Mott flattens Marygrove JV squad, 110-57

Posted: December 30, 2015 by Jared Field in High School

FLINT, Michigan — For higher-level JUCO teams, games against JV squads are little more than scrimmages. At times, however, they are just what the doctor ordered.

Wednesday night’s tilt with Marygrove JV was a confidence boost for Mott, as the Bears ran roughshod over the Mustangs, 110-57.

Mott (8-5) held Marygrove to just one basket in the game’s first 18 minutes (1-27 from the field during that stretch). The Bears moved the ball better as a team than they have all season, despite playing without three key players including star guard Diandre Wilson. The freshman, Mott’s leading scorer, sat out for disciplinary reasons.

No matter. Mott had three players combine for 83 points. Freshman guard Cedric Moten led the way with 31. Sophomore guard Lorenzo Collier scored 28 and sophomore wing Jalen Adams 24.

Adams needed a breakout performance after getting on the wrong side of his coach, Steve Schmidt, in recent weeks. Adams had been dogging it a bit this season, and found himself out of the starting lineup. Adams, a D-1 transfer and former all-stater at Saginaw Arthur Hill, is a serious talent and it showed Wednesday night.

Collier, for his part, turned in his best performance of the season by far. He scored from all over the court — in transition (including a dunk), pull-ups in the lane and from the perimeter.

Moten did what he always does: run the floor and hit open shots.

The Bears led by 30 at the half and cruised to victory.

The team is poised to be a contender for the Eastern Conference championship this season, in spite of the lackluster start. Mott has three winnable road games in a row before taking on the favorite to win the East (Schoolcraft) on January 16.

The Bears return to action at 7:30 p.m. Monday night at Wayne County. Listen live all season at MRSN.us.

Mott stunned by no. 3-ranked Lansing in final minute

Posted: December 9, 2015 by Jared Field in High School

indexFLINT, Michigan — The game of the week in the MCCAA Wednesday night didn’t disappoint. The no. 3-ranked Stars, fresh off a win over no. 1-ranked Schoolcraft, needed a furious comeback in the game’s final two minutes to earn a 77-74 win.

The victory is Lansing’s second over Mott this season and the first home loss against Lansing since 2009. Lansing’s win over Mott last month was also by three points.

Lansing had not swept Mott in a season series since 2002.

“We just didn’t play well enough to win,” said Mott head coach Steve Schmidt. “We couldn’t overcome some obstacles; this team has to get a lot tougher.”

One of those obstacles, if the pointed words from Mott’s bench are any indication, was the free throw disparity in the game: 33-16 in favor of the Stars. Even so, it was the Bears’ lack of execution on the offensive end in the final minutes that cost them the game.

Mott (6-3), paced by freshman guard Diandre Wilson, led by a point at the half and by as many as 10 midway through the second half. Wilson scored from all over the court, leading all scorers with 28 points.

Once the Bears’ lead cracked double digits with 13 minutes left in the game, their overall play took a serious nosedive. In spite of several turnovers, a couple questionable calls and even more questionable shots, the Bears were still staked to a five point lead with two minutes left.

Two easy baskets for Lansing coupled with a terrible cross-court pass for a turnover and foul by Jalen Adams and the Bears’ lead was history. Mott only managed one basket, a putback off a desperation shot at the buzzer by Mitchell Rubio, in the final two minutes. Lansing went 6-for-6 from the foul line during that span.

Adams, a D-1 transfer from St. Bonaventure, had his worst game as a Bear Wednesday night. He scored eight points (two in the second half) and didn’t appear to be heavily invested in a positive outcome in the game.

Mott head coach Steve Schmidt, seething after a tough loss, went off script.

“We simply didn’t get enough out of Jalen Adams tonight,” he said. “I don’t typically call out players, but I don’t even like his body language.”

Just in terms of sheer talent, Adams probably should be Mott’s best offensive player. He’s a 6-foot-5 guard with all the physical tools. That he’s not their best is drawing the ire of his coach because, at least on the surface, it appears effort is all that’s standing in his way.

All signs pointed to this game being a banner win for the Bears. For the second time this season, Mott held Javon Haines to well below his average (29). Haines scored 12 points but only managed one basket thanks, in large part, to the play of freshman Cedric Moten and sophomore Lorenzo Collier.

