Tag Archives: Oak Park

Oak Park Senior Justin Knight Commits To Siena Heights

3 May

IMG_0981When did you know Siena Heights was right for you?

I knew Siena Heights was right for me as soon as I left their campus from my visit.

What do you like about the campus?

Yes I visited the campus, I liked how the environment was small and easy to adapt too.

What is your relationship with the coaches like?

My relationship with the coaches is very good, they plan on using me for my pass-first mentality and ability to shoot the ball.

How would you describe yourself as a player?

As a player I believe I distribute the ball to my teammates and knock down open shots when needed.

What were some other schools looking at you and what was different about Siena Heights?

Other schools that showed interest were Kalamazoo College, Cornell College, Southwest Oregon CC, Sinclair CC, Illinois Tech University, and Concordia University.  The difference between them and Siena is the relationship with the coaches I talked with Coach Case very often, he told me good luck before my big games in my high school season.  I liked that.

How was this past season for you?

This past high school season was bittersweet. I feel like I stepped up this year, making a name for myself but then again wish I had a little more time to go farther in the playoffs.

What do you have to say for your entire high school career?

I feel like I really grew throughout my whole high school career. Gaining a better knowledge for the game and getting myself ready for the next level.

What do you plan to study?

Education wise I plan on majoring in sports management or physical education so if I don’t play basketball anymore I can still be around the game.

Consortium’s Defense Stifles Oak Park En Route To 51-49 Victory

1 Mar

IMG_0178Two teams heading in opposite directions entering the last week of regular season.  Following a 51-49 Consortium win against Oak Park on the last day of February, the Cougars have won four of their past five games improving to 12-5 on the year, while the Knights have dropped their last two, and have not met pre-season expectations as a ranked team in the state.

“It feels good,” Consortium junior guard Luster Johnson said following the game.  “Because a win is just a good feeling.  But to know that you beat a good team makes it even better.”

In a game of two evenly matched teams, the outcome came down to execution in the fourth quarter.  From six minutes on, there were two ties and four lead changes.  Johnson, who led Consortium with a team-high 16, scored the Cougars’ last five points from 1:30 on.  He connected on a three to give his team a 49-48 lead with 1:15 remaining.  Then following one Oak Park free-throw, Johnson drove to the basket and finished at the rim in what turned out to be the go-ahead basket with 0:49 left.

“I knew that if something was to happen,” Johnson referred to the last few minutes of the contest, “I wanted it to be me to do it.”  “I was feeling myself and I knew those were shots that I could make so I took them with confidence.”

An Oak Park steal with 13 seconds remaining gave the Knights the ball with the opportunity to potentially to tie or win the game.  Oak Park had two shots in the final seconds, the first one missed and went off a Cougar.  With two seconds left underneath the basket, guess who made a play?  Johnson, a steal securing a Consortium victory.

The last play was only a microcosm of Consortium’s defensive prowess.  The Cougars forced twenty Knight turnovers, Johnson had four on the day.

“We knew that we had some height over their guards,” Johnson said.  “So we put a lot of pressure on them and got a lot of hands on their passes.”

Johnson was complimented in scoring by junior point guard Charles Figueroa, who contributed with 13 points.  The Cougars received just 14 points from their combined interior posts, leaving the game to be decided on the perimeter.

“Charles (Figueroa) and I have been playing together for a long time,” Johnson said of his teammate.  “Basketball made us family, we have a lot of chemistry together.”

The defending Class C state champions will compete in the Class B for the 2015 state tournament.  Much has changed in the last year for the Cougars, in fact, Luster is the only returning player who saw time in the starting lineup a season ago.  Johnson is confident his team’s new identity will still garner post-season success.

“We see ourselves getting as far as we want,” Johnson said acknowledging the post-season. “If we play our game and don’t beat ourselves, we are a pretty good basketball team.”

“I know we have the heart to persevere through whatever, all we have to do now is go out and show the State of Michigan.

On a lighter note, Luster is known for his offense, but registered three impressive defensive blocks on the day.  One of which was of the chase-down variety made popular by LeBron James.  Johnson said he will do take whatever it takes to not see the ball go through his team’s net.

“Just last night against Lincoln Park I had a chase-down block and I was over the rim,” Johnson said jokingly.  “I just hate seeing the ball go in.”

Clarkston Wins Thriller Over Oak Park 69-63

21 Jan

Oak Park had it perfectly laid out, play the fewest amount of games in order for six transfers to gain eligibility after Martin Luther King Junior Day before the team’s stiffest obstacle of the season, hosting undefeated Clarkston, ranked fourth in Class A.  Yet, the one thing the Knights could not plan for was Andrew Myers.

Myers is a 6’0″ senior point guard committed to Madonna (MI).  He has been on varsity since a freshman, and often takes the role as an extension of legendary Coach Dan Fife on the floor.  Andrew came away with 15 points, 10 assists, and five steals in a hard fought Clarkston victory, a win would give Coach Fife 616 overall.

