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Mott head coach Steve Schmidt looks to improve his record to 7-2 this season Wednesday night against rival Lansing.

FLINT, Michigan — Roles have been reversed in one of the state’s best basketball rivalries, at least for now. Mott enters its game versus rival Lansing at 7 p.m. Wednesday night in Flint as an underdog.

The rivalry, once dominated by Mott, is alive and well these days. Mott came up just shy of an upset over the Stars last month in Lansing, falling by three. Since then, however, Lansing has proven itself against the NJCAA’s best.

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Lansing CC head coach Mike Ingram

The Stars are winners of nine consecutive games including an impressive win over no. 1-ranked Schoolcraft. Lansing, under the direction of longtime coach Mike Ingram, has ascended to the no. 3 spot in the latest NJCAA national poll.

The upstart Bears (one returning player from last season) started the season unranked, but their 6-2 record has earned a no. 17 ranking in the poll.

This is rarefied air for Mott, one of the top JUCO programs in the country; historically, Mott hasn’t been an underdog against many.

Mott’s Hall of Fame head coach Steve Schmidt grew up in Lansing, graduated from Lansing Waverly and is a former assistant coach with the Stars. In fact, Schmidt and Ingram were both assistant coaches on the last Lansing squad to win a national title (1988). They both played at Central Michigan in the 1980s.

Between them, they have nearly 1,200 career wins. 

Schmidt jokes about how the pair coached together before any of their current players were born.

“I’m really impressed by how Mike has evolved as a coach, how he gets his teams to buy in and execute his system,” Schmidt said. “I love the challenge of coaching against his teams. He works hard and I believe he’s one of the best coaches at our level in the country.”

Since 2009, Mott has won nine of its 12 games versus the Stars. In recent years, however, the games have been much more competitive. In the last two seasons, the teams have split (each winning at home).

With all due respect to Schoolcraft and Oakland, Mott and Lansing have been the premier programs in the MCCAA during the coaching tenures of Schmidt and Ingram. The programs have featured numerous big-time players, and championships, in recent years. Mott, by itself, has four national titles since 2003 and 18 All-Americans.

Lansing, for its part, always seems to have a bonafide stud on every roster — Nate Duhon, Muhammad El-Amin and Torian Harris to name a few from the past. This year, the Stars are led by sophomore guard Javon Haines. The former East Lansing High standout had been the best player in the MCCAA even before his 55-point explosion against Alpena. He is currently leading the NJCAA in scoring at just under 29 points per game.

Mott counters with an exciting young crop of guards and wings who can run the floor with anyone — including Lansing. The best of the bunch is freshman Diandre Wilson, a smooth combo guard who can create his own shot and score going to the basket. Wilson averages 21 points, five rebounds and four assists per game.

In the first go-around, Mott actually held Haines to a season-low 10 points. Adams and Wilson combined for 48 points, but the Bears could not finish off a late rally.

The X factor for Mott is 6-5 sophomore transfer Jalen Adams. The former all-stater from Saginaw Arthur Hill played at D-1 St. Bonaventure last season. He has the pure talent to be the best player on the floor every game. He has only shown flashes so far this season, but most expect him to breakout in the very near future.

A new wrinkle for Mott is 6-6 sophomore transfer Mitchell Rubio, a local product who spent last season at City College of San Francisco. Rubio played in his first game on Saturday afternoon against Kalamazoo Valley. He made his presence felt almost immediately, scoring 13 points with six rebounds including two in the final minute to seal the victory.

Rubio brings size, athleticism and, most importantly, the ability to hit outside shots.

“Mitchell definitely makes us better,” Schmidt said.

Win or lose, the Bears are trending in the right direction. Schmidt has the horses to make a run this season. If he can hold this group together for two seasons, he will have something special.

“These kids are young, but this is going to be a good team once they get it figured out,” Schmidt said.

Listen to the game live on MRSN.us.

 

 

 

‘Statement game’: Mott runs past Muskegon, 93-79

Posted: November 12, 2015 by Jared Field in College
Mott freshman Jalen Fykes throws down a reverse dunk in the first half Wednesday night.

Mott freshman Jalen Fykes throws down a reverse dunk in the first half Wednesday night. (Michael Tews photo)

FLINT, Michigan — What a difference a year makes. Just nine months removed from his worst season as a head coach in two decades, Mott head coach Steve Schmidt got his swagger back. Mott (3-0) had its first big test of the season on Wednesday night against Muskegon, one of the top teams in the MCCAA.

