reopening the rush for his next-level services. He had committed to WMU back in February. Last fall as a junior, Ogundeji had 70 tackles, five sacks and four fumble-causes, seven pass bats, helping lead Central to a Division 1 district crown. He's also a starter in the frontcourt on the school's championship basketballs squad - TEAM SPOLSKY raised league, district and regional title trophies in 2015 and returns the bulk of its lineup for next winter. Besides WMU, Ogundeji holds scholarship offers from Toledo, Miami (OH) and Buffalo on the gridiron.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Book It, He's Off The Market

Walled Lake Western senior boys basketball star Jerald Booker, one of the OC true gems in the backcourt the past three years, went NEXT LEVEL this week, signing with Concordia University.
Booker is a natural playmaker at the point, equally devastating scoring and distributing the rock. He's a fearless leader and game-changer of a floor general, a genuine coach on the hardwood, averaging 17 points, five assists and five rebounds per game the past two seasons. Booker captained the Western Warriors to a KLAA North crown in 2015, earning first-team all-league honors.
Concordia finished 18-13 this winter.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Boyz Are Back In Town

The BlackHawk Big 3 reunited Tuesday night for a little cage display.
Bloomfield Hills HS all-state basketball alums Yante Maten, Khalil Gracey and Armand Cartwright paid a little visit to their old coach Duane Graves this week in his home with the Clawson Trojans.
The four combined forces on a magical 2014 hoops campaign that ended at the Breslin Center in East Lansing as participants in the Class A state championship game.
Graves left the BH program mid-season this year and has resurfaced as an assistant at Clawson under Rob Fulgenzi. The Trojans lost to Pontiac NDP in a Class B district final back in March.
Maten was the Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Michigan last winter. He's playing in the SEC at Georgia. Gracey is at community college in Kansas and Cartwright in prep school out west.
They all got together Tuesday at the Clawson gym to relive old times and show the current crop of Clawville Cagers how to get CRAZY BUSY on the basketball floor – check the '14 highlight film for further references.
Old-School BH Roll Call
D-Geezy B-Eazy - Glad to have you back in the mix, brother!
Yante Maten aka The Big Impact - Had a season for the ages his senior year to cap a dream career filled with banners, trophies and tourney runs, dominating in so many different ways
Armand Cartwright aka The Dark Knight - the coach on the floor, the consummate competitor, baby-faced assassin from deep
Khalil Gracy aka Mr. Smooth - has an upside that is astronomical, don't be shocked to see this hoopologist putting in work and showing out at a major D1 program by the time he's an upperclassmen (think Seaholm's Richaud Pack at Maryland this year)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Weekend Warriors

Two things we confirmed from Birmingham Brother Rice's 8-2 downing of Warren De La Salle in Catholic League baseball tourney action over the weekend:
Michigan-commit Karl Kauffmann has returned to tip-top shape on the hill – TEAM RIKER's junior ace snatched the win by tossing five innings of shutout ball, fanning 9. Kauffmann only pitched one game in April (the season opener) due to elbow soreness. Judging by this past weekend's outing, he's back with a vengeance. That spells disaster for CHSL opponents. Like a volcano erupting or a typhoon coming onto shore, Kauffmann is a true force of nature chucking that pill. This kid Brings the Noise, Brings the Funk and BAFFLES the comp 24/7. He's got power and finesse and is an artist painting the corners of the strike zone with pinpoint precision.
Junior outfielder Preston Pilat is flying to another stratosphere with his effort on the diamond lately. The southpaw sizzler went 3-for-4 with 2 RBI vs. De La Salle. I love this kid's arsenal – plenty of ammunition in the field with his glove, at the dish with his stick and on the base paths with his wheels and intelligence. He's got size, superior field IQ and that natural ORANGE&BLACK next-level swag that defines almost every Rice Warrior diamond dandy.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Burney's OC Baseball Rankings - Sunny Days

1 Birmingham Brother Rice – My main Orange & Black diamond DAWG Preston Pilat is a Baller, Shot-Caller and all-around TRU PLAYA 4 REAL!!....please jot that down!!
2 West Bloomfield – TEAM PIERCE is starting to really PURRRRRRR…..we're talking NASCAR engine, full-throttle Dom Torreto action here…aka FAST & FURIOUS!!
3 MH Bishop Foley – V is for victory again these days in VenturesLand.....the more things change, the more they stay the same, I guess
4 Lake Orion – OAA Red league title directly in the crosshairs……Dragons go all DRAGONS on the comp this week and bag the crown
5 Bloomfield Hills – Break out the Black Eyed Peas, cuz these Hawks are sporting some serious, in-you-face BOOM, BOOM, POW!!
6 OL St. Mary's – I'm sensing the Swagger Level in the Eaglets' Nest will peak at the exact right moment in 2015 - aka the state tournament...Drake Titus is a TITAN in the clutch so far this spring
7 North Farmington – Evan McMurray strokes a mighty sweet swing at the dish for TEAM O'CONNELL
8 RH Adams – Weylin Frisbie is a fierce competitor from the pitching mound and a Straight G on and off the diamond  
9 WL Northern – Knights telling opponents 'Night, Night', as in putting them to bed….maybe their 2015 theme song should be Metalica's Enter Sandman
10 Pontiac NDP – Will put it all together before June hits, then, watch out!!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Building A Legacy

