Burney's Bytes with Scott Burnstein

Burney's Bytes with Scott Burnstein
Basketball

CHSL BBALL UPDATE: Stanczak returns to bench; UDJ's Jalen Thomas decommits from UMass

CHSL BBALL UPDATE: Stanczak returns to bench; UDJ's Jalen Thomas decommits from UMass
BY: SCOTT BURNSTEIN Apr 15, 12:00am

Rex Stanczak is back on the bench.

After a two-year hiatus from the sidelines, Stanczak was named the new boys basketball coach at Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard this week. It’s his foray first into the Catholic League. He previously headed the programs at Ann Arbor Pioneer, Walled Lake Western, South Lyon and Ypsilanti. While at Pioneer between 2005 and 2017, he took the team to five league titles, three regional crowns and a trip to the 2007 Class A final four. Overall, he has collected 14 league championships and raised eight district banners among his 363 career victories.

Gabriel Richard finished 5-15 this year. Stanczak will have a veteran roster to mold next winter, as the Fighting Irish return a sizable chunk of their roster, including star guard Greg Kendzicky.

On second thought …

Detroit U-D Jesuit senior center Jalen Thomas has re-opened his recruitment and been let out of his National Letter of Intent with UMass. The 6-foot-10 Thomas signed with the Minutemen back in the fall and is considered the top pure post prospect in the state’s Class of 2019. He helped lead U-D Jesuit to a seventh-straight Catholic League (A-B) title and a berth in the Division 1 state final. As a freshman in 2016, Thomas was a member of the Cubs Class A state championship squad. Word on the street is that he could land at Xavier.

From Wisconsin with love

University of Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard and assistant Dean Oliver were on campus at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Friday to visit Badgers commit Lorne Bowman, one of the early candidates for next year’s Mr. Basketball award, and target Julian Roper, maybe the best off-guard recruit in the state’s sophomore class.

Bowman, a 6-foot-2 combo guard, pumped in 24 points per night as a junior. He committed to Wisconsin last November and then sparked St. Mary’s to a second district crown in a row.

The 6-foot-3 Roper has yet to play a game for St. Mary’s, arriving in mid-season late January via transfer from Birmingham Detroit Country Day. Wisconsin offered Roper in February.

When you add in cagey freshman floor general, Kareem Rozier to Bowman and Roper, St. Mary’s could have the No. 1 backcourt in the state in 2020. Rozier and sophomore center Peter Nwoke, both considered mid-major recruits right now, met with Gard and Oliver Friday as well. Wisconsin went 23-11 and lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Gard and Oliver dipped into the Mitten’s prospect pool last year and walked away with Clarkston center Taylor Currie, who redshirted this past season.