BY DAN STICKRADT
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to some technical difficulties, NOS is reposting some of its fall and winter sports All-Area teams from the 2011-12 school year.)
During the 2011-12 boys basketball season, it was commonplace to see recognizable Division I and Division II coaches sitting up in the stands catching a glimpse of some of the area’s best boys basketball talent. In fact, college coaches from schools of all sizes frequented the North Oakland area all season.
That’s because there was a bevy of talent and a high amount of college prospects coming from a wide variety of high schools. Several area talents have already selected or singed with their college choice, while others are experiencing the recruiting process.
With the expansion this season to include schools from Pontiac, Ortonville and Holly, the 2012 All-North Oakland Area Boys Basketball Team, selected by NOS staff in conjunction with area coaches opinions, added a fifth team to accommodate all of the talent in this region.
From the coaching standpoint, several coaches also put forth brilliant seasons guiding their troops. This season there are co-coaches of the year to highlight two talented young coaches roaming the sidelines.
Below are the brief profiles of each of the players and coaches name to the first through fifth teams:
JAMES YOUNG, Troy 6-7 jr. SG: Ranked amongst the top 25 juniors in the country by multiple sources, Young racked up every postseason award on the first-team level this season, including All-State Class A and All-Oakland County. On the radar of top D-I colleges across the country, Young averaged 24.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists in his second season as a starter and third on the varsity. He even posted a 49-point game against state powerhouse Clarkston this season and is flirting with several school records at Troy. He will be one of the frontrunners for Mr. Basketball 2013.
“James became progressively better as the season went on this year,” said coach Gary Fralick. “He was our go-to person all year and especially over the second half of the season. He can score from inside and outside.”
TAYLOR PERRY, Rochester 6-4 sr. F: four-year varsity performer and three-year starter, Perry showcased consistent growth during his prep career and wound up signing with Division I Western Michigan. On the floor, Perry led the Falcons to back-to-back OAA Blue Division league championships, a top-20 state ranking this season and to a 21-2 overall record. Perry, who ranks inside the top 10 on the school’s career scoring list, was named to the Associated Press All-State Class A Special Mention squad and All-County. He averaged 18.1 points, 9.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.4 steals an outing.
“Taylor had a great four years at Rochester High School,” said coach John Pleasant. “He was a four-year varsity player, and a three-year starter. Taylor is gifted athletically, and has become the player that he is because of the work he has put in. Taylor left his mark on our program and accomplished some things here that will be remembered for quite some time.”
KELLEN MCCORMICK, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep 6-8 sr. F: The son of former Clarkston High great and NBA player Tim McCormick, the second generation was a versatile player at the high school level during his fourth-year career with the Irish. Although big enough to play inside, McCormick was equally dangerous on the perimeter as a pure shooter. This season he averaged 17 points and seven rebounds an outing. Named to the Class B All-State First Team, McCormick will play next year at Western Michigan. He scored a school record 1,199 points in his career and was one of five candidates from the state of Michigan for the McDonalds All-American game.
“Kellen was a captain, great young man and leaves NDP will having played all four years on varsity,” said coach Brandon Jezdimir. “He was a great role-model for the younger kids and really showed them what it takes to play at the next level. He will be missed.”
PARIS PERERIA, Rochester 5-8 sr. PG/SG: Although small in stature, Pereria was a key cog during the Falcons’ revival in basketball during his four years on varsity, the last three as a starter. This season he rotated between point and shooting guard and actually led Rochester in scoring with 19.4 points a contest. He added 4.7 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 3.1 steals a game for the OAA Blue Division champs. He is being courted by several small colleges.
“Like Taylor (Perry), Paris is a four-year varsity player and a three-year starter,” said Pleasant. “I should have known after Paris hit five three-point shots in the first half of his first varsity game his freshman year that he would be a special player. Paris has a higher basketball IQ than anyone I have had the privilege of coaching. He improved every year he was with us, and like Taylor, left his prints all over this program. When we lost in the district finals, the hardest thing for me was not the loss itself, it was the fact that I realized that I would not have the luxury of coaching both Paris and Taylor anymore.”