Before his career on the prep gridiron is through, Orchard Lake St. Mary's sophomore wide receiver K.J. Hamler might be an Eaglets' Nest All-Time Great. He's well on his way, registering an excellent tenth-grade campaign in 2014 in which Team Porritt posted a D2 state title and he quickly established himself a genuine game-changer in the slot and with his return skills on special teams.
His junior season this fall is fixing to up the ante even more. Exhibit A – this 5-foot-10, 155-pound juke-master jitterbug with breakaway speed and oozing with natural big-play ability walked away with MVP honors at his position at The Opening showcase camp regional round in Chicago last week. The performance qualifies him for the finals.
Michigan State offered a scholarship prior to Hamler ever playing his first varsity game. Michigan offered this weekend, wowed by what he did in the Windy City matching up against some of the nation's elite.
In my personal opinion, this kid is even bigger than the Big 10. YEAH, I SAID IT!!  I think this young man has the kind of game that would easily translate and shine out west in the PAC 10 and down south in the SEC or ACC. He's what that brand of football is all about – sleek, slippery, smart, fleet-footed, efficient ….any questions?
Man, is that OLSM offense going to be fun to see at work in a few months. Hamler and the Eaglets as a whole are about to set the OC on fire…....please, make a note and be afraid, be VERY afraid!!!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Next Stop North

CHOO, CHOO:The prep football scene in North Oakland County is set to benefit from the transfer train in 2015.
One re-location is in stone. The other two are pending, but appear to almost be a sure thing.
The OC's leading tackler in 2014, Ryan Kostich (linebacker), a top-of-the-line small-school pigskin prowler, has already made the move from Auburn Hills Oakland Christian to Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes. Kostich corralled 141 wrap-ups, 6 sacks and 2 picks as a junior last fall. He joins the two-time defending Catholic League-champion (C-D Division) Lakers and will be eligible immediately come kickoff in August. A versatile playmaker, Kostich had over 600 yards receiving last season for the Lancers in addition to his workhorse ways heading Oakland Christian's 'D.'
Arguably the No. 1 wide receiver in the area, Farmington junior Dez Fitzpatrick has allegedly told the Falcons that his family has bought a new home in the city of Waterford and that he will be attending Waterford Mott next year. Fitzpatrick is committed to Louisville. He caught 32 balls for 530 yards and 11 touchdowns last season on a Farmington club that won an OAA Blue title. The rumor mill in Corsairs Country is also churning in the quarterback department – Grand Ledge's Jake Baldwin and his parents are said to be thinking of possibly moving to Waterford this summer, too. Mott snagged a KLAA North crown in 2014, qualifying for the playoffs for only the third time in program history and continuing a trend of Chris Farr-coached Corsairs squads with explosive offensive units.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Vacancy At The Lake

Five years was enough for Lake Orion boys basketball coach Tom Risi, who has resigned from his job on the bench effective this week. Risi came to Lake Orion from Pontiac Notre Dame Prep and coached the Dragons' freshmen squad before accepting the mantle with the LO varsity in 2012 upon Mike Shafkalis and the program parting ways. His days pacing the sidelines for Risi at The Lake had their ups and downs. This past winter, the Big Green cage crew finished 4-17. In his first season as prince of the pine in the Dragons' Den though, he led Lake Orion on a memorable state-tourney jaunt that ended in the Class A Elite 8, a place the program hadn't been since the Prohibition era. The encore was pretty neat, too - in 2013, Risi's hoop troop raised an OAA league-championship banner. Risi's clubs always competed with passion, discipline and tenacity, win or lose. They always represented DragonsNation with pride and a positive attitude. Those things are a tribute to the man in charge. Burney wishes Coach TR the best in all his future endeavors!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Landings & Departures

