CITYBEAT: “Not so Fli”-City Regular Season Wrap-up and Playoff Preview

Posted: March 5, 2010 by Marcellus Miller in Citybeat, High School

In a city sometimes affectionately known as the “Fli-City”, the basketball scene has certainly been less than that over the course of the regular season.  However, I can say with great confidence that there will be one city team representing the state in the regional round of the MHSAA playoffs after next Friday’s district championship games.  One out of three isn’t bad, right?

Well, it is for Flint.  Every year I look at the district pairings and wonder why they are paired the way they are.  Yes, I know location has something to do with it, but clearly it is not the distinguishing factor in all cases. 

The worst case scenario is in Saginaw as usual.  Three of the top teams in the Saginaw Valley (Saginaw High, Saginaw Arthur Hill, Saginaw Heritage) all see each other there, with the High and the Hill having to battle before the final.  It just doesn’t seem right that a couple of the better teams in the state will be gone from the playoffs within a few days of the start.  Contrast that with the district at Midland Dow which has SVL bottom dwellers Midland High, Midland Dow, Bay City Western, and Bay City Central in the district with SVL default co-champ, Mt. Pleasant.  Not to mention that they only have five teams total instead of six like most others.  One of those Saginaw teams couldn’t have made the trip to Midland?  At least the regional would have had the opportunity for a Heritage-Hill, or High-Hill, or High-Heritage battle. 

In Flint, our only two city class A teams must meet in the district final to advance to the regional.  The Lansing Eastern district could have some complaints as well.  There has to be a better way to do the district pairings, I do know that.  Anyone for seeding?

As for Flint basketball this year, it may be as bad as it has been overall in quite some time.  Southwestern has all of the heart in the world, but not much production outside of its three guards (Jojuan Graham, Chuck McLaurin, and Josh Young).  They finished well under .500 for the year.  But Graham has proved that he is a big-time scorer and if they can get contributions inside from Kendric Roberts and Marquez Pool, their district semifinal game against Powers or Goodrich could be interesting.  Well, for about two quarters at least, but stranger things have happened.  Powers is not great defensively and Graham may have 40 in that one. 

Flint’s best team in Northwestern came out firing on all cylinders and looked like world beaters until reality set in a bit.  This is a good team when their big three (Travon Mitchell, Deandre Parks, and Jaylen Magee) are producing in droves; however, Mitchell is having a down year scoring and there is no inside game to speak of as well.  There were some rumors of team turmoil due to some selfishness issues as well over the course of the year.  The team hit its lowest point in the Beecher game when they allowed a freshman PG (Monte Morris) lead his team back from 18 down in the 4th for the win.  This team has the ability to make it to the semifinals and this year, they won’t even see Clarkston until then should they make it. 

The middle team in the city of Flint fits that bill perfectly.  Northern is a Jekyll and Hyde team that you are never sure what to expect from and their record of 11-9 proves that.  You never knew literally who would be playing in their games (only three players played in every one).  They had only two returning players to blend in with nine newbies, including two freshmen.  Their most telling statistic?  22 of 130 from the 3-point arc (and many people on here thought Kalin Lucas couldn’t shoot)!!  That is 16.92% for those who were wondering.  That is how you lose nine games while still outscoring your opponents in the paint by nearly 10 points a game!  Unlike the other two teams, they had a big tandem (Shaquille Smith and Gerald Williams-Taylor), while finding that 3rd piece was a challenge all year.  However, they do have the talent to get by NW in the district final and then likely Mt. Pleasant (who only beat them by 2 during the season despite playing without Smith) in the region first game.  The question remains of which team actually shows up. 

Anyone can see the city has been lees than “fly” this year, but in the playoffs, everyone starts with a record of 0-0 so you just never know…

— Marcellus C. Miller

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Comments
  1. prepfan says:

    I really thought with one school closing city basketball would make a step up, sorry to say I was wrong!! The city teams took a step back overall. Northwestern still was a good team and Northern had a boat load of talent. Southwestern took a large step back. I know this time of year some wild things might just happen. just do not bet on them.

  2. Hoopsguru says:

    Interestting comments you make about the District at Midland Dow – i.e. MP and the 4 SVL “bottom dwellers”. Those 4 SVL bottom dwellers have one thing in common – THEY ARE THE ONLY TEAMS IN THE SVL THIS YEAR WITHOUT TRANSFERS. With that being said, I like the fact that they are together. Only thing that would be better would be to trade MP with one of the NON SVL teams in the Saginaw District! The transfer situation really needs to be dealt with!

