New coach, same success for Bloomfield Hills boys basketball

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published February 22, 2023

 Bloomfield Hills freshman Drew Wilson takes a shot against Birmingham Groves Feb. 9  at Groves High School.

Bloomfield Hills freshman Drew Wilson takes a shot against Birmingham Groves Feb. 9 at Groves High School.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

 Bloomfield Hills senior guard Noah Adamczyk drives past a Groves defender.

Bloomfield Hills senior guard Noah Adamczyk drives past a Groves defender.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

BLOOMFIELD HILLS — Most teams don’t have an identity crisis after winning back-to-back Oakland Activities Association-White league titles, but Bloomfield Hills boys basketball went through its fair share of trials and tribulations after its previous head coach, Phil Kurajian, stepped down after last season.

Kurajian, who coached Bloomfield Hills (13-6) for five seasons, brought on now-head coach Brian Canfield onto the Bloomfield Hills staff as a volunteer assistant for the 2022 season. Canfield watched his two sons, Mason and Tyler, play under Kurajian during their high school career.

While he may be a new face to some, Bloomfield Hills freshman guard Drew Wilson was all smiles after Canfield got the job.

“At first, I was wondering what school I was going to be going to,” Wilson said. “When I heard he was going to be the coach, I knew I had my decision.”

Canfield coached Wilson on the Amateur Athletic Union basketball team, the Michigan Majors, and also coached senior guard CJ Jackson on Moneyball East.

Taking over an already established culture, Bloomfield Hills was ready to continue its reign over the OAA-White division, and it stormed out of the gate early.

Bloomfield Hills earned six straight wins to open the season, but more importantly, imposed its will on the defensive side.

Canfield said he mirrored Kurajian’s coaching to some degree, but he wanted to make one aspect on the defense a point of emphasis.

“We wanted to have a more defensive-minded attack approach,” Canfield said. “There was some learning and there were some growing pains, but I’m really confident in our defense.”

For Bloomfield Hills, it was all about changing mindsets early and separating from the rest of the field.

Bloomfield Hills didn’t want to be grouped into the ‘Bloomfield tough’ crew anymore, and Jackson said Canfield wanted to make that apparent early.

“It’s the thing where everyone says, everyone all around Bloomfield Hills and around that area, that we’re ‘Blomfield tough,’ and he (Canfield) didn’t like that, and we didn’t like that, because we didn’t want to be ‘Bloomfield tough,’” Jackson said. “We just wanted to be tough. We wanted to be the team nobody wanted to face each night.”

Courtesy of Jackson, senior guard Noah Adamczyk, a first team all-State selection in 2022, senior Ahmad Taylor and junior Brandon Newland, Bloomfield Hills has been an offensive threat night in and night out, regardless of the opponent. Averaging just under 64 points per game, Bloomfield Hills has cemented itself as one of most dynamic offenses in the OAA.

Adamczyk, who scored his 1,000th career point earlier this season, has continued to shine this season as an offensive leader.

Canfield said Adamczyk’s all-around play and leadership have elevated Bloomfield Hills on both sides of the court this season.

“The players know he’s a really good player, and they know he raises the level of the team and the level of their play,” Canfield said. “He’s a true competitor that really wants to win, and when we don’t, he really takes that with him. The other is how hard he plays in games. There are things that don’t go in the stat book.”

While still holding an impressive record this season, Bloomfield Hills has some ground to cover in the OAA-White division.

Dropping games to Birmingham Groves, Troy High and West Bloomfield didn’t help the cause, but Bloomfield Hills, who’s currently in fourth, is still in the hunt for the division.

Bloomfield Hills’ last three games will be against league opponents, leaving an opportunity to make up its one-game gap.

However, in the OAA-White, there’s no such thing as a sure thing.

“Somebody is going to finish last place in the conference, and they’re going to be a good team,” Canfield said. “They could go out there and beat 75% of the teams out there.”

Bloomfield Hills will look to improve on its district semifinal loss from last season, but will have to get past a strong district first.

Wilson said the team’s primary focus is giving the senior class a strong finish to the season.

“We know we got a couple seniors that are leaving, so we want to leave on a good note,” Wilson said.