Down, 56-53 with 14.2 seconds left, the first loss for the Wolves on the season seemed inevitable.  However, the execution for Clarkston was flawless in the final seconds.  Freshman Foster Loyer of Clarkston was fouled, he sank two free throws to put the Wolves down one.  Clarkston would then foul senior Howard McInnis of Oak Park leading by two with seven seconds left, and McInnnis would miss both.  Myers would receive the outlet, push the ball up the floor, got in the paint, and found Merrick Canada for a ten foot jump shot to send the game into overtime.

Clarkston would dominate the extra four minutes of overtime, connecting on all 10 free throw attempts the Wolves would make, Myers would lead the way with six.

“He never lets up on us,” Myers went onto say.   “He’s (Coach Fife) always practicing on us really hard so when we get in these types of situations, it’s easy. In practice, it’s way harder when he’s coaching.”

The comeback for Clarkston started in the fourth.  Oak Park junior Trevon Gardner would hit two consecutive jump shots and the Knights would build their largest advantage of the fourth quarter at five.  The Wolves would respond.  Sixth man Tabin Throgmorton, came off the bench to provide Clarkston with a team high 24 points, and would hit on consecutive triples to knot the game at 44.  Tabin would finish with four threes on the night, and the Wolves would hit three 3’s in the fourth to keep the game close and set up the series of events which would take place in the final seconds.

Oak Park’s combination of Kelvon Fuller and Rodney Scales owned the paint for the Knights at times in the game, Kelvon scored 22, and Rodney chipped in with 15.  The Knights had three players over 6’7″ play extensively, compared to Clarkston’s just one.  Ironically, Clarkston’s shortest player, freshman guard Foster Loyer who finished with 14, would be the team’s leading rebounder with nine.

“I wouldn’t say there was really any problems,” said Myers.  “(Coach) Fife is always preaching he’s been coaching for 33 years and said this is the not the first time we’ve had to guard guys bigger, so we believe in him. We just try to compete on both sides of the glass.”

The game was an OAA divisional crossover, the Wolves and Knights will only play one scheduled game this season.  But when Myers was asked if he plans on seeing the Knights sometime again, he responded “Oh yeah.”


Five Key Transfers Across Metro Detroit

19 Jan

The day after Martin Luther King Junior Day, all transfer students who sat out the first semester are eligible for competition.  For some teams, the added personnel can mean the difference between a district playoff loss and a Breslin Center appearance.  Here are five teams who will change for the better this second half of the season.

Detroit Western– The Cowboys sit undefeated at 8-0 overall, with statement wins against Romulus and Saginaw Arthur Hill.  Junior point guard Brailen Neely has blossomed into one of the premier guards not just in the city, but state as well.  Neely is complimented by classmates in guards Armani Tinsley, Karim Murray, Efrain Hodby, and Kyree Boyton.  The newcomers are U of D Mercy commits guard Josh McFolley, and forward Gerald Blackshear.  Both transferred from Mt. Clemens over the Summer, and have played AAU together throughout high school.  The 6’8″ Blackshear will be the fourth Cowboy over 6’7,” joining seniors Julius Palmer, Kheir Maxwell, and Antwan Smith.

Oak Park– Oak Park will see a rapid change in their roster and lineup possibilities, as six new transfers will become eligible for the Knights.  After playing games this season with only eight eligible players, Oak Park is primed for a deep run in March.  Junior point guard Trevon Gardner is currently ecstatic with the new options at his disposal.  6’8″ senior forward Rodney Scales was on Oak Park last season, but went to Wisconsin to play football this past fall, and returned prior to the basketball season.  Scales will pair with 6’8″ junior Kelvon Fuller, already on the radar of division one colleges, and form a dynamic Knight front court.  Devin Mills, a transfer from Ferndale, is a high-scoring two guard in the backcourt that should provide plenty of offense, and is a carbon copy of senior guard Howard McInnis, instant offense.  River Rouge transfer Jonathan Raines, is only a sophomore, but adds even more size for the Knights at 6’7.”

Macomb Dakota- Not just a football power anymore, Paul Tocco’s Cougars won 19 games a year ago, and enter the second half of the season with a 5-2 record.  Dakota will add Mt. Clemens transfers Jermaine Jackson Junior and Charles Penn.  Jackson, son of former Detroit Piston Jermaine Jackson, is listed at 5’6″, but is as skilled as point guards at 6’6.”  He’s crafty, a great three point shooter, and exceptional creator/passer.  While Penn is 6’6,” and will give the Cougars a go-to scorer, rebounder, and versatile defender.

North Farmington– North Farmington is currently 9-0, and are led by seniors Jeron Rogers and Anthony Qasawa.  The Raiders are a talented team alone, now add Billy Thomas into the equation.  Thomas, transferred home from Genesis Academy after five months of competition and receiving division one offers.  The junior was on U of D Jesuit’s semi-final team a season ago, and will contribute as a reliable perimeter scorer and ball handler.

