Southfield Bradford senior Steven Smith works on dribbling during a recent practice. At press time, the Bulldogs were 3-2 overall.

Southfield Bradford senior Steven Smith works on dribbling during a recent practice. At press time, the Bulldogs were 3-2 overall.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Southfield Bradford continuing to build solid boys basketball program

By: Zachary Manning | Southfield Sun | Published January 9, 2019

 Senior Percy Redd goes up for a shot as coach Denolius Burkes watches. Redd is one of three senior captains on the team.

Senior Percy Redd goes up for a shot as coach Denolius Burkes watches. Redd is one of three senior captains on the team.

Photo by Deb Jacques

SOUTHFIELD — Denolius Burkes took over the Southfield Bradford boys basketball program just a week before official tryouts.

Since that moment, he’s been preaching hard work, discipline and being a strong student-athlete, while trying to build a culture of winning.

Early on, Burkes has the Bulldogs off to a strong start. At press time, they were 3-2 overall. The first-year coach has been pushing his players to get better every day to reach their goal of winning a district championship.

“I am so proud of these kids, because they’re coachable, they work hard, they want to win and they want to go out on top. The sky’s the limit for this program,” Burkes said.

The Bulldogs have an experienced roster that is being led by eight seniors. With that wealth of experience, the Bulldogs have been playing with a sense of urgency to ensure their high school careers end on a high note.

Burkes said the strengths of his team are leadership, guard play and overall offensive play. However, to reach that district title goal, Burkes said his team needs to work on rebounding and defense.

Bradford has three senior captains: Kenneth Hunter, Steven Smith and Percy Redd. Burkes is proud of the way his players have bought into his message and wants them to continue giving maximum effort.

Hunter said the team has great chemistry and can accomplish something great this year.

“Just make sure that you’re working hard at practice, because when you work hard, everybody will see that. And it’s like a little motivation when people see you working hard, because it’ll make them want to work hard,” Hunter said.

As Burkes continues to get acclimated with Bradford and the basketball program, his vision is to get everyone involved. He mentioned Clarkston High as a program that he would like his to look like. The Wolves have been a perennial power and have won two straight Class A state championships.

Burkes wants his elementary, middle school and high school kids to be involved with the program so they know the system and expectations, which will allow the program to reload instead of rebuild.

For the kids on the team right now, going out with a district title and making a push toward playing at the Breslin Center would be a dream come true.

The postseason begins Feb. 25, and the Bulldogs are in a Division 2 district at Detroit Henry Ford.

“It would mean a lot, because all of us have been playing since like ninth or eighth grade, so it would mean a lot for us to win that together and share that moment,” Smith said.

The Bulldogs’ next game is at 7 p.m. Jan. 11 at Ferndale University.