Archive for the ‘JUCO’ Category

schmidt-600

Mott Community College’s Hall of Fame head coach Steve Schmidt will start the 2014-15 season with no returning players for the first time in his 24-year career.

FLINT, Michigan — Firsts are hard to come by for Steve Schmidt, entering his 24th season as the head coach at Mott Community College in Flint. Just when he thought he’d survived every hardship, enjoyed every success and coached his way through every possible situation on and off the court, this: Schmidt will start the season next week without a single returning player.

Nada. Not one.

His team is unknown, undisciplined and unranked.

It’s dysfunction junction at Ballenger Fieldhouse heading into the 2014-15 campaign; that’s the bad news. Schmidt has already held four players out of practice in the preseason for rules violations. Schmidt says he’s exercising patience and embracing the dysfunction, staying positive about what will be his biggest challenge in many years.

“At the end of the day, you try to correct behavior early on and hope that (the players) learn from it,” he said. “If basketball is important to them, they will learn and become better people. We all make mistakes, but the real question is: how do we learn from them? As we sit here now, I’m comfortable with how we’ve handled things. No player is bigger than this program.”

Following a decent showing in a scrimmage versus Adrian College last week, Schmidt said he was encouraged by the words of Adrian’s coach, Mark White.

“He knew we were down some guys,” Schmidt said. “He told me, ‘whatever you do, don’t change. You’re good for kids.’”

So even when situations change and problems arise, what’s best for players is what’s best for the program. And Schmidt says that’s not going to change.

Schmidt is still smarting a bit over last season’s 25-6 season. The team was bounced out of the regional tournament in the semifinals due, in large part, to its inability to live up to the program’s defense-first identity. (Mott surrendered 90 points to rival Oakland.)

Fast forward eight months and the situation Schmidt finds himself in starting this season is one of his own making. He could have brought back as many as four players from last year’s team, but the standards of the program don’t change like roster spots and rankings.

“We had guys who had the chance to come back, but they didn’t handle their business academically,” he said. “My decision was made based on how committed they were academically, and they didn’t come through. From a basketball prospective, it would be nice to still have them here.; but, that’s not what we’re about. We don’t use kids here; we hold them accountable. I wish nothing but the best for those guys, but we have higher standards.”

All is not lost, however.

“What we lack in bodies,” Schmidt joked about his 11-man roster, “we make up for in immaturity and dysfunction.”

The Good News

Schmidt’s roster, while young, is brimming with talent.

The team will be led from the frontcourt by 6-8 forward Darryl LeVert (Pickerington, OH) and 6-6 Daryl Bigham (Detroit Southeastern). Levert, brother of University of Michigan standout Caris LeVert, is a finesse forward who transferred from Connors State in Oklahoma. He has really come into his own over the last year, and Schmidt is expecting big things.

“He could end up being one of the top players in the region,” Schmidt said. “He’s a reserved kid who leads by example and works hard. He doesn’t have much experience, but he will play as much as he can handle here. He’s one of the few guys who I feel has had a productive preseason in terms of academics, working hard in the classroom and in the gym.”

Bigham was one of the top players in the Detroit PSL as a senior, getting lots of attention from division one schools. He will set the bar for toughness on this team, filling an enforcer role Mott hasn’t had since the departure of Fred Mattison two years ago.

If starting lineups were constituted based solely on talent, joining LeVert and Bigham would be guards Justice Green (Flint Carman-Ainsworth), Joseph Stamps (Chicago Curie) and Amariontez Ivory-Thomas (Flint Beecher).

Stamps is arguably the most talented of the bunch, but Schmidt admits the former standout guard from Chicago Curie has had a tough time making the transition to college.

“We’ve had a lot of success with Chicago kids and Joe’s talented, but he’s missed some time,” he said. “It’s been a challenge. He has to understand that when you’re in our program, you have to defend. I’m being patient with him.”

Stamps played alongside All-American and current University of Kansas freshman Cliff Alexander. He has played in many big games in his career and aspects of his game will certainly garner comparisons to former Mott All-American John Taylor. It remains to be seen whether Stamps can play at that level.

Green is Mott’s best option at point guard. At a slinky 6-foot-1, Green cuts on a dime and is one of the quickest ballhandlers you’ll ever see. He has a slight build, but can play above the rim in transition.