This outcome is eerily similar to the first go around in Lansing (12-1). The Bears held Haines in check but simply couldn’t defend the post against Jimmy Kodet and Isaiah Green. The pair combined for 33 points. Mott, once again, made Kodet look like Dirk Nowitzki.

All is not lost, however. The Bears have taken the best JUCO team in the state to the wall now twice. They just need to learn how to finish.

Before the game, Schmidt echoed a familiar refrain: “This team will figure it out; this will be a good team.”

Six of Mott’s next seven games are on the road, including a bruiser against Muskegon on Saturday afternoon. The Bears’ next home game is December 30 against Marygrove College JV.

Listen to the Bears live on MRSN.us.

schmidt-600

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.

 

 

 

Mott sophomore Lorenzo Collier soars for a score in the second half against Triton. (Mike Tews photo)

Mott sophomore Lorenzo Collier soars for a score in the second half against Triton. (Mike Tews photo)

FLINT, Michigan — Two of the top junior college basketball programs in the Midwest locked horns on Friday night in Flint. Just as one might expect, it went down to the wire. The game featured seven ties and nine lead changes. It finished with an impressive win for the undefeated Bears, 73-67.

Mott, fresh off an important win over Muskegon on Wednesday night, didn’t play particularly well against a much bigger Triton squad. The Bears used their speed in the open court to score in transition and to get to the foul line, but easy baskets were nowhere to be found. These are two very good teams.

The game was tied at 34 at the half.

The turning point in the game came with 90 seconds left. After a 3-pointer by Triton’s Greg Carter cut Mott’s lead to six, Mott sophomore guard Jalen Adams buried a 3-pointer of his own on the ensuing possession as the shot clock expired. The teams traded baskets, free throws and timeouts the rest of the way.

The triple by Adams was the high water mark in an otherwise forgettable game for the 6-5 shooting guard. He scored 11 points on 3-for-14 from the field. He wasn’t alone, however, as the Bears shot just 33 percent from the field as a team.

For the second straight game, freshman Diandre Wilson led all scorers with 17 points and eight rebounds. Cedric Moten and Lorenzo Collier scored 12 and 10 points, respectively. Percell Washington led Triton (3-1) with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

The Bears (4-0) will return to action at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday night on the road against rival Lansing CC. If the Bears win against the Stars, they will almost certainly be ranked in the next NJCAA poll.

At the conclusion of the game, Triton head coach Steve Christiansen told Mott coach Steve Schmidt that he’d see him in Danville. Let’s hope he’s right.

Listen Mott basketball live all season at 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.

Mott's Malik Albert signed with Creighton University last month.

Mott’s Malik Albert signed with Creighton University last month.

Malik Albert, among the most electrifying athletes to ever come out of Mott Community College, resurfaced at Creighton University last month. Albert was off the radar after a year away from competitive basketball to work on his academic credentials.

Albert, a 6-2 combo guard from Detroit, is among the most prolific scorers during head coach Steve Schmidt’s tenure at Mott. Only Jeremie Simmons (Ohio State) scored more points in his career at Mott than Albert (1,248).

This week, Albert was profiled in the Omaha World-Herald (Omaha.com):

Albert is one of the 18 Division II junior college All-Americans who have played for Schmidt in his 24 seasons at Mott. Though the coach is proud of what Albert achieved on the court, Schmidt is even more impressed by what he did off it.

After two seasons at Mott, Albert had to sit out last season to finish up academic requirements for his associate degree.

“I’m very proud of him for persevering through the academic challenge,” Schmidt said. “He earned this opportunity. In this day and age, a lot of people cut corners and take shortcuts.

“Malik didn’t. He stayed the course and he earned his degree. That’s quite an accomplishment, given how challenged he was academically three years ago. It wasn’t because he didn’t have the capability but he didn’t take his academics seriously. I proud he’s now in a position to take the next step.”

It’s tough to call Albert an underachiever at Mott, based on his team’s winning percentage and his personal accolades. That said, Albert is a very rare athletic talent who just needed some more time to get his life together. I think anyone who watched him for two years at Mott would agree that his best basketball is ahead of him. He’s had the tools; add the desire and the sky’s the limit.