NICK TATU, Clarkston 6-2 sr. SG: A three-year starter whose keen eye from long range earned him the reputation as being one of the state’s better shooters, Tatu is on the radar of multiple colleges. This season the sharpshooter scored 47 points in a loss to Troy but helped lead the Wolves to another OAA Red Division title. He averaged close to 20 points an outing and earned All-OAA Red Division and All-County Second Team honors. He ranks inside the top 10 three-point shooters in school history.
AKHEMJI WILLIAMS, Rochester Adams 5-8 soph. PG: An explosive player who worked his way into the lineup as a freshman and became the Highlanders’ best player this past season as a sophomore, Williams has Division I-caliber talent with two years still left to groom at the high school level. Named to the All-OAA White Division and All-county Honorable Mention lists, Williams is a flashy player who can dish with the best of them and has the ability to shoot the clutch shot all over the court. This winter he averaged 17.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.2 steals and 5.7 assists for Adams.
MARK HAZELWOOD, Oxford 5-10 sr. SG: After averaging 19 points as a junior, Hazelwood’s numbers dropped to around 17 a game as a senior, as he was a marked man on the court. Finishing with the highest two-season totals for Oxford in several years, Hazelwood is undecided on a college choice. He led Oxford to a winning record and the runner-up spot in the OAA Gold Division.
MARCARIUS COAKLEY, Troy Athens 6-3 sr. G/F: Coakley had a breakout season in his first full campaign as a starter and garnered plenty of interest from small colleges around the state. This season he led the Red Hawks with 19 points and 10 rebounds an outing and earned All-OAA Blue Division honors. He tossed in a single-game school record 39 points against Flint Carman-Ainsworth.
“Marcarius was our best player throughout the year and really made us go,” said coach Dave Scott. “He led us in scoring and rebounding. He got injured in the middle of the season and that corresponded with our mid-season slump. With Marcarius in the line-up we were 13-4 and when he was out we were 2-3. He’s a great player and even better kid. He is energetic and a leader on the floor.”
NIC STOLL, Holly 6-6 sr. C/F: Headed to Michigan Tech, Stoll was one of the top players this season in the Flint Metro League and one of the top post players in Oakland County as a senior. This season he dominated the paint against most opponents, ringing up 11 points, 11 rebounds and 4.0 blocks and outing. He is the single-season (70) and career (117) blocks leader for the Bronchos and was named Academic All-State with a 3.9 GPA. Holly averaged 16 wins per season during Stoll’s three years as a starter.
MITCH BAENZIGER, Clarkston 6-2 sr. PG: Baenziger led Clarkston’s football team and basketball team to the OAA Red Division title in the same school year. A three-year starter for coach Dan Fife on the hardwood, Baenziger led the Wolves in assists and was the third-leading scorer as a senior.
NATHAN DREWS, Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest 6-1 jr. SG: Drews is the consummate leader on the field of battle, earning All-MIAC Blue Division honors as a quarterback in football and again on the hardwood in basketball. A three-year starter, Drews averaged 19.8 points and 6.0 rebounds an outing. He twice scored 37 points in a game this season.
“Nathan is a very good long-range shooter and he rebounds really good for a guard,” said coach Dan Pontillo.
CALEB MCINTOSH, Troy Athens 6-2 sr. G: McIntosh did a little bit of everything on the court for the Red Hawks, who finished 15-6. The All-OAA Blue Division honoree averaged 13.6points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.1 steals and outing and garnered some interest from small colleges around the Midwest.
“Caleb was our starting point guard for the year and was very consistent throughout,” said Scott. “He hit the game-winning shot against Troy High at the beginning of the year and was solid all season.”