The Bears passed with flying colors, cruising past the Jayhawks, 93-79.

“I thought that was a statement game for our program,” said the hall of fame coach. “They (Muskegon) may well be the best team in the western conference.”

Lansing, Mott’s opponent next week, may have something to say about that. But, suffice it to say, Muskegon is really athletic and loaded with experience.

The Bears led early thanks to the strong play of 6-3 sophomore guard Lorenzo Collier, who came off the bench and had himself a game. He scored 17 points including two straight pull-ups to put Mott up six early in the first half. (Collier actually played for the Bears two seasons ago before taking last year off. He is one of only three sophomores on Mott’s roster.)

The Jayhawks, led by sophomores Aaron Sydnor and Will Robertson, hung around for the entire half, scoring at the buzzer cut Mott’s lead to two, 38-36.

To put it mildly, the second half featured wild swings of momentum for both teams. Mott led by 10 with 11 minutes left in the game. Two and a half minutes later, the Bears’ lead was down to one. Two and a half minutes after that, Mott led by 16. That’s not a misprint.

The Bears’s final run was led by 6-3 freshman guard Diandre Wilson, who stuffed the stat sheet with 23 points, five assists, five boards and six steals. He scored six points in a span of less than 30 seconds to put the game away with five minutes left. The exclamation point on the win came late on a ridiculous alley-oop to sophomore Jalen Adams, a D-1 transfer from St. Bonaventure. Adams scored 15 points with four rebounds and three assists.

That was one of many dunks on the night from a team that, at least on the surface, looks to be Mott’s most athletic bunch since the days of Doug Anderson and Torian Oglesby (the “fly boys”). The best dunk of the night came early, a rather shocking slam in transition from freshman Aaryon Davis, generously listed at 5-10.

Former Flint Beecher all-stater Cedric Moten started for the Bears, scored 13 points and showed the ability to stop the ball. He may well be the “glue guy” that Schmidt has always featured on his championship teams. He’s not as athletic as former Bear TJ Cameron (Kalamazoo Central), but he brings a lot of the same qualities to the program.

If the first three games of the season are any indication, this is a team that will win games by out-running and out-jumping their opponents. It’s going to be a little different than Mott’s great teams of the past; but, if this group stays together, they will win a lot of games.

The Bears have a quick turnaround this week, as they welcome Triton College (Illinois) to Ballenger Fieldhouse at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. Triton is also 3-0 including a recent win over Cincinnati State. Listen to the game live online at MRSN.us.

FLINT, Michigan – Mott’s third straight win was anything but charming. The Bears turned away Alpena on Saturday afternoon in Flint, 74-60.

Leave it to Mott head coach Steve Schmidt to be angry about a 14-point conference win, but that’s his style; he’s almost never satisfied. Schmidt has not been happy with his team’s consistent inability to play a complete game this season. That was on full display Saturday.

Schmidt spent much of the game barking at his players for seemingly going in and out of consciousness on the floor, missing assignments, failing to box out and not getting after loose balls. At one point, he stopped freshman guard Austin Daniels with a question: “Are you OK?”

For short bursts, the team looked inspired on the defensive end. It wasn’t long, though, before they simply looked like they were mailing it in.

“I’m not happy with the demeanor of the guys,” Schmidt said. “I’m not happy with the effort. It’s a good win against a team we should beat, but I had some guys who just weren’t here. That’s all I’m going to say.”

There’s little doubt that Schmidt was reacting to the manner in which he team handled the game’s final four minutes. The Bears put their guard down and turned what should have been a dominant 25-point win into an outcome that leaves something to be desired.

It could have been a lot worse for the visiting Lumberjacks, but the home team didn’t roll out of bed until midway through the first half. The Bears, sparked by freshman wing Tommie Johnson, went on an 11-2 run to end the half up a dozen, 32-20.

Alpena is a much-improved team this season, scoring wins over Delta, Wayne County and Henry Ford this season. Without the services of Tristan Howard, the team’s top guard, the Lumberjacks could not handle the Bears’ pressure early in the second half. Just six minutes in, a 3-pointer by freshman guard Malik Young put the Bears up 23. It capped an 18-5 run by the Bears.

