Saturday, December 31, 2011

Southfield Bradford Now on the Map After Strong Start to Season

Heading into this season, Southfield Bradford was a bit of an unknown to most people in Oakland County as basketball was concerned. In just a few short weeks, Bradford has now put themselves on the map in class C, especially after a win over Inkster and a narrow loss to neighbor Southfield-Lathrup at the Motor City Roundball Classic held last week at Birmingham Detroit Country Day.
With legitimate inside-out threats in senior forward Eric Murphy and junior guard Chris Boatman, Bradford has the ability to make some serious noise on offense and defense and the duo showed just that on Tuesday as both recorded double-doubles. Murphy scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Boatman added in 15 points while dishing out 10 assists as Bradford came up just short in their upset attempt against Lathrup.
Against Inkster, Boatman and Murphy were their usual productive selves, but the Bulldogs were able to show off a little bit of their depth late in the game as Ellis Martin put home the game winner to cap of the comeback win.
It will take some time for Bradford to get the recognition it deserves, but come playoff time Bradford will make do some serious damage in Class C.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Flying Under the Radar

A quick look at Troy Athens bounce back win on Monday as well as a look at five more teams flying under the radar early on this season.

After Troy Athens fell to Clarkston by 41, just about everyone knew that the outcome of the game was credited to just how good Clarkston is added in with an off-night for Athens. Clarkston is the team to beat in Oakland County in many people’s mind, because of the number of shooters it has and the tenacious type of defense the Wolves play.
But don’t forget about Athens, now 5-1 after its blowout win over Detroit City on Monday, as the Red Hawks are still as dangerous as most of the teams in Oakland County. That point was made on Monday, Athens has legitimate scorers and defenders which should make them a team that will be making some noise as the season goes on.

Five more teams flying under the radar

1. Novi Detroit Catholic Central
While the Shamrock’s did only score 20 points in a loss a couple of weeks ago, Catholic Central remains as one of the top defensive teams in Oakland County which should make them a serious threat in the Catholic League.

2. Milford
The Mavericks have played some of the best defense out of anyone this season including an outing against Lakeland where they held the Eagles to just 18 points in a game a few weeks ago. Expect Milford to be in the thick of things in the KLAA down the stretch this year.

3. Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s
The Eaglets have the makings of another team that can do some serious damage in the Catholic League title. Speed and shooters in the backcourt and serious size and depth in the front court should set up nicely for a playoff run for Saint Mary’s this year.

4. Walled Lake Central
Every year it seems as if Central isn’t quite getting the recognition it deserves, but the Vikings continue to be one of the KLAA’s best on a year-in, year-out basis. Off to a 3-1 start so far this season, it looks like the Vikings are going to be a team to keep an eye on once again.

5. Bloomfield Hills Lahser
The Knights have a very dangerous mix on both offense and defense and haven’t gotten a whole lot of credit for it… yet. Lahser continues to find its offense with the help from a number of sources because of its solid all around depth and that makes for a team that nobody wants to mess with.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Boys Basketball Top 10

An early rundown of some of the top teams in Oakland County so far.

1. Clarkston
The Wolves can flat out shoot the ball from the outside. With senior Nick Tatu and sophomore Nick Owens having two of the best long ranged shots, it’s going to be tough to outscore Clarkston this year.

2. Birmingham Detroit Country Day
While there are a handful of players still settling into new roles, the Yellowjackets still remain as one of the most talented teams in the state, and they should continue to improve as the season goes on.

3. Pontiac
One thing is for certain about the Phoenix: They can score with some of the best teams around. So not only can Pontiac get out in front early on in games, there really isn’t any deficit that they can’t overcome.

4. Troy Athens
Athens pulled off a bit of an upset over rival Troy last week and now everyone is aware that the Red Hawks are for real. With a solid offensive game and a suffocating defense, Athens will be a team to watch all year long.

5. Troy
James Young isn’t the only player teams must be aware of when playing Troy. With others like Joe Leonard (18 points on Friday) and Maceo Baston (15 on Friday), the Colts are capable of shooting the lights at just about any time.

6. Walled Lake Western
Western is one of the most talented teams in the county, but they’re still one of the younger teams as well. The Warriors will be at the top by the time the playoffs come around.

7. Southfield Lathrup
The Chargers, behind point guard Jonathon Williams are again one of the top scoring teams in the county because of their ability to run the open floor and really wear teams down as the game goes on.

