Archive for the ‘Mott’ Category

No. 14-ranked Mott scores victory over Wayne County, 73-58

Posted: January 7, 2015 by Jared Field in JUCO, Mott
Mott freshman Justice Green scores two of his game-high 17 points Wednesday night in a win over Wayne County. (Gerry Leslie photo)

Mott freshman Justice Green scores two of his game-high 17 points Wednesday night in a win over Wayne County. (Gerry Leslie photo)

FLINT, Michigan — No Bigham, no big deal.

No. 14-ranked Mott scored a huge 73-58 victory over Wayne County Wednesday night despite losing the services of their best forward, Darryl Bigham, to suspension. Bigham had to sit out after earning a flagrant (2) foul in the overtime loss to Owens on December 29 (he also sat out Mott’s road win over Alpena Monday night). Mott dressed eight players. Wayne County dressed 17.

The teams went back and forth in a first half that produced four ties and 20 (not a typo) lead changes. The Bears led by a single point at the half despite a mere two points out of 6-7 sophomore forward Darryl LeVert. LeVert struggled all game to get position in the post against Wayne’s stronger, more physical frontline.

The stage was set for high drama in the second half, but it never came to fruition. After a brief battle, Mott scored 25 of the game’s next 36 points to extend their lead to double-figures. The Bears led by as many as 17 in the half and cruised to victory.

Freshman point guard Justice Green turned in an excellent all-around performance for Mott with 17 points, six assists and three steals. His did his best John Taylor impression, scoring on some very low-percentage shots in the lane. Rod Milton added 12 points and five rebounds. LeVert and Tommie Johnson added 10 apiece.

Ashton Curd led Wayne with 15 points. The Wildcats fall to 8-5 on the season, but are still considered among the top teams in the MCCAA Eastern Conference.

Mott improves to 10-3 on the season ahead of Saturday’s showdown on the road against Oakland.

Under the circumstances, this was a huge win for the Bears. Without Bigham, this was a textbook trap game for the Bears. Kudos to head coach Steve Schmidt and his staff for having this team ready to play. It’s still early, but this team truly controls its own destiny in the MCCAA Eastern Conference. A win on Saturday would go a long way toward getting this program back in the championship conversation.

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 freshman Rod Milton

Mott freshman Rod Milton

FLINT, Michigan — Rod Milton picked a great time to turn in his best performance of the season. The Mott Community College Bears (7-2), still smarting over a tough loss on the road Wednesday night to archrival Lansing, leaned heavily on Milton and pulled out a victory over Lakeland, 82-75.

Milton, a high-flying freshman forward, led Mott with 23 points and 10 rebounds. He was instrumental in leading the Bears to a 17-point lead early in the second half. As it turned out, the Bears needed the extra cushion against the resilient Lakers.

Midway through the second half, Lakeland (5-3) embarked on a 14-2 to bring the game back into striking distance. The Bears’ lead was cut to just five before Milton and freshman Tommie Johnson sparked an 8-2 run to put Mott back up double digits.

The Bears played most of the game without 6-7 sophomore Darryl LeVert, who drew his third foul just 10 minutes into the first half and his fourth with just seven minutes gone by in the second. He finished with just two points.

Mott’s point guard Justice Green hit some crucial free throws down the stretch to keep the Lakers at bay. Green finished with 11 points, three rebounds, six assists and six steals. Three other Bears added 11 points apiece: Johnson, Malik Young and Daryl Bigham.

Mott actually shot its way out of Lakeland’s zone early in the game, and didn’t have many issues breaking their press throughtut the game. The Bears weren’t in lockdown mode defensively, but they made enough plays on that end of the floor to hold on. The last time the Bears played Lakeland was in the semifinals of the national tournament back in 2012. The Bears won that game by nine and went on to finish the season with a 35-1 record and a national championship.

Mott head coach Steve Schmidt only dressed eight players in the game, for the second time this season. Mott was without freshmen Tez Thomas, Joe Stamps and Ray Ray Lewis. The playing status of those players will be updated in the coming days.

