Article and photo courtesy of MIPrepzone
By Scott Burnstein, The Oakland Press
It might as well be ancient history.
Last season’s 0-21 campaign seems like a faint memory to the Rochester Adams boys basketball squad right now. The Highlanders opened the 2017-2018 season with the pep in their step that was missing last winter and got off to a scorching 5-0 start to their schedule.
Alum Brad Crighton (Class of 1995) assumed the reins of the Adams program in the spring of 2016, fresh off building the Stoney Creek girls club into a winner from scratch crosstown and didn’t acquire much to work with in his new job – he encountered a Highlanders team severely depleted from graduation losses and minus any significant varsity experience coming off a 2015-2016 season where a team anchored by Mr. Basketball finalist Spencer Littleson (Toledo) advanced to the Class A regional finals. After a year of extreme growing pains, Crighton and Adams are back on the track.
And built for the future.
More than half of the current club is either freshmen or sophomores. Austin Ursuy, a sophomore forward, is headlining the Highlanders in the stat department, scoring 15 points and bringing down almost 10 rebounds per game. Fab frosh floor general, Ethan Emerzian, is averging 14 points and five assists a night.
“We had a great summer, a very productive offseason all the way around,” Crighton said. “This is a very committed group. We’re balanced, inside and out. We’ve gotten off to a strong start to the year, but we know there’s still a lot of work to be done and a lot of improvement to be made.”
Junior forward Jake Shuler (12 points, eight rebounds per night) has proved a rugged presence in the frontcourt and seniors Jack Jenkins and Davis Reifel round out the starting line-up and provide leadership. Jenkins starts in the backcourt at the two-guard opposite Emerzian, whose twin brother, Jake, comes off the bench to spell him at the point. Reifel plays in the post.
Transfer Peyton Prieskorn (Orchard Lake St. Mary’s) will be joining the Adams attack up front next week when he gets eligible. His big brother, Caden Prieskorn, is an All-CHSL center at St. Mary’s.
Crighton was one of the best outside shooters in Oakland County when he prepped for the Highlanders back in the 1990s before competing at the college level for the College of the Ozarks in Missouri. While pacing the sideline at Stoney Creek (13 years at the helm), he took the Cougars girls to a pair of league championships and three district trophies.
Adams took its first loss of the year Tuesday, dropping a heartbreaker to OAA White foe Oak Park at home on a near half-court buzzer beater. The Highlanders then lost another close game with Troy Athens on Thursday, 56-52.