BRAD WATTERWORTH, Lake Orion 6-8 sr. C: Watterworth, one of seven siblings that are all basketball standouts, had an interesting prep career. He started for two years at neighboring Lake Orion Baptist, setting all of the school’s blocked shots records, before transferring over to Lake Orion as a junior. He played sparingly as a junior under a different coaching staff but shined as a senior under the direction of Tom Risi. One of the most dominant centers in the 25-school OAA, Watterworth averaged around nine points, nine rebounds and three blocks a contest for a team that made a surprising run to the Class A state quarterfinals.
JAROD JONES, Pontiac 6-2 jr. G: Jones had a breakout season for the Phoenix, earning All-OAA Red Division honors. He averaged 14.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.4 steals a contest for Pontiac, which finished 13-6.
JOHN MCCARTY, Lake Orion 6-5 soph. F: A two-year starter, McCarty is a star on the rise and already on the radar for multiple Division I and Division II schools. The All-OAA Blue Division selection helped the Dragons have one of their best postseason runs in school history which included district and regional championships, an upset of state-ranked Rochester in the district finals, and a berth in the Class A state quarterfinals. This season McCarty, who is not afraid to take the ball to the hole and mix it up inside, averaged 15 points and 8.0 rebounds a game for the 16-10 Dragons.
JOE LEONARD, Troy 5-7 jr. G: With sophomore Maceo Baston transferring to Birmingham Detroit Country Day halfway through the season, Leonard was one of the Colts that stepped up and helped Troy win the OAA White Division championship. Â Leonard, who earned All-OAA White status, picked up his numbers down the stretch and averaged 9.5 points and 2.5 steals a contest.
“Joe hit many big three-pointers for us this year,” said Fralick. “He has great quickness and is the best defensive player on the team.”
ZACK LITTLESON, Rochester Adams 6-3 jr. F: In his second season as a starter, Littleson averaged 12.6 points and 5.8 rebounds for the Highlanders, earning All-OAA White Division status.
MATT DELLINGER, Clarkston 6-2 sr. F: One wouldn’t find Dellinger high in the scoring column all that often, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t a valuable asset to the Wolves string of success. He was a four-year varsity veteran and three-year starter in basketball, helping Clarkston claim four league and three district titles in his tenure. Dellinger, also a standout football player who will play that sport at Kent State University in the fall, earned All-OAA Red Division honors this past season.
JORDAN DASUQI, Clarkston 6-2 jr. G: After coming off the bench the past two seasons, Dasuqi emerged as one of the Wolves top players this season and second leading scorer, totaling around 14 points and outing for a team that repeated as the OAA Red Division champions and finished 20-3.
QUINTON COOK, Ortonville Brandon 6-5 jr. G/F: A versatile talent who can play both inside and outside, Cook overcame a slow start to average 12.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 block a game. He also shot at a.490 clip from the field and earned All-Flint Metro League Second Team honors. He is being courted by Hope College, Concordia, Spring Arbor, U of M-Dearborn and Roosevelt University, among others.
“Quinton broke the school season record for rebounds in a season with 178,” noted coach Ross Gauthier. “Quinton did everything on the floor for us. He is becoming a great a leader and we are very excited to have him coming back next season. He seemed like he grabbed every rebound for us and made a tough basket every time we needed one. At 6-5 he plays all five positions for us and causes a lot of miss matches with his size, quickness and shooting ability. Quinton will be one of the better players in the area next season.”
ARBEN CAMAJ, Rochester 6-7 jr. C: After playing sparingly as a sophomore, Camaj improved by leaps and bounds during his junior season to not only earn starting spot but also a slot on the All-OAA Blue Division Team. Camaj was the third-leading scorer for Rochester and led the Falcons in blocked shots.
GARRETT ROSS, Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes 6-4 jr. G/F: Perhaps the most gifted player in the CHSL Intersectional Division, the All-Catholic honoree led the Lakers to a league and district runner-up slot after averaging 18 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, 1.8 assists and 1.5 steals an outing. He also shot at a .790 clip from the foul line and .360 from three-point range.