With Schmidt’s team fully in his comfort zone scoring points of turnovers, Mott didn’t slow the pace of play down until inside of four minutes left, still up 21. Setting aside the less-than-stellar effort to close out this game, the Bears are starting hit their stride on the defensive end. Mott has surrendered 67 or less points in five of their last six games.

Stephan Shepherd led all scorers with 24 points for Alpena (6-10).

Daryl Bigham led four Bears in double figures with 19. Young and Johnson scored 13 apiece. Justice Green added 11.

Mott will look to extend its winning streak to four on Wednesday night on the road against Wayne County. The Bears cannot afford to look ahead toward their showdown next Saturday at home versus Oakland.

Mott freshman Justice Green scored 13 points Tuesday night at home against Owens.

Mott freshman Justice Green scored 13 points Tuesday night at home against Owens.

FLINT, Michigan — The basketball fans leaving Ballenger Fieldhouse Tuesday night looking stoic, if not stunned, have been around awhile. To those folks who have followed Mott during its rise to prominence and subsequent reign as one of the nation’s top JUCO programs, home losses are exceptionally rare.

No. 9-ranked Mott suffered its first home loss in nearly three years, 94-87, at the hands of Owens (Ohio). The Express swept the season series with Mott, winning both in extra time.

Mott led by eight points at the half and by as many as 12 in the second half before the Express ran off 13 of the game’s next 17 points. In the end, the Bears could not overcome the offensive onslaught of Owens’ 5-7 sophomore guard Shaakir Lindsey, who scored 21 of his game-high 26 points in the second half.

After a 3-pointer by Lindsey with just less than two minutes to go in half, Mott’s Daryl Bigham swished two free throws to tie the game at 83. The Bears looked to be in prime position to win the game after Owens’ forward Austin Somerfield missed a bunny in the paint. On the ensuing possession, the Bears turned it over, got it right back, and promptly gave it away once again.

After another miss by Owens, the Bears had possession with 14.5 seconds left and called a timeout. Owens knocked the ball out of bounds with five seconds left. Mott guard Austin Daniels was then smothered by a double team and forced to call a timeout with 1.8 seconds left. Bigham caught the inbounds pass from Daniels, took two dribbles, and had his shot partially blocked.

The overtime period was a comedy of errors for the Bears on the defensive end. Lindsey could not be stopped in the lane or on the perimeter. The icing on the cake was the flagrant foul issued to Bigham for throwing an Owens player to the floor with less than 30 seconds left in the frame. Bigham was escorted to the locker room and the fans headed for the exit.

Owens, coached by former University of Toledo and Mott assistant Dave Clarke, put six players in double figures led by Lindsey.

Bigham led Mott with 25 points and eight rebounds. Freshman Malik Young had 15 and Levert and Justice Green added 13 apiece.

The Bears (8-3) will likely bounce back on the road at Alpena on Saturday before two games against Wayne and Oakland. If tonight’s effort is any indication, the Bears are fully capable of losing both.

Game Notes

• For the first time since I’ve covered this program, it’s officially (at least in my mind), the dreaded “rebuilding year” for the Bears. Amazingly, I’ve given up the ghost on Mott’s championship aspirations before New Year’s Day. This team just doesn’t have it. They have a precious little in common with Mott’s championship teams of the past. The Bears have nine players left on the roster and only one guy who plays hard all the time (if you go to the games you know who he is).

• Among a litany of problems for this team, one stands out: Mott doesn’t have a single guard who can defend, who cares to defend, or both. Mott’s championship teams have always had at least one guard (sometimes more) who took pride in wearing the “stopper” moniker. In the past, it would have been unthinkable for a 5-7 guard to shred the Bears in any game — least of all a meaningful one at home. This was a problem last season and it’s getting worse.

• It’s not all on the guards, though. On the frontline, Mott has more matadors than bulls. The Express shot 67 percent from the field in the first half. That’s great for them, but truly an embarrassing stat for Mott. It wasn’t just one of those hot-shooting nights for Owens, either. Mott was gifting them high-percentage shots in close, not closing out on shooters and fouling in the paint like they were playing flag football.

• With little doubt, this is going to be the most arduous season for Mott head coach Steve Schmidt. He has seen so many highs in his career and very few lows. This season, barring a circling of the wagons that would impress the Buffalo Bills, is going to be one of those low points. He’s the man for the job, but it might be asking too much even for a hall of famer.

