Flint city basketball not recession-proof

Posted: February 10, 2011 by Jared Field in Citybeat, High School

Before I get anyone upset, let’s be clear about both my love of basketball in Flint over the years and, derived from that, my support of it.

I think, at this point, it’s fair to question whether basketball in the City of Flint has ever been lower than it is today. Meaningful games against good teams from outside of the area have gone from wins in the past to losses today. The competitive nature of city basketball appears lost.

Case in point is Flint Northern’s loss to Flint Powers tonight. The Vikings ended up losing by nine, which is respectable considering that Powers is among the top teams in the state. However, try this one for size:

Down 24-21 with two and a half minutes left in the first half Wednesday night, Northern’s guards held the ball in the backcourt. Boos cascaded down from the stands, and for good reason.

Did someone in Flint steal a playbook from Lapeer West? Are you kidding me? How can any coach demand aggression out of players when he’s the basketball equivalent of a conscientious objector?

Where has the fear factor gone? Why is it that suburban teams are no longer afraid to play city teams? Where’s the toughness, intimidation and aggression that was the stock-in-trade of the great city teams of the past?

So far this season I’ve seen a city team embarrassed by Fenton; another embarrassed by Carman-Ainsworth and neither had to leave the city limits for the pleasure. I’ve also see zones, lots of 2-3 zones … typically the least aggressive style of defense. And if you don’t don’t expect aggressiveness on the defensive end, how can you expect it on the offensive end.

It’s gut-check time for Flint basketball.

— By Jared Field | Great Lakes Hoops

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Comments
  1. Hoopsguru says:

    Two words pretty much sum it up – URBAN FLIGHT. It’s been happening across America now for 25 plus years. The main reason for it in Michigan is the auto industry moving out. The movie Roger and Me pretty much sums it up – and hey it was written, produced, and directed by a Flint area man in Michael Moore.

  2. Marcellus Miller says:

    While I agree with the overall tone and idea of this article, I think something is missing. The idea that Powers allowed Northern to hold the ball for those 2 minutes without coming out of its 2-3 zone (which they played at least half the game) has to speak to them as well right? As a coach, the strategy is sound. Both the starting PF and C had two early fouls and were on the bench for most of the 2nd quarter. The starting SG was coming off an injury. The starting SF had 1 foul trying to be protected from getting the 2nd and they were only down by 3 points. The idea was to hold it out top and force Powers to play in man-to-man. They chose to stay back and thus the “stalling” happened. In addition, I just want to point out that Powers is no suburban team, but rather a city team with a suburban name and in fact were a more athletic unit than Northern amongst the top 6 guys. City hoop is down (more to come on that soon), but had Northern won, no one would be questioning the move. In fact, Coach Tony Holliday used to emply that tactic all the time while coaching Mateen, Antonio, etc. and not a word was said. So, the results really drive the discussion in my mind.

    • Jared Field says:

      I’d let a team stall all game if I’m winning, which Powers was.

      Further, Northern beat Powers the last time they played. I cannot imagine why they would shy away from playing them aggressively.

      • Different personnel and different foul situations. So, if they lose another starter to fouls, then what? Espcially in a game where so many charges were called. You said also that you would let them stall the whole game, but wouldn’t that contradict the same argument that you need to do what you do at all times?

      • Jared Field says:

        I think the context that matters is who was winning. If no baskets are made the rest of the game, my team would win. I’d be OK with that.

  3. Marcellus Miller says:

    Oh yeah, and Syracuse won an NCAA title with a 2-3 zone…some are different than others…

  4. Spencer Trealout says:

    There is not one agressive minded coach within the Flint city limits (coaching boys anyway) Bush, Perry and Tucker all lack in that area. Northwestern has always been a running team and whenever the coach calls for them to slow down you can guarantee and L for the team.

  5. Something just to toss out there:

    Whether you liked the strategy or hated it, it did work in that instance. Northern held the ball the final two minutes, Powers was content to let them do that, and Northern got a basket at the buzzer to only trail by one at halftime.

  6. Freddie says:

    The problem is that we have people who aren’t very basketball minded coaching… instead they have great day jobs. Yes the kids aren’t as good, but neither are the coaches and coaches cannot develop athleticism, but they can develop fundamentals and I don’t think that the city is lacking athleticism.

  7. gregjohnson says:

    I realize the city talent is down from what all us Flint basketball fans are used to. At second glance though, is it really the players talent or lack of coaching talent? I would venture to say that the lack of coaching ability is a high percentage of the problem in the 3 city schools. You give any one of those teams to Mike Williams, Jeremy Trent, or Chris Belcher and you would see a world of difference in the results.

    • Jared Field says:

      I couldn’t agree more. And this critique that we share is not personal. It’s results-driven.

      Five years ago, had Northwestern lost to Flushing or Southwestern to Fenton, it would have been a statewide story. These days, it’s somewhat less surprising.

      • gregjohnson says:

        Not personal at all…all 3 are great guys. To some it’s just a job to others it’s a passion….those with passion most often make a difference.