OC boys basketball news and notes:
Word on the street is that Clarkston might be getting another Division I college recruit to add to an already-mega enticing mix of cage studs for the 2015-16 campaign: Davison sophomore guard Dylan Alderson is rumored to have told multiple people (including the Davison team and coaching staff) that his family is buying a house in C-Town and he is transferring into Wolfpackland soon. The 6-foot-4 Alderson is currently a mid-major prospect (MAC offers) with only room to improve and raise his stock playing alongside Foster 'The Phenom' Loyer, a potential future McDonald's All-American, the next two seasons.
After 20 years (two separate stints) as head coach at Southfield HS, Gary Teasley has resigned. Teasley was a true gentleman of the OC sidelines, always preaching and embodying class and composure. In 2010 and 2011, he led the Bluejays to back-to-back appearances in the Class A final four. The cupboard in the Bluejays nest is far from bare for whoever gets the nod to replace Teasley, with Southfield returning the razzle-dazzle sophomore backcourt of Amuri Hardy and Mike Flowers and fast-rising junior wing Miguel Priest
Goodrich senior Cap Wilson, son of Oakland Press sports department LEGEND and retired prep sports guru Wayne Wilson, will be suiting up at the next level in the OC with Rochester College. The younger Wilson, a big, smart and crafty guard, recently committed to Team Pleasant (AVON RD EDITION) & the Warriors in what Burney deems a steel…..can you say sick upside for this toasty 6-foot-5 talent ….....somebody please get this kid some THER-A-FLU

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Next Big Thing

I don't make a habit of writing full stories about junior high school kids. I've done it a few times – Josh Jackson and Foster Loyer on the basketball court come to mind. A couple weeks ago, I blogged a short blurb about a young C-Town gunslinger on the football field in incoming fab frosh Jake Wagner. But now I feel implored to do it again.
This is the scoop: Sam Johnson is the next great OC gridiron stud you haven't heard of yet. I'm guaranteeing it that's how confident I am in this statement.
The reason you don't know about him yet is because Johnson, like Wagner in Wolfpackland, is in the 8th grade. In just a few short months, he could be the starting quarterback at Southfield for a Bluejays club that advanced to the D2 final four last fall.
Johnson is a special talent, the complete package of size, strength, quickness and intelligence. The next four years will be a fun ride for Timmy Conley and his troops. Don't be shocked if before it's all said and done on the "Sunshine Sammy J" era, TEAM CONLEY breaks through that state semifinal barrier and stamps a ticket to the big dance at Ford Field. Yeah, that's what we're talking about with this kid. So get ready to rock and roll with the 'Jays new steady-handed signal-caller who just scooped his first two college scholarship offers (Akron, Ohio) prior to even putting on his first high school uniform......pretty impressive, right?

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Heat Is On

A few hot OC prep football prospects to watch for
Brendann Brown (FH Harrison Soph RB) – Slick moves in the backfield, emerging home run specialist, tireless work ethic, powerful rushing the rock in between the tackles, fast enough to take it around the edge, natural instinct for the end zone at a young age
Tyrone Lyte (FH Harrison Jr. WR/DB) – Scary good "sleeper" on the local recruiting landscape, simply put, this kid makes plays, very durable, very dangerous 
Avery Carter (Waterford Mott Jr. ATH) – Volcanic versatility, can line up at multiple positions in multiple formations on both sides of the pigskin, set for a GINORMOUS senior campaign in the fall 
Navon Mosley (West Bloomfield Jr. S/SB) – In the process of blowing up in college recruiting circles, will keep doing so as the spring turns into summer, strong, speedy and smart, quiet game-changer, getting louder every day (4 offers, including one from the Big 10 in Purdue)
Cody White & Delano Smith (WL Western Soph WR) – The next big thing at the wide receiver spot in WARRIORLAND, this will be a priceless pair of big-play threats in the KLAA for the foreseeable future……please, make a note!!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Five For Fighting - The Run-Around

Five For Fighting – Top 5 OC Tailback Prospects on the Football field
1 Matt Falcon (Southfield) Speedmaster General, diverse talent, home run threat, character kid, hungry, humble, ready to reach the stratosphere in '15...committed to Michigan
2 Nolan Eriksen (Clarkston) – Clutch and tough as they come, complete game-changer whenever he has possession of the ball, equally dangerous running up the middle or finding the edge
3 Cedric Boswell (Birmingham Groves) – Lightning fast, lynchpin in the backfield, nose for the first-down marker and goal-line, jitterbug moves, nasty streak that only grows when you consistently feed the Falcons 'BOZ BEAST' the rock
4 Brandon Adams (OL St. Mary's) – Does the term SIR-GRIND-A-LOT mean anything to you?...pure winner, the consummate competitor, leader on and off the gridiron
5 Kyle Brunson (Farmington) – Might be the most underappreciated playmaker in the OC…..YEAH, I SAID IT!!!
*I consider Novi's Emanuel Jackson (WMU commit)a slotback-wide receiver more than a straight running back even though he rushed for more than 1,000 yards in 2014