Saturday, April 30, 2011

Michigan Lands First of Harrison Football Trio (and What it could mean)

The first from a very talented Farmington Hills Harrison recruiting class has made his decision on where he will be playing his college football after next season. Brady Hoke and Michigan beat out several Big 10 teams including Michigan State as well as Big 12 teams like Missouri and Nebraska to land one of the state’s to tight end recruits in Devin Funchess.

The 6-5 Funchess is a sure handed prospect which should fit in well in Michigan’s pro-style offense that Hoke brings. As a junior on Harrison’s state championship team, Funchess proved to be a “go to guy” for Tommy Vento, hauling in 34 catches for over 700 yards and five touchdowns. Funchess should continue to develop as a senior and possibly earn himself some early playtime at Michigan.

It should be interesting to see what effect Funchess’s decision has on highly touted teammates, defensive tackle Mario Ojemudia, who is mulling over offers from Big 10 schools as well as Stanford and Syracuse, and wide receiver Aaron Burbridge, who is also looking over offers from the Big 10 and Notre Dame.

Both Burbridge and Ojemudia have received offers from Michigan, but like Funchess, they have also received offers from Michigan State. If Hoke and Michigan can bring in all three players from Harrison, it should make for an outstanding recruiting class for 2012.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Novi's "Big Three" Heading to the Next Level

One of the county's top trios from a season ago have all found a home at the college level. The Novi basketball "Big three" of Samer Ozeir, Rob Laney and Chris Milon that helped lead the KLAA champion Wildcats to an impressive 18-4 mark have all made commitments to play at the college level next season.

Ozeir will be taking his talents to Division I Columbia and Laney has made his commitment to play at Northwood while Chris Milon has decided to sign with Allegheny College.

Last season, Ozeir continued to build on his promising sophomore and junior campaigns, averaging over 20 points and 12 rebounds along with two blocks per contest and solidifying himself as one of the top inside-out threats in Oakand County.

After battling through injuries throughout much of his high school career, Laney had a break-out season of sorts as a senior, as the all-everything guard averaged over 15 points and handing six assists per game.

Milon became one of the area’s top inside forces as the season progressed, doing a little bit of everything in the paint for the Wildcats, averaging over nine points and nine rebounds and blocking two and a half shots per game.

Friday, April 22, 2011

How they Stack Up: Girls Softball

Walled Lake Northern - Off to a 5-0 start, the Knights have solidified their spot at or near the top of Oakland County with outstanding pitching from senior standout Kristina Weltzin and Corrina Rotundo to go along with dangerous hitting for a handful of players.

Lakeland - One of the state's best teams on a yearly basis are back and as dangerous as any team. Kelsey Cleary, who has signed on to play for Michigan State, and sophomore Selena Hicks off to a nice start should help the Eagles stay as one of the deepest teams in the state.

Clarkston - Junior Megan Hasting has been off to a great start from the plate and pitching as well while Sarah Altene has also stepped into the rotation nicely for Clarkston, helping the Wolves to a 4-0 record early on in the season.

Pontiac Notre Dame Prep - Already having played their fair share of games, already approaching the 10 win mark early on has benefited from a balanced attack thanks to Stephanie Karlewski and Erin Collins who have swung the bat well in April.

North Farmington - Katy Severson is pitching as well as anybody in the County and Amelie Mittelbrun is hitting as well as anyone. That combination means trouble for just about anybody that comes up against the Raiders this season.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Off and Running: GIRLS SOCCER

Birmingham Marian – A dominating 6-0 start has all other teams in the Catholic League on notice… The Mustangs are for real, finding a new source of offense on what seems like a nightly basis.

Birmingham Detroit Country Day – With their only loss of the season coming at the hands of Grosse Pointe South, the Yellowjackets are again at the top of Oakland County and should be for the entire season.

Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes – Seeing that Abby Troy and Ava Doetsch are as good as advertised, add in the stellar play from goalkeeper Chantelle Ludwig, and you'll find WOLL off to a nearly perfect start with a 4-0-1 record and why they will be one of the top teams all season long. 

Novi – Preseason concerns of having a mostly brand new backline have now dissolved for the most part as the Wildcats have only allowed three goals in their first three games. Their dangerous offense has not been seen at its best yet this season, but once the weather improves, expect the Wildcats to be displayed as one of, if not the most potent offensive teams around.

Troy – With already having a statement game in the early happenings of the season, a win over rival Troy Athens, the Colts have proven that they are going to be around all season including fighting to a draw with another one of the OAA Red’s top teams in Rochester Adams.

Rochester Adams – Adams has already played with some of the top teams in the county and thanks to outstanding play from junior Merlin Beckwith, who scored four goals last week (three goals against Clarkston), the Highlanders are going to be a hard team to beat this season.

Troy Athens – After falling to rival Troy, Athens has bounced back to start the season 3-1, thanks to a good mix of offense and defense.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Baseball Preview: Top Teams

Madison Heights Lamphere – Led by senior catcher Greg Fettes, Lamphere returns a handful of college level talent makes Lamphere the team to beat in Oakland County this season.

Birmingham Brother Rice – The Warriors have a very young roster, but the presence of catcher Jimmy Pickens and the arrival of pitcher Matt Constance should have Brother Rice at the top of the CHSL.

Madison Heights Bishop Foley – Loaded with talent in all four classes, Bishop Foley has plenty to look forward to for the next few years. But for this season, Bishop Foley has the right blend of pitching and hitting to make a deep run this season.