8. Southfield Christian
After its 78-77 overtime win over highly touted Belleville on Friday night, Southfield Christian proved to everyone that they are for real. With balance both offensively and defensively leading to a 3-0 start, the Eagles are now a team that nobody wants to mess with.

9. Milford
So far this season, the Mavericks have proven to be one of the best defensive teams in the county and Friday night was a perfect example of just that as the Mavericks held Lakeland to just 18 points on the night and zero points in the first quarter.

10. Holly
The Bronchos have one of the more deep frontcourts in Oakland County, and it’s continuing to show on the floor. Now 4-0, Holly has one of the top defenses on the inside and are just as capable of generating offense down low as well.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Young Guns

An early look at some of the county's top sophomores in both Boys and Girls basketball

Girls Basketball
Charity Godbold - Southfield Christian (So.)
Last season, Godbold burst onto the scene in the playoffs as a freshman. This season, Godbold has picked up right where she left off, proving to be one of Oakland County’s most lethal scoring threats with three 20 point performances in December including when she dropped 22 points and 10 steals in a blowout win over Detroit Midtown on December 2nd.

Lauren Hung - Waterford Mott (So.)
Dating back to the beginning of the 2010-2011 season, Hung has progressed into one of the top scorers in the county and has four double-digit scoring performances including her 20 points in a 49-39 win over Berkley and 16 more in a blowout win over Royal Oak Shrine on December 2nd.

Alyssa Copley - Holly (So.)
Copley has continued to build on an impressive start to her sophomore season as she has had near double-doubles in almost every one of Holly’s games this season including when she scored 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds last Friday.

Shannon Wilson - Andover (So.)
Wilson has emerged as one of the elite scorers around this season, with a number of impressive offensive performances, scoring 28 points in a win over rival Lahser on Tuesday and 22 more in a win over Berkley last Friday.

Boys Basketball
Akhemji Williams - Rochester Adams (So.)
Williams has continued to evolve into a point guard for the highlanders with a number of games where he has shown the ability to not only pass, but score just as well, including his 14 point nine rebound performance on Friday.

Armand Cartwright - Lahser (So.)
Cartwright has looked dominant at times this season, and with his ability to both score and pass the ball, he continues to become more and more dangerous with each game and it showed on Wednesday when the “Super Soph” scored 13 points and handed out seven assists and last Tuesday when he poured 24 points in a win for Lahser.

Lindsey Hunter IV - Southfield Christian (So.)
As a freshman, Hunter made strides to becoming one of the capable scorers for Southfield Christian, and has continued to do the same this season when he’s on the court for the Eagles and last Thursday’s 17 point performance was just another example of just that.

John McCarty - Lake Orion (So.)
McCarty has been a reliable scorer this season for the Dragons, as he’s been an almost sure bet to tally double-digits in points with his ability to score both in the paint and from the outside, as he totaled 15 points on Tuesday for the Dragons.

Nick Owens - Clarkston (So.)
Owens has developed into yet another 3-point sniper for the Wolves as he dialed up four of them on his way to 12 points on Friday night and has fit in nicely with another 3-point marksman for Clarkston in Nick Tatu. One of the overlooked parts of Owens game is his ability to defend which is another impressive part of his game.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A look at some Oakland County boys basketball transfers

Miroslav Jaksic - Walled Lake Western
At 6-11, Jaksic instantly becomes one of the elite inside defenders in Oakland County with his ability to not only block shots but force teams to settle for the outside shot. Jaksic, who is only a junior, is already being sought out by a handful of D-1 schools.

Aaron Prim - Walled Lake Western
Prim can score from all over the floor, but is also capable of creating for others as well with his passing ability. Things could open up even more for Prim this season as a lot of attention could be paid to Jaksic.

Chris Dewberry - Southfield Christian
After a number of transfers in his high school career, Dewberry is going to make Southfield Christian his final high school home. Dewberry should be a lethal scorer all season long, with his ability to create shots for him self inside and also dial up a few 3-pointers as well.

Jordan Dawkins - Lakeland 
Dawkins, a 6-6 transfer from Ohio, will be an inside force this season for the Eagles. He will be one of the most athletic big men in the KLAA this season on both offense and defense. With shot blockers Nick Troxell and Chuck Sanders and now Dawkins, Lakeland is going to make life tough for plenty of big men in the KLAA.