Coach Schmidt penned an open letter to fans in Saturday’s game program, thanking them for their support through what has been a very difficult season.

“As you have watched this season progress,” the letter read, “I am sure you have noticed the changes in our roster from game to game. We have all new players this season, and with that expected some growing pains. The one thing I have stressed throughout my career is accountability on and off the court. We want our players to be successful in the classroom, and work toward earning a degree. We are not going to change.”

Schmidt freely admits that this season, even at this early juncture, has been among the most trying of his long career.

Mott still has two games left in its brutal December schedule. The Bears will play a strong Kalamazoo Valley squad on the road Wednesday night before finishing out the calendar year on December 30 versus Owens.

MCCAA Standings

Eastern Conference
School MCCAA Overall GB Home Away Neutral Streak
Schoolcraft 0-0 .000 9-2 .818 5-1 4-0 0-1 Won 2
Mott 0-0 .000 7-2 .778 7-0 0-2 0-0 Won 1
Oakland 0-0 .000 5-2 .714 2-0 1-0 2-2 Won 1
Henry Ford 0-0 .000 5-3 .625 3-0 2-2 0-1 Won 3
Macomb 0-0 .000 6-4 .600 4-1 1-1 1-2 Lost 1
St. Clair County 0-0 .000 6-4 .600 4-2 2-1 0-1 Lost 1
Delta 0-0 .000 6-5 .545 3-3 3-2 0-0 Lost 2
Wayne County 0-0 .000 4-4 .500 1-1 2-2 1-1 Won 1
Alpena 0-0 .000 2-3 .400 0-0 1-1 1-2 Won 1
Western Conference
School MCCAA Overall GB Home Away Neutral Streak
Muskegon 0-0 .000 8-2 .800 3-0 4-2 1-0 Won 4
Grand Rapids 0-0 .000 6-2 .750 4-0 2-2 0-0 Won 1
Lake Michigan 0-0 .000 8-3 .727 3-3 5-0 0-0 Won 1
Glen Oaks 0-0 .000 5-2 .714 5-0 0-2 0-0 Won 1
Ancilla 0-0 .000 7-4 .636 6-1 1-2 0-1 Won 1
Lansing 0-0 .000 5-4 .556 4-1 1-3 0-0 Won 3
Jackson 0-0 .000 5-5 .500 4-1 1-4 0-0 Won 1
Kalamazoo Valley 0-0 .000 5-7 .417 2-3 2-2 1-2 Won 1
Kellogg 0-0 .000 3-6 .333 0-0 1-5 2-1 Won 1
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

tez

Future Mott Bear Tez Thomas scores three of his game-high 26 points.

Flushing's Alec Myers drives to the basket for two in the first half Thursday night.

Flushing’s Alec Myers drives to the basket for two in the first half Thursday night.

The Flint area’s top seniors took to the court Thursday night for the 22nd annual Bruin Club Classic All-Star game at Ballenger Fieldhouse. Unlike in recent years, the game was exciting and highly-competitive. The crowd was among the largest in the game’s history.

Four future Mott players participated, the most since I’ve been covering the game.

Former Flint Beecher standout Tez Thomas gave Mott fans an eyeful, showing off his inside-outside game. He led all scorers with 26 points en route to game MVP honors for the Gold Team.

Malik Young (Southwestern) and Cam Morse (Carman-Ainsworth) scored 20 apiece for the Black Team.

Marquavian Stephens (Swartz Creek) and Ray Ray Lewis (Southwestern) added 17 and 16 points, respectively, for the Black Team.

The most intriguing prospect in the game was future Mott point guard Justice Green. The former Powers and Carman-Ainsworth standout is one of the most fluid and athletic point guards I’ve seen at the high school level. He’s a better prospect than Morse, though with a much slighter build.

The winning coach in the game was former Mott All-American Kevin Tiggs. The 6-4 small forward is now playing professionally in Australia.

The play of the game was an alley-oop from Swartz Creek’s Torandis Mack to Green late in the second half.

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).