And if you’re curious, the reporter put Albert’s vertical jump at over 40 inches.

Former Flint Hamady standout and future Mott Bear, Jalen Fykes, throws down a tip slam in the first half on Friday night. Fykes also caught an alley oop on the game's first play. (Mike Tews photo)

Former Flint Hamady standout and future Mott Bear, Jalen Fykes, throws down a tip slam in the first half on Friday night. Fykes also caught an alley oop on the game’s first play. (Mike Tews photo)

FLINT, Michigan — Beecher’s all-state and state champion small forward Cedric Moten scored 24 points Friday night to lead the Black Team to victory in the 23rd annual Bruin Club Classic at Mott Community College, 116-114. The game featured 26 of the Flint area’s top graduated seniors coached by former Mott National Player of the Year, Kevin Tiggs, and former MSU standout Antonio Smith.

The packed house at the Steve Schmidt Gymnasium got their money’s worth — 230 points and double-digit dunks.

Moten did for the Black Team what he’d become known for at Beecher: he’s everywhere all at once. It’s easy to spot Moten at a moment’s notice — just find the ball.

For the Gold Team, Davison standout and future Lewis University big man Frank Vukaj was a beast offensively. He had several dunks and one impressive block on a clear out. He’s a rare bird for these parts — a skilled big man. He scored 28 points in a losing effort.

The game also featured two of the state’s highest flyers, Northwestern’s Rashad Johnson and Hamady’s Jalen Fykes. The latter actually climbed the ladder on the first possession of the game for a highlight dunk. Johnson, for his part, poured in 28 points to share game-high honors with Vukaj.

Johnson’s teammate from Northwestern, Deonte Hopkins, scored 20. Flint Southwestern’s top player, Neshua Wise, added 18. Beecher’s sharpshooter Sammy Toins scored 19 and Southwestern’s Quavon Trawick added 14.

Holly’s standout guard and future SVSU Cardinal Jake Daniels missed the game due to an illness.

Game MVPs

Black Team: Cedric Moten

Gold Team: Frank Vukaj

tezHere are the invitees for the 23rd Annual Mott Bruin Club Classic to be held Friday, June 26 at Mott Community College in Flint. This game will feature the Flint area’s top seniors. The teams will be coached by former Mott National Player of the Year Kevin Tiggs and former MSU forward Antonio Smith.

If your name is on this list, please send an e-mail to [email protected] to confirm your spot in the game. You can also confirm via direct message to @jaredfield1 on Twitter.

We also have a list of alternates for this game in case there are players who cannot attend.

Players should arrive no later than 7:30 p.m. on game day for an 8 p.m tip. 

Team GOLD
Sean Corcoran – Powers Catholic (Confirmed)
Jalen Fykes – Hamady (Confirmed)
Damon Harper – IAF (Confirmed)
Deonte Hopkins – Northwestern (Confirmed)
Tyrone Hunter – Powers Catholic (Confirmed)
Rashad Johnson – Northwestern
Daryl Jones – Northwestern (Confirmed)
Reyes Luna-Payne – IAF
Dennis Towns – Powers
Frank Vukaj – Davison (Confirmed)
Brandon Davis – Clio (Confirmed)
Elijah White – Hamady
Travis Rose – GCS (Confirmed)
Marquail Montgomery – Atherton (Confirmed)
Coach of the GOLD – Kevin Tiggs
Team BLACK
Tre’Von Avery – Grand Blanc (Confirmed)
Jake Daniels – Holly (Confirmed)
Bryce Jenkins – Kearsley
Josh Moore – SWA
Cedric Moten – Beecher (Confirmed)
Bryan Pollard – Grand Blanc (Confirmed)
Jake Schroer – Grand Blanc (Confirmed)
Juwan Evan – Carman-Ainsworth (Confirmed)
Sammy Toins – Beecher (Confirmed)
Quavon Trawick – SWA (Confirmed)
Cap Wilson – Goodrich (Confirmed)
Logan Mowry – GCS (Confirmed)
Neshua Wise – SWA (Confirmed)
Coach of the BLACK – Antonio Smith

 

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

Mott head coach Steve Schmidt.