Manny Mendoza -Rochester
A transfer from Indiana, Mendoza is as good of an athlete as there is, with his ability to run the floor or defend in the half court, he can do it all. With a good inside-out game, Mendoza should fit in nicely for the Falcons

Logan Spiker - Holly
Spiker, a sophomore transfer from Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes, but at 6-7 he should give the Bronchos yet another big man that should cause opponents fits on either side of the ball with 6-6 Nic Stoll and 6-4 Austin Hopkin.

Robert Ivanovic - Birmingham Detroit Country Day
After losing senior center Amir Williams to graduation after last season, Ivanovic will give the Yellowjackets some much needed size in the paint, as he can both block shots and is a capable scorer on offense.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Boys Basketball Preview - Top 10 Teams

1. Clarkston
The Wolves are going to be able to shoot the ball well this season as well as play some very good defense, two staples of solid Clarkston teams from years past. They won’t be an incredibly exciting team, but they will be consistent, which should translate into wins.

2. Birmingham Detroit Country Day
The Yellowjackets lost a ton of players off of last year’s team, but as always, there is still talent all around. With DePaul commit Jodan Price and Co. Country Day will be one of the most balanced teams around this year.

3. Troy
With superstar in the making James Young back after an impressive sophomore campaign, there really isn’t a ceiling for this team. The sky is the limit.

4. Novi Detroit Catholic Central
The Shamrock’s are going to be a very experienced team, with seniors left and right on the roster, they should be solid across the board on offense and defense.

5. Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s
With seniors Justin Barrows and Danny Furlong in the paint, it’s not going to be an easy task for other teams scoring in the lane or rebounding on these guys.

6. Pontiac
One thing is for sure this season, Pontiac will be able to score with just about anyone this season. Senior Jamarea Samples is a flat out sniper from long ranged, making this team even harder to guard this year.

7. Walled Lake Western
The Warriors have a whole new look this season, with near seven foot center Miroslav Jaksic coming in as one of the top shot blockers around this season, the Warriors are going to be a tough team to score on this year.

8. Southfield-Lathrup
With point guard Jon Williams and a very athletic Lathrup squad, Lathrup will be one of the faster paced teams in the county, so you can expect plenty of scoring out of them this season.

9. Rochester Adams
Adams will be young this season, but they won’t be a team to take lightly, especially with ultra-quick point guard Akhemji Williams handling the ball full time this season.

10. Madison Heights Bishop Foley
With seniors Corey Green and Mike Oravetz, Bishop Foley should be a very balanced team once again this season, much like last seasons Catholic League title team

5 More to watch
1. Walled Lake Northern
2. Rochester
3. Southfield Bradford Academy
4. Southfield Christian
5. Auburn Hills Oakland Christian

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Boys Basketball - Top 15 Players (and 15 more to keep an eye on)

Top 15 players in Oakland County

1. James Young - Troy
One of, if not the state’s most dynamic player in just about every way possible. An outstanding scorer and defender and is as good as any in the county at rebounding. Don’t forget, Young is only a junior and he’s only going to get better.

2. Jodan Price - Birmingham Detroit Country Day
Price can do a little bit of everything, can handle the ball and pass well on the outside, but is just as capable of scoring on the inside and with his size he can guard just about every position on the floor, which makes him even more valuable to the Yellowjackets. Price has signed with DePaul.

3. Kellen McCormick - Pontiac Notre Dame Prep
McCormick is a sniper from 3-point land and is a very good defender on the inside and his versatility makes him one of the most dangerous all-around players in the county. McCormick signed to play at Western Michigan next season.

4. Miroslav Jaksic - Walled Lake Western
Only a junior, but standing at 6-11, Jaksic will instantly become one of the best interior defenders and rebounders that Oakland County has to offer since transferring from Canada after last year.

5. Chris Dewberry - Southfield Christian
Dewberry can score from just about anywhere on the floor, something that proved to be of big importance for Oak Park and Waterford Mott before transferring. He should be one of the more feared offensive threats around.

6. Taylor Perry - Rochester
Perry is a more than capable rebounded and scorer, averaging nearly 20 points and seven rebounds per game a season ago and is a polished passer to go with. Perry will be joining McCormick at Western Michigan next season.

7. Nick Tatu - Clarkston
One of the premier 3-point shooters in Oakland County, Tatu can knock down shots from well behind the arc, but is also a very good defender and rebounded as well.

8. Corey Green - Madison Heights Bishop Foley
Not the tallest of centers, but is one of the top rebounders and defenders down low. Green is also a dangerous scorer in the paint.

