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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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.

No. 5-ranked Mott crushes Schoolcraft College, 115-67

Posted: February 22, 2014 by Jared Field in College, JUCO, Mott
Mott sophomore Devin Foster scored 20 points with 10 assists in a blowout win over Schoolcraft Saturday.

Mott sophomore Devin Foster scored 20 points with 10 assists in a blowout win over Schoolcraft Saturday. (Gerry Leslie photo)

FLINT, Michigan — It didn’t take long for no. 5-ranked Mott to assert its will over Schoolcraft College on Saturday afternoon in Flint. Mott, led by sophomore guard Devin Foster, improved its record to 22-5 in dominant fashion, 115-67.

Just four minutes into the game, a barrage of buckets had buried the Ocelets under a 17-2 run. Mott sophomore Malik Albert had 11 points in just over six minutes.

A rare 3-pointer from Mott’s 6-5 freshman Ruston Hayward put the Bears up 29-10 with 12 minutes left in the first half.  A dunk in transition by Albert led to a second timeout by Schoolcraft. The Bears kept up the pressure defensively and turned a few more giveaways into points, including a hammer dunk by Hayward to put the Bears up 39-13 midway through the half.

Two straight baskets, including a tip-dunk, by sophomore Jamal Reynolds, put Mott up 47-19 with seven minutes left in the half. Two straight 3-pointers from freshman guard Marcus Johnson cranked it up to 32. Johnson poured in 13 of his 20 points in the first half.

Mott head coach Steve Schmidt played every man on the roster in the half, and led 67-32 after the first 20 minutes.

The 67-point half was Mott’s best this season. The Bears shot 64 percent in the first half, made their first two shot attempts in the second.

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NJCAA

NJCAA | 2014

Mott sophomore Malik Albert.

Mott sophomore Malik Albert.

Malik Albert has done just about everything that Mott’s Mount Rushmore of players have done, save for one: and it’s the one that matters most to his coach.

“We’ve had players before win national awards, players like Kevin Tiggs, Jeremie Simmons and (most recently) John Taylor,” said Mott head coach Steve Schmidt after Albert was named the NJCAA’s National Player of the Week on Thursday. “Those guys have something that Malik doesn’t — a national championship ring. I’ve said that before. It’s not a knock on Malik, but it’s a true statement.”

Fortunately, Albert’s career is not yet over.

Schmidt said he was getting a little impatient, having nominated his star player for the award several times this season. His lead assistant, Carl Jones, joked that he should probably should have taken the hint.

“There was no way I was giving up,” Schmidt said, whose no. 5-ranked Bears are 21-5 this season. “Some people may think that I don’t go to bat for my players, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. I do more fighting for my players than most people would ever realize. Not only is this a great, well-deserved accomplishment for Malik, it’s also great for the team.”

Albert earned the honor not just for an excellent performance in a win over no. 8-ranked Oakland on Saturday, but for his body of work this season. The sophomore is averaging 25 points, 4.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game through 26 games.

He is the focal point of Mott’s offense; when opposing coaches scheme to stop one player, he is that one player. They haven’t had much success.

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