In the not-too-distant past, Mott Community College was 5-0 and poised to prove the doubters, who didn’t think they could live up to the program’s reputation, wrong. Steve Schmidt’s team did not have a single returning player — one sophomore transfer and 10 freshmen. The team played its last game with seven players including two late-addition walk-ons.

He had talent, albeit unknown and unproven.

Three months later, with a roster decimated by self-inflicted injuries, the season came to an untimely end Tuesday night in Bay City: a 59-56 loss to Delta College in the opening round of the District 10 Tournament. His roster is now known and unproven.

My records don’t go back far enough to find out when the last time Mott wasn’t playing basketball on the tournament weekend. Suffice it to say, this never happens.

This was the team’s third loss to the Pioneers this season.

The Bears finished the season with a 16-12 record. This season snaps an incredible streak of 19 consecutive seasons of 25 or more wins. (Schmidt had 21 consecutive seasons of 20 or more wins.)

“This is just kind of fitting, how we ended the season,” Schmidt told MRSN’s Bill Schnorenberg after the game. “I had a kid quit prior to the game, our best player (Daryl Bigham). We have rules and standards: simple stuff. I hope these guys will learn that wherever you go in life, there are rules. You have to follow the rules.”

Another starter, Rod Milton, couldn’t follow the rules and sat in the stands.

Fitting, indeed: the four most-talented players on Schmidt’s roster starting the season, didn’t make it to season’s end. A couple didn’t make it to the quarter pole.

“This has probably been my most frustrating as a coach,” he said. “I’m proud to wear Mott on my shirt. I’m proud of what this program stands for … we just weren’t championship caliber. We’re going to have to work harder, but Mott will be back. We set the standard at the JUCO level, and I really believe that. We’re down, but not out.”

Schmidt said he takes full responsibility for his decision not to bring back any players from the 2013-14 team that finished 25-6 after a loss in the District 10 semifinals to Oakland almost a year ago to the day. I called that “probably the worst season in a decade.” I wasn’t exaggerating, based on the program’s unprecedented run of success. There’s little doubt that this is the worst season in Schmidt’s career. There’s even less doubt that Schmidt will circle the wagons, get back on the trail and re-focus on what made his program great in the first place

I will publish a complete post-mortem on the season in the coming weeks Until then, trust that this team (and this program) will look a lot different next season. The revival starts tomorrow morning.

Mott Community College had one job on Wednesday night: Beat Macomb and secure a home game in the first round of the MCCAA District 10 Tournament next Tuesday night.

The Bears, as they have all season, failed to play a complete game and ultimately fell to the Monarchs, 62-57. With the win, Macomb earns the fourth seed in the District 10 Tournament and will host Wayne County on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. The Bears earned the sixth seed and will travel to Delta Tuesday night to play the Pioneers at 7:30 p.m. Delta just this month completed a regular season sweep of the Bears for only the second time in school history.

Mott head coach Steve Schmidt was even more candid than normal after the game. He told MRSN’s Bill Schnorenberg that, in essence, what you see is what you get.

“I hoped to see the guys play with more passion and effort,” he said. “I hope they would really compete to give our fans another home game. We have great fans … I just have to come to the realization that this is who we are at this point.”

The Bears led by as many as nine points in the first half but could not push the lead to double digits. Mott still held the lead with three minutes left in the first half, but were taken to school from that point. The Monarchs went on a 20-4 run that spanned two halves. The Bears were held scoreless for nearly five minutes.

Mott (16-11) trailed by as many as 14 in the second half before sprinting out on a 10-3 run of their own to cut the lead to two. The Bears failed to take care of the ball and could not get any closer than down three points from that point.

Daryl Bigham led the Bears with 15 points and 13 rebounds, though he did most of his damage early on. Malik Young added 13 points. Mott sophomore Darryl LeVert drew his fourth foul early in the second half and was a non-factor for most of the game.

Mott’s game against Delta on Tuesday night can be heard live on MRSN.us starting at 7:30 p.m. The winner will move to the semifinals (also at Delta) to take on the winner of the Alpena-Oakland game.