9. Jonathon Williams - Southfield-Lathrup
Williams is a pure scorer, with his ability to knock down jumpers from just about everywhere and is capable of driving to the basket to create offense as well.

10. Kyle Cooper - Novi Detroit Catholic Central
Cooper, is one of the bigger guards around at 6-7, but is a legitimate outside threat with his ability to pass and shoot. Cooper has signed to play at Hillsdale next season.

11. Sterling Morrow - Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood
Morrow can create offense in a number of ways, whether scoring or passing, but one of the underrated parts of his game is his defense as he averaged more than three steals per game last year.

12. Robert Puleikis - Birmingham Detroit Country Day
Puleikis should be one of the top interior defenders in the county this season, standing at 6-9, he’s a shot blocking threat and can grab his fair share of rebounds.

13. Nic Stoll - Holly
Last season, Stoll averaged a double-double per game and this season should be much more of the same as he is a very good scorer, rebounded and defender. Stoll has signed to play at Michigan Tech

14. Jared Sheena - Walled Lake Northern
Last season, Sheena burst onto the scene, averaging almost 15 points per game and over five assists per as well. Expect him to continue to improve as a senior next year.

15. Akhemji Williams - Rochester Adams
As a freshman last season, Williams proved to be one of the most promising players in the county with his ability to score, pass and defend. Now a sophomore, Williams should continue to become one of the top point guards around.

5 More seniors to keep an eye on
1. Zac Leimbach - Walled Lake Central
2. Mike Oravets - Madison Heights Bishop Foley
3. Chris Hare - Farmington
4. Mark Hazelwood - Oxford
5. Matt Doneth - Novi Detroit Catholic Central

10 Underclassmen who could have breakout seasons
1. Mory Diane (So.) Birmingham Detroit Country Day
2. Sam McClendon (Jr.) Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s
3. Garrett Ross (Jr.) Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes
4. Jalin Gardner (Fr.) Walled Lake Western
5. Lindsey Hunter IV (So.) Southfield Christian
6. Chuck Sanders  (Jr.) Lakeland
7. Korey Wade (Jr.) Walled Lake Western
8. Poet Thomas (Jr.) Birmingham Detroit Country Day
9. Armand Cartwright (So.) Bloomfield Hills Lahser
10. John McCarty (So.) Lake Orion

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Girls Basketball Preview - Top 10 Teams

1. Birmingham Detroit Country Day 
Really no shock here. With arguably the state’s best player in Aerial Powers at forward, very few teams can match-up physically and athletically with the Yellowjackets. On the outside, the Yellowjackets will be equally as dangerous with point guard Amber Deane returning as one of the top pass/shoot threats in Oakland County.

2. Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes
The Lakers did graduate a large class last season, but there is still plenty of talent this year, with Carlee Cotrell, Lexie Robak and Walled Lake Central transfer Tori Duffey, there aren’t many doubting that WOLL can make another deep playoff run.

3. Waterford Kettering
The Corsairs have talent across the board and can defend with the best teams around. With Allison Bicknell and Co., scoring on Kettering isn’t going to be easy this season.

4. Auburn Hills Avondale
Much like Kettering, Avondale should be one of the top defensive teams in the county this season with senior Hannah Little, who is one of the top interior defenders around.

5. Clarkston
With four returning starters from last year back, including all-everything junior Delaney Kenny, the Wolves are going to be one of the more experienced teams in the county this season.

6. Troy
With the ultra-shifty Karin Moss at PG and Sabria Cotton able to score from just about anywhere, the Colts are going to be hard to keep up with this season.

7. North Farmington
The Raiders should be one of the best scoring teams in the county this season. Most know about the versatile threat the Raiders have in Jasmine Harris, but junior Kaitlyn Kendall will be able to take care of some scoring as well this season.

8. Farmington Hills Harrison
Don’t let the ranking fool you, by the end of the season, the Hawks will be one of the most dangerous teams around. But with senior center Eman Hubbard out with an injury for the next month or two, Harrison will be left with a sizable hole in the middle until then.

9. Farmington
A very underrated inside-outside combo of Cherrish Willis and Aaron Howell should be a dangerous duo this season on both offense and defense for the Falcons.

10. Bloomfield Hills Andover
Andover has sophomore Shannon Wilson returning from an outstanding freshman season last year where she averaged over 15 points per game and will be joined by a talented junior class. Andover is young, but will do plenty of damage this season.