• On a positive note, Bigham was a beast for long stretches of this game on the offensive end. He scored the team’s first eight points in the second half. He’s long-armed, athletic and not afraid of contact around the basket. He had a nasty tip-dunk in the first half. He’s not consistent, though, so I guess I don’t get to end on a positive note after all.

Last month I wrote that, if Mott made it through its brutal December schedule with a record of 4-2, it would be a job well done. After Wednesday’s night 62-55 road win over Kalamazoo Valley, the Bears are just a home victory over Owens away from meeting the mark.

The Bears (8-2) led KVCC (5-8) by two at the half and held on for the win. Don’t let KVCC’s record fool you. This team’s schedule was front-loaded with high-end competition against big programs. KVCC has scored wins over Wayne County and St. Clair this season. This team has talent and always presents a challenge at their place.

The Bears were led by freshman Justice Green, who scored 23 points with a season-high eight steals.

Mott played the game without the services of Darryl Bigham, Amariontez Ivory-Thomas and Joseph Stamps. Head coach Steve Schmidt is still trying to separate the men from the boys on this squad, so fans will probably continue to see movement with the roster from game to game.

Mott will look for revenge on Dec. 30 at home versus Owens. The Bears lost to the Express on the road earlier this month in double overtime.

Mott head coach Steve Schmidt with Team USA in Colorado

Posted: June 11, 2014 by Jared Field in College, Mott

schmidtMott Community College’s hall of fame head coach is currently coaching members of Team USA (18-and-under) in Colorado Springs. Schmidt is one of three court coaches for the 2014 training camp.

On Wednesday, Schmidt coached Luke Kennard (Duke University), Stanley Johnson (Arizona) and Myles Turner (Texas). His team is 2-0 thus far.

Team USA will play in the 2014 FIBA Americas 18-and-under Championship.

Schmidt is coaching alongside some big names on the college basketball scene including Billy Donovan (Florida), Jim Boeheim (Syracuse), Sean Miller (Arizona), Matt Painter (Purdue), Lorenzo Romar (Washington), Bob McKillop (Davidson), Ed Cooley (Providence) and Danny Manning (Wake Forest).

Mott Sophomore forward Myles Busby (Niles, MI) won the MCCAA Eastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Mott Sophomore forward Myles Busby (Niles, MI) won the MCCAA Eastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Mott sophomore Myles Busby was the lone bright spot for the Bears this season on the defensive end. The Niles (MI) product was named a captain and set the bar for effort for the team throughout the season. He was rewarded for his effort on Tuesday. Busby was named the MCCAA Eastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year for 2013-14.

Busby is a 6-4 small forward with length, strength and athleticism. He is one of a small handful of unsigned sophomores in the MCCAA who should command some attention in the offseason. He averaged eight points, six rebounds and two steals per game and started in 26 games.

Eastern Conference All-Defensive Team
Name Class School Hometown
F Myles Busby SO Mott Niles, MI
G Tyrie Flower SO Wayne County Detroit, MI
G Darerraul Jackson SO Wayne County Detroit, MI
F Travontis Richardson SO Oakland Saginaw, MI
G/F Matthew VanDyk FR St. Clair County Imlay City, MI
G Bernard Whitehead SO Delta Southfield, MI
Mott sophomore Malik Albert finished his career as the second-most prolific scorer in the Steve Schmidt era at Mott.

Mott sophomore Malik Albert finished his career as the second-most prolific scorer in the Steve Schmidt era at Mott.

The first bit of good news following no. 6-ranked Mott’s upset loss to Oakland in the District 10 semifinals last week came Tuesday morning. Mott sophomore guard Malik Albert was named the MCCAA Eastern Conference’s Player of the Year. He was also named to the All-MCCAA and All-Region first teams.

Albert scored 31 points in his final game as a Bears and goes in the books as the second-most prolific scorer in the Steve Schmidt era (John Taylor). Albert averaged 25.4 points per game and leading Mott to a 25-6 record. Albert scored 30 or more points in 10 games this season.

He also improved as a passer in his sophomore season, averaging 4.5 assists per game.

Albert will also be remembered as one of the best athletes to ever play at Mott. For a program that has turned out some unbelievable athletes (Doug Anderson, Thomas Kennedy, Rashi Johnson, etc.), Albert can certainly hold his own.

