For the Mott haters: Setting the record straight

Posted: March 11, 2010 by Jared Field in College

There have been a few haters appearing on GLH (Murph, you know who you are) to chime in on a subject they know very little about: JUCO basketball. There’s a lot of jealousy out there, and I know this, with respect to Mott. In my opinion, it stems from Mott’s coverage in the media (here, The Flint Journal and the TV stations). They get a lot of airtime and ink and some coaches/players/fans don’t like it. Trust me, I wish every other JUCO got that kind of coverage. It’s good for the game.

I can remember covering Lansing, Mott’s longtime rival, on the road a couple years back. LCC’s coach expressed obvious chagrin that I had come all the way from Flint to cover the game and his hometown paper didn’t even send a reporter.  I understand his disappointment. He has built a really good program and his hometown paper won’t break away from its MSU lapdance to recognize it. But, here’s the point: Mott gets covered by me because I’m a Flint guy, first and foremost, and I respect the program. Mott gets covered by everyone else for the same reason Flint Powers gets the most coverage: They win. They win a lot.

Let’s look at Mott’s last 10 seasons. This, in my opinion, is what an elite program looks like:

2010 — MCCAA State Champions (26-4)
2009 — Conference Champions (29-5)
2008 — National Champions (35-2)
2007 — National Champions (35-3)
2006 — MCCAA State Champions (25-6)
2005 — MCCAA State Champions (30-3)
2004 — National Runner-up (31-5)
2003 — National Champions (28-9)
2002 — National 3rd Place (31-4)
2001 — National Runner-up (33-4)

That’s 303 wins for an average of 30.3 wins per season in the last decade. With 45 losses (4.5 per season) leaves a ridiculous .870 winning percentage. And, on top of that, they have won at least one championship (be it conference, state, region or national) every single season.

And yes, for the nearsighted fans who know very little about JUCO basketball, Mott has lost two heartbreakers in the regionals in the last two seasons; but, do you have any idea how hard it is to win a region? This year (for the first time since I’ve been covering JUCO basketball) two teams from Michigan get to go to nationals — one from the east and another from the west. Typically it’s only one. St. Clair’s coach, Dale Vos, started coaching there the same year ( I believe) as Coach Schmidt started at Mott. That was 19 years ago. Any idea how many times he’s gone? ONE. This year. It’s not easy. Every coach at this level has to replace half his roster every season. Get a clue.

  1. Ty Williams says:

    I agree. You make a good point. Do have any idea where the Mott Soph’s are going?

    By the way, what happened to the Stud from last years team? The guy who blocks all the shots? I think his names was Deandre Nealy?

    • Jared Field says:

      He will be at Kent State this season.

      Not sure on Mott’s sophs. I could see Oglesby at a low-level D-1 because of his size and athleticism. Lewis will probably land at a decent d-2.

  2. FlintStones says:

    Completely agree, Jared. The more you win, the more people jump on the bandwagon. You can hate on Mott and Powers as much as you want for getting coverage, but they are the team that is backing it up with championships year in and year out! Thanks for showing the track record of Mott past 10 seasons, didn’t realize they were THAT dominate…

  3. JucoJunkie says:

    Mott’s phenomenal success is why I follow them even though I live over an hour away. I grew up watching juco basketball in my hometown in Missouri and later in southeast Iowa. I was fortunate to see arguably the top two D-1 juco programs while I was there. Now that I’ve been in southeast Michigan for 13 years, I really enjoy and appreciate what Coach Schmidt has done at Mott. As Jared pointed out, the numbers are amazing and they have set a very high standard for the other schools to aim for.

  4. As someone who is a Flint guy, but hasn’t always followed JUCO ball, I give Jared credit for turning me on to it. My schedule doesn’t allow for me to get out as much as I would like to physically, but I follow where I can electronically. That said, the fact that the Mott program is this dominant is a big pat on the back for Coach Schmidt. I believe in his first year in 1994 (correct me if I’m wrong Jared) his team was led by Jeremy Trent and was not very good. In fact, my 16-year-old CANUSA team scrimmaged them and won. Prior to that year, it’s not even worth talking about how bad it was. So these last ten years has just been miraculous from the humble beginnings.

  5. waddmanjm says:

    A major point was Mott’s main rivals LCC and Schoolcraft were a D1 JUCOs even when they did not give room and board. There was a major difference on the blocks, size wise, D1 versus D2. This ended around 2003 when LCC became a D2 JUCO. Steve has done an outstanding job in recruiting and developing his players. Sending them to the next level is a given providing a player works, toes the line academically, and handles his business. Mott had an advantage but it was a working advantage. i.e. the players driving to Tulsa on their own to play in an exposure event. (Mullins event) Playing at the exposure events i.e the JUCO Shootout. I believe the NJCCA evened the playing field by eliminating the summer events however IMO it also eliminates a summer exposure period. I have always respected the work a coach puts into developing their program. I also understand that many programs suffer from school imposed rules that prohibit recruiting, fund raising and other issues necessary to program development.

  6. PJR says:

    Good Points! I for one love the Flint Journal’s Hotbed Hoops coverage of Flint Mott. But I agree wholeheartedly that it’s a shame that other area newspapers don’t do what the Flint Journal, and in fact the Flint TV stations, do per coverage of Flint Mott. They could really help develop a following that would be a win/win. Look at the fans that show up to the Mott vs HFCC games these last couple years. Now I can tell you I sent out beaucoup heads up to area newspapers about Henry Ford last year and this year, info to area sports editors for all the key games, and made mention of how many former high school area players where doing well on the team that would be of great interest to their readership, and yet nothing happened, well except one small article in the News Herald at the end of the year after HFCC won the district. Do know some area papers cover it a bit, like the Observer Eccentric with Schoolcraft CC and Jackson’s paper with Jackson CC. But generally statewide it’s pretty weak coverage. You gotta sift through a few local snippets or some Community College newspapers to find just a few tidbits out. Don’t know why the JuCo overlook! It’s really great basketball. And I say that having watched it off and on as life permitted since following Delta in the 70’s. I for one think the Flint Journal’s Mott coverage is great! No jealousy here, just kudos and wish some of the other area newspapers and TV news would get their act together! It’s actually kinda sad in a way the only time you can read some decent coverage on your area’s JuCo team is when they play Mott and you can get the Mott view at least from the Flint Journal!

  7. PJR says:

    And I agree with you about how hard it is to gather in the accolades, particularly given how good most of the MCCAA league is. Just take HFCC this year. They where last year’s District Champ, and had a nice team this year with lots of returners and some nice influx of talent due to last year. But end of the day, outside of they where ranked #1 during the year, they got nothing to hang their hat on. No state championship, no district title, even though this year’s distict, being split into two, was a lot easier than last years. Still not easy enough to repeat, even after beating now archrival Mott! WOW!

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