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Burney's Bites 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.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Training Camp Report - The Kings of Sting

I stopped by Birmingham Detroit Country Day last week and popped in on boys basketball coach Kurt Keener and girls basketball coach Frank Orlando for a little pre-season face-time. Needless to say, both Keener and Orlando are jacked for the start-up of their respective schedules in the next two weeks. And why wouldn't they be excited? The Yellowjacksts will be at their stinging best in both girls and boys prep hoops this upcoming season and each will most likely be favorites for claiming state championship rings when March Madness gets on its way in three and half months.
Here is my first '09/10 training camp report – DCD Boys Basketball
(Stay tuned tomorrow for my second training report on the DCD girls hoopsters)
The DCD boys will once again be super-athletic and talent-laden, but probably not as deep as past teams and certainly not as big with the transfer of 6-8 junior power forward, Urban Bingham (now across town at North Farmington).  Keener will go with a lot of multiple guard sets and try his best to have his squad take full advantage of the senior point guard Ray McCallum's spectacular playmaking ability. McCallum is an All-American candidate and someone Keener calls the best prep floor general he's coached in his 30 years on the job. And in case you didn't, know Keener has coached some pretty darn good teams and outstanding players. Even minus Bingham, DCD's Amir William's - a 6-9 , heavily-recruited junior center, whose play mirrors a younger Dwight Howard - is one of the top big men in the state and makes the Yellowjackets front-court imposing with his presence alone. Spelling McCallum and Willams, will be a cadre of speedy guards and wing players. Combo-guards Chris Fowler and Lee Bailey are shifty on the break and in their mid-range games and compliment McCallum very nicely on the floor. Cagey swingmen, Kenny Knight and Josh Harris will split time at the "3" spot and along with Williams will be the beneficiary of many McCallum alley-oops. Junior marksman, Mahesh Umasankar, will take graduated Jordan Dumars' spot in the line-up as the team's designated 3-point assassin and senior Matt Levrette, a second year letter winner, will get some clock backing up McCallum, Fowler, and Bailey.
DCD last won a state title in 2007 with a team led by Darnell Brown (Bowling Green) and Keith Benson (Oakland). Despite having outstanding regular season records the past two seasons, the Jackets have failed to live up to expectations in the post-season, getting ousted both years in the quarters by scrappy Flint Powers' teams. This year's group will have to be mentally tougher and show a little bit more resolve than recent editions of Jackets' hoop squads if they want to get past another sure-to-be hard-nosed Powers team. With McCallum entering his second season in the blue and gold and finally completely acclimated to the local prep scene – he played his first two seasons in Indiana – I'm confident that he will have DCD playing its best ball of the year come playoff time. Translation – Burney forsees McCallum and Country Day will take home Kurt Keener's 8th state title and its second over four seasons. Ray McCallum is that good!
"He's the best point guard in the history of the school, I can tell you that right now before he even starts his senior season," said Keener. "I think he's the best point guard in the state this year too. He's just so smart and smooth. His on-court IQ is one of the highest I've ever coached. He can score and create at such a high level and that's a rare combination. All the guys on this year's team are first rate competitors and there are no egos. This group is real close knit off the court as well and it shows when they're on the floor together."


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November 25, 2009 at 11:03 AM 

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