    • Well, getting transfers from a school that was .500 last year and closed and best player is now at Mott ommunity College is not what most would call a big advantage I believe…so some transferring is a necessary thing. That said, I also do believe it is out of control myself…

    • sag101 says:

      Why?…honestly answer that question for me befor I make an assumption….Because those teams that play in Midland are terrible. So that district could have Clio, Flushing or Owosso. Than in the Saginaw District you would have #1 AH, #2 Heritage, #3 MP, #4 SH…Hmmmm wats the difference between these teams than the other?…one is starts with T…and its not transfers…its Talent and the other quiet frankly is the players on the teams….Saginaw High or Da Hill wins it every year…lets be honest, you would love your idea becasue it allows the terrible teams to win a weak district…All I believe the arthur of the coloum is saying, is that these districts should be more evenly scheduled..Oh yea and the transfers is not an issue because no team from midland or bay city can beat a saginaw nor flint team. Arthur hill transfer is from saginaw high who played JV last year whom is averaging 2 pts per game. Who transferd because he moved to the other side of town so he had to goto the Hill…..Most importantly the main players for AH, SH, FN are not transfers.

      • PJR says:

        It’s easy to get a good team if you illegally recruit and stack all the area’s talent on one team. But it’s cheat to beat, not to be respected. High school teams aren’t suppose to be run like summer travel all star teams. But sadly that’s where the deals are made for corrupt coaching to get these transfers to stack a team, claiming no direct involvement, but gladly accepted with a wink and a nod. Coaches with an ounce of character would send them back to the school they came from, or not put them on the team. A year or so of all coaching doing that and the problem is solved. Or at least have the MHSAA have a one year sitout, period, no excuses. That’ll put a stop to the abuse! Illegal recruiting and stacking is the only reason these same teams are good year in and year out, not local talent being better. But for every school that recruits 5-6 top talents, there’s 5-6 schools that lose the local talent they needs as core to be competitive. Just take the PSL. Everyone touts it as a great league. But FACTS are it’s great only at the top, because the coaching is so corrupt the Detnews will write up “meatmarket” articles on yearly recruiting, complete with fliers and offers. Guys routinely bounce from team to team year to year depending on summer travel ball deals and lineup prospects. That’s great for the top 1/3 teams that win the recruiting wars, but the bottom 2/3s of the teams stink, truly stink. Most PSL games are over in the first four minutes, with the final score blowout proportions. No parity, no rivalry, terrible league! This isn’t the kids, it’s the weak egoed adults as coaching/ADs/Admin! And it kills high school basketball!

  3. greg johnson says:

    I’m all for seeding the tournament. Somebody please convince the MHSAA of that!

    • Hoops24 says:

      seedings would be ideal, though will never happen with the current financial problems in the schools. (further travel = more $$$$)

      • Even if they could seed the teams by region, you could save on travel that way and still reward teams for having a good season.

      • greg johnson says:

        That’s just an excuse, invalid in my opinion. Teams are traveling more often and further to play games now more than ever. Even if you seeded you would seed by region. Teams had the option for the first time to play districts at home sites based on a draw instead of traveling to the same site possibly 3 times in the same week. Less than 10% of all teams in the state chose that option. Money is not a valid excuse for not seeding. It would generate more money for the MHSAA and the hosting site with seeding. Say a team like Goodrich, who would travel well. If they were to get beat Monday. It’s one and done and you lose that fan base for 2 or 3 more games. You could give that example all over the state besides the hype and fan base grows the deeper teams go in the tournament.

      • PJR says:

        Seeding will never happen unless it’s doen within geographical district only. High School basketball is getting more corrupt, but for the 80% who follow the rules the local rivalries are the most important. That’s why the Mega broke up. No interest at all in Wyandotte vs Highland Park, but packed gym for Wyandotte vs Taylor Truman, or Southgate, etc., etc., etc.. Many of the districts still have most teams that don’t recruit, so have rivalry basketball that are more important than the Regionals, where wins ebb and flow with natural talent in the local population and the coaching’s development of that talent. In the Regionals you start to see the illegally stacked teams show up ala coaching and clinger hoops fans who don’t mind cheat to beat and cling to winner no matter how illegally they got there, the 20%. But let’s not be putting Saginaw Arthur Hill and Saginaw in separate districts via statewide seeding just because they illegally recruit talent for a playoff run. That’s absurd!!

  4. Coach says:

    Yea if they are not playing good defense he might wound up with 40 and im lookin foward to seeing him vs Sanders

  5. Williford says:

    I don’t believe SWA had any transfers coming in.

  6. Williford says:

    Yeah, Ricky Dent was the main one. I’m not exactly sure as to what the other one was. Gerald Williams, Chaz Johnson, Don Lewis, and Cam LeFear all started out at SWA. Then went to Central. Then to Northern.

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