“Garrett is an excellent all around basketball player who can play both inside and outside,” said coach Sean Wightman. “Because of his length, he creates match-up problems for other teams. He handles the ball well out on the floor and creates offensive opportunities for others. In addition to this, he is an excellent offensive rebounder.”
JAMES NORUK, Lake Orion Baptist 5-8 sr. SG: A four-year varsity player and three-year starter, Noruk is the most prolific scorer in the school’s 10-year history, totaling over 1,000 career points. This season Noruk was named the All-FBAC Red Division MVP and to the Michigan Association of Christian Schools Division I All-State Second Team. He averaged over 20 points as a senior.
CHARLES HAYDEN, Auburn Hills Oakland Christian 6-4 sr. F: Hayden began his prep career at Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, where he played for two seasons, then sat out the first semester of his junior year at Oakland Christian. In 1.5 seasons as a key factor for the Lancers, Hayden averaged 9.4 points, 6.4 assists and 6.2 rebounds a game in a balanced attack. Named to the All-MIAC Blue Division First Team, Hayden signed with Aquinas College.
“Hayden is an exceptional leader,” said coach Dennis Hopkins. “When we needed a play to be made, Charles was somehow involved with the play. Without Charles we would not have had the success we had the last two seasons.”
DONALD ALLEN, Clarkston Everest Collegiate 6-5 sr. C: The Mountaineers’ only true post player during their first seasons, Allen averaged close to 10 points and 10 rebounds an outing. He earned All-CHSL honors for a team that won its first league and district titles.
CO-COACH OF THE YEAR
JOHN PLEASANT, Rochester: In four years at the helm, Pleasant has rejuvenated a once proud program and turned the Falcons into one of the state’s top 20 teams in Class A in 2011-12. Rochester finished the season 21-2, which included tying the school record with 21 straight wins, and the Falcons only lost their season opener to Detroit Loyola and the district finals to Lake Orion. Rochester finished 10-0 in the OAA Blue Division, winning back-to-back conference titles for the first time since 1987-88 and 1988-89 and just their fourth and fifth league titles in 25 years. Pleasant, who was an all-league player at Oxford in 1998, was also named the All-Oakland County and Associated Press Class A Coach of the Year for his efforts, sharing that honor with Saginaw’s Julian Taylor.
ANN LOWNEY, Clarkston Everest Collegiate: When Everest Collegiate finally began its high school four years ago, Lowney quickly jumped at the chance to become the school’s athletics director and launch the boys basketball program. The Mountaineers just finished their third season of varsity play and Lowney coached her team to a 17-6 record and both the CHSL-Intersectional Division and Class D district titles, the school’s first championships in boys sports. The Mountaineers saw their season come to an end against eventual Class D state champion Southfield Christian in the regional semifinals. Lowney, who coached Clarkston’s girls basketball program for many years and has been involved in coaching youth basketball in The CYO arena, is a fine 45-20 for three seasons at Everest with three winning seasons.