As for the next step, Albert is weighing several options including Iowa State and Missouri. If your favorite team needs backcourt scoring, Albert can provide that and more.

All-Region XII Team 1st Team

Name Class School Hometown
G Malik Albert SO Mott Detroit, MI
G Ken Coates SO Lake Michigan Benton Harbor, MI
G Shaun Duncan SO Wayne County Detroit, MI
F Lee Gardner III SO Glen Oaks Kalamazoo, MI
F Angelo Griffis SO Glen Oaks Kalamazoo, MI
F Jevonte Hughes SO Kalamazoo Valley Kalamazoo, MI
G Darerraul Jackson SO Wayne County Detroit, MI
G Juwan Johnson FR Ancilla South Bend, IN
F Marques Pool SO St. Clair County Flint, MI
G DeMarkus Stuckey FR Grand Rapids Grand Rapids, MI
G/F Matthew VanDyk FR St. Clair County Imlay City, MI
F Jametrius Wade SO Oakland Lathrup Village, MI

BAY CITY, Michigan — This is as early as Mott has begun the offseason in quite some time. The no. 5-ranked Bears ran into an Oakland CC squad Thursday night that couldn’t miss from the perimeter and couldn’t be kept out of the lane.

Oakland, ranked no. 6 in the national poll, shrugged off a late Mott run to win, 90-87.

The Raiders advance to Saturday’s district final at Delta College and will play for the right to represent District 10 in the NJCAA National Tournament in Danville, Illinois. Mott had one last chance to tie the game with five seconds left, but Malik Albert’s triple try was long.

Mott actually led the game by four at the half. Oakland made seven of six of seven attempts from 3-point range in the half and wrestled the lead away from Mott after a 9-0 run that spanned both halves.

The game ultimately turned on Mott’s inability to stop penetration to the basket and its failure to close out on open shooters. The Bears led by as many as nine points in the first half but, as always, the Raiders seemed to answer right away. A 5-0 run to end the half and two quick baskets to start the second half erased, in full, Mott’s lead.

The Bears were inside of four points twice in the final three minutes, but could not get stops when they needed them. Ironically, this inability to make stops hadn’t been a problem for Mott in recent weeks after some early-season struggles on the defensive end. It came back to haunt them in a big way Thursday night.

Oakland (28-3) shot 60 percent from the field as a team as 44 percent from 3-point range. Richard Roberts led Oakland with 28 points including seven 3-pointers. Jemetrius Wade added 20 for the Raiders.

Albert led all scorers with 31 points with eight rebounds on 10 for 17 from the field. Albert had 16 points and five dunks in the first half.  Marcus Johnson and Ruston Hayward added 17 and 15 points, respectively.

Mott ends the season with a 25-6 record and without a trophy to put in the case. Certainly 25 wins would be a banner season for most programs, but for one with more banners than any other, it’s probably the worst season in a decade. For the first time since I’ve covered this program, this Mott team did not take on the character of its coach. The way Steve Schmidt coaches certainly won’t change, but I can guarantee his recruiting will.

In spite of a few games in the last couple weeks that seemed to indicate the Bears were turning a corner, this game brought back memories of Mott’s lack of urgency and intensity seen in their five regular season losses. My hunch is that next season’s squad will look more like the teams we remember, and not the performances fans are trying to forget.

Mott's Steve Schmidt coached his program to its 19th consecutive 25-win season on Tuesday night.

Mott’s Steve Schmidt coached his program to its 19th consecutive 25-win season on Tuesday night.

FLINT, Michigan — Mott’s opening game in the District 10 Tournament on Tuesday night seemed eerily familiar. The no. 5-ranked Bears punished Schoolcraft by 46 points at home just two weeks ago and, lo and behold, their first round opponent came back for more.

Same court. Same result.

Mott punished Schoolcraft 105-55 and will compete in the semifinals against rival Oakland CC at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday at Delta College.

The victory, the Bears’ sixth in a row, marks the 19th consecutive season that head coach Steve Schmidt has led Mott to at least 25 wins.

That’s not a misprint. It’s a statistic that is every bit as absurd as it is true. It speaks to the degree of dominance he has asserted in his career over junior college basketball. He has made a career out of making good teams look average and average teams look like Schoolcraft did tonight.

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