Rochester Adams – Always near the top of Oakland County every year, this season won’t be much different for the Highlanders with ace Matt Nestor back and ready to build off of a great junior season and the duo of senior Ian Mercer and junior Alex Borglin should make for a great combination of pitching and offense.

Clarkston – With one of the top pitching duo’s in the state in Matt Rodgers and Vince Siwicki coming back for their senior season, opponents are going to have a hard time scoring runs against the Wolves this season.

Lake Orion – With arguably the deepest pitching rotation in the county, the Dragons are dangerous. If the Dragons can come up with the same kind of offense that they’re used to, they could be unbeatable.

Don’t Sleep On: Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s – Led by senior catcher Blaise Salter, the Eaglets figure to be one of the county’s top defensive teams, which will be a huge benefit in the always competitive CHSL.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Baseball Preview: Who to watch for

Brian Portelli, Auburn Hills Avondale – Arguably the most dangerous hitter returning from last season should continue to build off of a junior campaign where he drove in over 40 runs while scoring 44 of his own. Portelli also set a school record, batting .562 while slugging .952.

Jimmy Pickens, Brother Rice – After steadily improving in his freshman and sophomore seasons, Pickens had a breakout junior season, hitting over .400, driving in over 30 RBI while swiping nearly 20 bases. Pickens will definitely be a name to watch throughout the spring.

Matt Rodgers, Clarkston – Rodgers was a dominating force on the mound last season, holding an ERA just above 1.50 while holding an 8-2 record. Rodgers held his own on the offensive side of things, batting .393 while driving in 28 runs.

Greg Fettes, Madison Heights Lamphere – Fettes, who has committed to play for Kentucky at the next level, proved to be one of the state’s top all-around players, hitting .500 while adding 11 homers and 49 RBI. Fettes threw out 86% of potential base-stealers.

Mitchell Kozlowski, Madison Heights Lamphere – Kozlowski has continued to improve season by season, including his 2009 sophomore season where he hit over .500. Look for Kozlowski to have a breakout season, batting near the top of a dangerous Lamphere lineup.

Blaise Salter, Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s – Salter, committed to play for Michigan State next year, hit nearly .400 last season while showing off an arm that should make him one of the top catchers in the county this season.

Matt Nestor, Rochester Adams – One of the top pitchers in the county, Nestor should be a driving force for Adams as they look to make a return appearance in the state quarterfinals. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Next Season's Watch List: Boys/Girls Baketball

James Young, Troy – This season, as a sophomore Young was virtually unstoppable , capable of going for 30 points on any given night and proving that the sky is the limit. Next season Young should stir up plenty of college interest before the year is done.

Nick Tatu, Clarkston – Tatu, who came on strong for the Wolves early last season will have to pick up where he left off if Clarkston is to have another appearance in the regional finals.

Kellen McCormick, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep – McCormick has been one of the true inside-out threats in the county should be one of the OC’s most dangerous players next year.

Jared Sheena, Walled Lake Northern – After an impressive junior season, where he proved to be as clutch and dangerous as anyone, Sheena will draw plenty of attention all season long.

Jodan Price, Birmingham Detroit Country Day – Price will have plenty of pressure next season being just one of four returning juniors after the Yellowjackets graduated nine seniors from last season. Look for Price to have breakout year as a senior.

Lexi Robak, Waterford Our Lady Of The Lakes – As a sophomore, Robak proved to be one of the top 3-point shooters in the county. As a junior, Robak will step out of her sister’s shadows as the Lakers make a run at a 3-peat.

Charity Godbold, Southfield Christian – Godbold’s impressive second half performance in the regional opener, scoring 19 of her 23 points in the half, put the freshman on the map for good. Next year, Godbold should figure to become one of the most dangerous all-around threats in the county as a sophomore.

Aerial Powers, Birmingham Detroit Country Day – Powers is one of the top scoring threats in the County returning next season should help lead the Yellowjackets to yet another near-perfect regular season and a deep playoff run.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Girls Soccer Preview: Top Seniors & College Commitments

Taking a look at the top senior girls soccer players along with where they'll be playing next year.

Olivia Brannon, M – Arguably the top player in the state is finally back and healthy for Troy Athens this season. Brannon has signed on to play with Virginia next season.

Nicki Caruso, F – Named to the all-state team last year, Caruso is one of eight returning starters from Novi’s state title team last season. Caruso will be playing for Michigan State next season.

Emily Dzik, M – Should help pace Troy on both ends of the field this season as the Colts look to return to the state semifinals. Dzik signed on to play for Eastern Michigan earlier this year.

Nikki Greenhalgh, F – Another top offensive player returning for Novi should help make the Wildcats as dangerous as anyone. Greenhalgh has signed with Wisconsin.

Marisa Kozikowski, D – One of, if not the top defenders in the county should help make a outstanding duo with Brannon for Troy Athens this season. Kozikowski is heading to Eastern Michigan.

Molly Krick, M – The third of Novi’s big three offensive threats should be just as good as anybody this season. Krick will be joining Kozikowski and Dzik at Eastern Michigan next season.

Martha Stevens, M – Possibly the top two way threat in the county for Birmingham Marian, with her ability to create for herself and others on the offensive end and shut down the opposition on defense. Stevens is yet another Oakland County soccer player to be taking her talents to Eastern Michigan.

Gabby Gauruder, GK – Gauruder should help ease in a new backline for Novi this season who graduated three starting defenders last season. Gauruder will be joining Caruso at Michigan State next season.