2012 ALL-AREA BOYS BASKETBALL TEAM
Taylor Perry Rochester 6-4 Sr. F
James Young Troy 6-7 Jr. G/F
Paris Pereria Rochester 5-8 Sr. PG
Nick Tatu Clarkston 6-2 Sr. G/F
Kellen McCormick Pont. Notre Dame Prep 6-8 Sr. F
Akhemji Williams Roch. Adams 5-7 Soph. PG Mitch Baenziger Clarkston 6-2 Sr. PG
Mark Hazelwood Oxford 5-10 Sr. SG
Nic Stoll Holly 6-7 Sr. F
Marcarius Coakley Troy Athens 6-3 Sr. F
Caleb McIntosh Troy Athens 6-2 Sr. SG
John McCarty Lake Orion 6-5 Soph. F
Nathan Drews RH Lutheran Northwest 6-1 Jr. SG
Brad Watterworth Lake Orion 6-8 Sr. C
Jarod Jones Pontiac 6-2 Jr. G
Joe Leonard Troy 5-7 Jr. PG
Zak Littleson Rochester Adams 6-3 Jr. F
Quinton Cook Ortonville Brandon 6-5 Jr. F
Matt Dellinger Clarkston 6-2 Sr. F
Jordan Dasuqi Clarkston 6-2 Jr. SG
Charles Hayden AH Oakland Christian 6-4 Sr. F
Donald Allen Clarkston Everest 6-5 Sr. C
Garrett Ross Wat. Our Lady 6-4 Jr. G/F
James Noruk Lake Orion Baptist 5-8 Sr. SG Arben Camaj Rochester 6-7 Jr. C
CO-COACH OF THE YEAR
Ann Lowney Clarkston Everest Third Season
John Pleasant Rochester Fourth Season
Auburn Hills Avondale: A.J. Susick, 6-6 sr. C; Jabaar Mims, 6-2 soph. F; Auburn Hills Oakland Christian: Josh Peterson, 6-7 sr. C; Drew Perrin, 5-11 sr. PG; Nathan Piasecki, 6-1 sr. F; Auburn Hills Christian Academy: Taylor Barton, Geoff Wickson, Ashton Drew; Clarkston: Zach Collins, 6-2 sr. F; Clarkston Everest Collegiate: Richie Cross, 6-0 jr. G; Blake Beauchamp, 6-0 jr. PG; David Smith, 6-0 jr. F; Mitch Lasecki, 5-10 jr. F; Clarkston Springfield Christian: Andrew Alonzi, 5-11 soph. PG; Holly: Jared Plawski, 6-2 sr. PG; Austin Hopkin, 6-4 sr. G/F; Isaac Casillas, 5-11 fr. SG; Blake Ordiway,6-4 sr. F; Lake Orion: Justin Walukonis, 6-0 sr. G; Damonte Kruse, 5-7 jr. PG; Chaz Miller, 6-6 jr. F; Lake Orion Baptist: Mark Dewar, 6-3 soph. F; Ortonville Brandon: Cody Feltner, 6-0 sr. G; Oxford: Mike Kitchner, 6-3 sr. F; Jacques Touissant, 6-0 sr. PG; Pontiac: Jamerea Samples, 6-2 sr. F; Dijon Cogdel, 5-7 jr. G; Derek Kirk-Turner, 6-3 sr. F; Pontiac Academy of Excellence: Dion Fears, Jordan Jones, Quarmail Walker; Pontiac Notre Dame Prep: Troy Sassick, 6-5 sr. C; Mike Risi, 6-3 jr. F; Ryan Pierce, 5-10 sr. G; Dan Durkin, 6-2 sr. G; Rochester: Mike Klotz, 6-2 sr. SG; Manny Mendoza, 6-4 jr. F; Rochester Adams: James Berger, 6-0 sr. SG; Rochester Stoney Creek: Patrick Merz, 6-4 soph. F; Ben Temrowski,6-3 jr. G/F; Stephen Makowski, 5-11 jr. G; Rochester Hills Christian: Nathan Simon, 5-10 sr. SG; Marquez Hatcher, 5-9 soph. PG; Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest: Joshua Morrison, 6-0 jr. G; Gursher Rathore, 6-1 sr. F; Troy: Craig Duggan, 6-2 soph. G; Jeff Holmes, 6-4 sr. F; Zak Noor, 5-8 jr. G; Troy Athens: Jeff Fox, 5-10 sr. PG; Jeff Koch, 6-8 jr. C; Tim Frieman, 6-4 sr. F; Troy Bethany Christian: Daniel Sprankle, 6-1 sr. G/F; Ryan Woodham,6-0 jr. PG; Ajay Solomon, 6-2 sr. F/C; Troy Christian Leadership Academy: Not available; Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes: Jake Doetsch, 6-1 jr. G/F; Jake Weir, 6-3 sr. F; Vinny Puma, 5-10 soph. G.
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