Thomas will be Mott’s best perimeter shooter but, like Stamps, he will have to earn his minutes by taking defense a little more seriously.

Another intriguing prospect on this year’s roster is Rod Milton, a strong and athletic 6-3 guard from Worcester, MA. Milton had an excellent senior season at South High School but has not played organized ball in a year.

Finally, Schmidt had high praise of the play of his small, but deadly quick hometown guard Malik Young (Flint Southwestern). Young looked tremendous in the team’s most recent scrimmage.

“He’s fearless going to the basket,” Schmidt said. “He’s going to surprise some people.”

Mott will open the 2014-15 season at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night at home against Rochester College (JV).

Mott Community College 2014-15 Roster Screen Shot 2014-11-01 at 5.05.29 PM

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.

(more…)

Mott sophomore Malik Albert scored two of his 26 points on a ridiculous 360 dunk in the second half against Delta Wednesday night. (Gerry Leslie photo)

Mott sophomore Malik Albert scored two of his 26 points on a ridiculous 360 dunk in the second half against Delta Wednesday night. (Gerry Leslie photo)

FLINT, Michigan — No. 5-ranked Mott put an exclamation point on another impressive regular season on Wednesday night, running roughshod over Delta College, 87-60.

The Bears continue to play their best basketball of the season and at just the right time. The District 10 playoffs begin on Tuesday. The Bears have won five consecutive games by an average of 30 points per game. They will most likely host Schoolcraft on at 7:30 Tuesday night at the Steve Schmidt Gymnasium in Flint. The semifinals and finals will be held at Delta College in Bay City on Thursday and Saturday, respectively.

The District 10 tournament, at least by the numbers, is the toughest draw in the country at this level. Three of the top six teams in the national poll, Wayne County, Oakland CC and Mott, are in District 10.

Mott (24-5) led by 15 at the half and didn’t allow Delta (13-16) to get within 11 points in the second half. The Bears were led by sophomore Malik Albert, who scored 26 points with eight rebounds, four steals and three assists. He also had the play of the game in the second half, a ridiculous 360 dunk in transition (photo above).

Freshman Marcus Johnson scored 22 points and sophomore Jamal Reynolds added 19 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman Ruston Hayward, who must play well in the playoffs for Mott to have success, had a solid overall performance with 11 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals. Hayward is Mott’s only true frontline player, so he will need to play big for the Bears to advance to the national tournament.

Delta had been playing some very solid basketball over the last few weeks, winning five of their last seven games including a two-point loss to Oakland. Wednesday night the Pioneers ran into a buzzsaw. The Bears weren’t as polished as they had been over the last several games, but it didn’t matter. Albert was absolutely unstoppable going to the basket; he had his way with every defender he saw.

Austin Marine and Tre Johnson scored 12 points apiece for Delta. The Pioneers will travel to Port Huron Tuesday to take on St. Clair in their first round game.

Listen to Mott in the District 10 Tournament on the Michigan Regional Sports Network at MRSN.us.

Mott improves to 23-5 with blowout road win over Alpena

Posted: February 24, 2014 by Jared Field in College, JUCO, Mott

Mott made the long trip into the great white north on Monday night for a tilt against Alpena Community College. Mott hasn’t lost a game at Alpena since I’ve covered the program, but the drive can make the game a little more competitive than one might expect.

Not tonight, though.

The Bears improved their record to 23-5 with an impressive 91-53 win with seven players in double figures. Alpena was held to 21 points in the second half.

For the second consecutive game, Mott was led by sophomore guard Devin Foster. He turned in another double-double with 12 points and 11 assists. After the game, longtime Mott assistant Yusuf Harris said Foster may be the key to a successful playoff run for the team this year. Foster is a much better player than he’s shown this season, and hopefully we’ll see more evidence of this in the postseason. He is by far the team’s best point guard option if he continues to be aggressive and as teams key on Malik Albert.

Sophomore Myles Busby scored 12 points and pulled down a team-high 14 rebounds. Albert added 13 points and a season-high 13 rebounds. Sophomore Jamal Reynolds led Mott in scoring with 17 points and seven rebounds.

Mott will return to action at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at home versus Delta. The game will be broadcast live on the Michigan Regional Sports Network at MRSN.us. This is Mott’s final game of the regular season.