East English Village– The Bulldogs are undefeated in Detroit Public School League play.  East English Village is a primarily guard oriented team, juniors Kamari Newman, Chris Rollins, and Nate Bowlware have all had their respective moments thus far.  Yet their lone big man, 6’5″ Cedric Lattimore, has proven capable of a workhorse power forward.  Lattimore now receives aid in the front court, 6’5″ Jaylin McFadden, a transfer from Southfield Bradford.  McFadden is a skilled athlete and leaper, he will add an offensive and defensive rebounding presence EEVP will use to challenge not only for a city title, but state championship as well.


Day One in the Romulus Summer League

19 Jun

romulusArguable the most competitive Summer League in Michigan, the Romulus Summer League had a good mixture of teams on the first day.  From defending state champions, to teams that will be contenders this year, even all the way to up-and-coming younger teams.  The atmosphere in the gym did not feel like it was a Summer League.  A few technical fouls were given and a few coaches got into heated arguments.  However, talent was abundant, and some players are beginning to make a name for themselves that college programs should start paying attention to.

Ronald Booth (2014 5’6″ Detroit Consortium PG)- Do not let Booth’s size fool you, Ronald can play.  Booth is a tough, hard-nosed basketball player that can run an offense and is a team first player.  He handles the ball well, controls the pace of the game, can score if needed, and makes life difficult on opposing point guards.  Ronald would be a nice high D2 or low-major player.

Ja’Christian Briles (2014 6’2″ Oak Park Combo Guard)- Transfer from Southfield-Lathrup, Ja’Christian can simply score the ball.  Briles was knocking down three pointers and mid-range jump shots with ease.  Made a few nice passes with the ball in his hands playing the point guard.  Nice athleticism allowed Briles to finish above the rim on the fast-break.  Briles will have a break-out year for the Knights

Jake Lavis (2014 Wyandotte Roosevelt PG)- Lavis did everything for the Bears.  He shot the ball well, passed, rebounded well and played defense.  Jake controlled the game for the Bears and everything they did went through him.

Jordan Moses (2014 Detroit Loyola 6’9″ Forward)- Moses will be attending post-graduate school after his senior season, which will help Jordan transition nicely to the college level.  Moses changed shots and rebounded well and the defensive side of the ball, Jordan is raw offensively and will need some polishing up with a back to the basket type of game, but it is not to often you get an almost seven footer in high school.

Kelvin Fuller (2016 Oak Park 6’7″ Forward)- Fuller will have to sit out a semester for the Knights because he transferred to Oak Park from Detroit Cody, following head coach Bryant Tipton.  Fuller was hands down the best big man in the gym.  Fuller used his big frame to establish down low position on the block and finish at the basket.  Fuller was also blocking shots easily with a nice vertical, as well as providing the crowd with some electrifying alley-oops.  Kelvin will bring a high motor, and an intimidating defensive presence to any team he plays on.  He is also unique in the fact that he can play like a guard sometimes while bringing up the floor.  Fuller will be one to watch this upcoming basketball season.

Follow me on Twitter: @mdhsathletics

Interview with Malik Washingon

5 Nov

Oak Park’s Malik Washington is a water bug of running back who has the elusiveness to make you miss, and the speed to run away from you.  He talks about the game vs. Southfield and comments on his recruiting situation.  If he does not go division 1, that would be a major fault on recruiters.

Oak Park 19 Southfield 12

5 Nov

The Division 2 Region 4 District 1 championship in the MHSAA Football State Playoffs featured a rematch of OAA White Division rivals.  Oak Park, the division champion, defeated Southfield 24-18 in week 4 of the season.  Both teams came into todays game beating two Detroit PSL teams.  The Knights of Oak Park defeated Cody 35-20, while Southfield took down King 22-19.  The game started with both teams struggling to move the ball on a cold night, resulting in a 0-0 tie at the end of the first quarter.  But on the very first play of the second, Jeff Madison of Southfield took a pass from fellow senior QB Tre Walton for a td to give the Blue Jays a 6-0 lead.  On Oak Park’s ensuing drive, the Knights drove all the way down to the Blue Jay one, but failed to put points up on the board.  The final scoring of the half for either team came on a Malik Washington td run to tie the game at 6 heading into the lockers.  The third quarter was very similar to the third.  Both offenses struggled to find weakness’ in their opponents defenses, resulting in a tie to head to the final quarter of regulation.  Southfield running back Gerald Gates powered in for the Jays to give them a twelve point advantage with 6 minutes remaining.  But on Oak Park’s first play from scrimmage, Malik Washington scampered in from about 60 yards to tie the game at 12.  Southfield had one last drive to try to win the game, but a Tre Walton pass intended for Brandon Bean was picked off in the end-zone to send the game into overtime.  Oak Park got the ball to start overtime and scored on a controversal touchdown call that gave the Knights a 19-12 advantage.  On Southfield’s turn, Oak Park stopped the Blue Jays inside the one yard line giving them the victory.  Southfield ends their season with a record of 7-4 while the win gives Oak Park a 9-2 record.  The Knights will travel to Wyandotte to take on the Bears Friday night for a chance to win a regional championship.

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