    • You give those teams with the same issues to any one of them and there would be the same issues. Trouble with the law, death, ineligibility, lack of focus, lack of general respect for adults and the game, etc. But perhaps they are the greatest coaches and can change all that for the better. I respect them all, which is why I went to hear them speak…but I know better than to think it is that simple. Ask them…ask coach Williams what it was like to coach an undisciplined and less-talented girls team when he did. They weren’t winning by the way. Is Letitia Hughley now a worse coach because Northern girls are no longer winning? Or maybe it is her passion? Or maybe, just maybe, it is talent….

      • Jared Field says:

        With all due respect, I’m of the opinion (and I’m not alone on this), that Northern has had the most talent, certainly of the city schools, for the last five seasons at least. You could make an argument that they’ve had the most talent of any school in the county over that period. This is not simply a story of underachievement this season, in other words.

        The things that you describe happen at a lot of schools, and I’m not sure if Northern or Northwestern are unique in that regard. I mean, Mike Williams has built a program out of an ailing school district (one of the state’s poorest) all while losing many of his best players to other schools.

      • Marcellus Miller says:

        The most talent? Based on what? The last 2 years NW has had 3-4 guys in the top 10 in the area. What has Northern had? Potential? Please give me the criteria….production? Aau? What? The most all around player was Gerald and he was nothing to speak of for 3 years before coming to Northern and earning a scholarship. Again, what determines most talent?

      • Marcellus Miller says:

        If u believe that the amount of those things that happen is equivalent at each location, please by my bridge. There is a reason why insurance companies charge more in certain places and other things. But we can look through those rose-colored glasses if we want to. The results that u have spoken of speak for themselves.

  8. Jared Field says:

    I had a great coach tell me one time that in basketball, as in life, you’re either predator or prey. Which was Northern in this case?

    As a principle, you don’t want to do what your opposition wants you to do. I mean, it’s clear that Powers was perfectly comfortable with what was happening.

  9. EyePhoneNation says:

    Plain and simple when it comes to basketball Lansing is the new Flint

  10. The thing that is missing in the comparison of the coaching talent is this…competition. If I’m not mistaken, Grand Blanc is struggling in the KLAA (a conference MUCH weaker than the schedules that the city schools are playing). Is Chris Belcher a worse coach? Beecher is playing against decent out of conference talent, but the majority of their season is spent playing terrible teams. Swartz Creek is a mixture of both. So, what would happen if you put the city coaches out there? No one knows, just like vice versa. Can Tom Izzo be considered a worse coach because of this year or was he overrated and his players were responsible for making him look good and win all of those games? Does he have less passion now? Even further, passion cannot even began to be addressed unless you have spent time in practice with them or during their preparation time. It is not feasible and in fact ludicrous to think that passion can be judged without that.

    In addition, what about the games that they won or competed in versus seemingly better teams? Did the kids do that or the coaches? So, if the party responsible for the wins is such, are they not also responsible for the losses?

    Powers was comfortable letting them hold the ball because they feared playing man-to-man defense themselves with BETTER athletes on the floor. So, does that make the Powers’ coaches bad too? Jared wrote that “as a principle, you don’t want to do what your opposition wants you to do.” That makes sense, which is why Powers stayed back in their 2-3. They knew what Northern wanted was to take advantage of the perimeter quickness by forcing them into a man defense. Powers stayed true to their zone, Northern stayed true to trying to pull them out. It worked out for Northern in the end.

    The problem is not just talent, in fact that is the least of the problem. However, manyof the kids that play varsity now could not have sniffed the team 15 years ago. The problem is more to do with mentality. But in order to understand how that plays a part, you have to be in a situation regularly for you to see it. The facts are that the city schools deal with FAR more issues than their counterparts. If you don’t believe it, just spend a couple weeks following one school from each situation. Talk to the players and coaches at or after practice (as the coach allows of course), then make a sound judgement. Fans are fans and should express their opinions. However, fans need to realize that they actually KNOW very little about each situation so the opinions are just that. “Aren’t very basketball minded?” How can anyone say that without having talked to a coach? I heard a coach say, you play to win the game, period. You do what you have to do to put yourself in the best position. If you have key members in foul trouble, perhaps pressing the issue is not the smartest thing to do.

    SWA stayed in the game with the likes of Saginaw largely because they conceeded that they could not run with them but rather that their best chance was to shorten the game. Football teams do it all the time and we call it “ball control”. The greatest college coach of all time said it best when he said “Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.” And he also said this, a standard that all coaches should live by; “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

    I know that was long winded, but it rubs me the wrong way when people think they know about a coach or program and all they have been is a fan of it. I hope this doesn’t read defensively because it’s long, but rather shed some light on the “passion” of a coach.

    • Jared Field says:

      Again, Izzo is a bad comparison because he consistently wins. Northern hasn’t been “the old Northern” in a long time. But, it’s not for lack of talent. The talent has certainly been there. I mean, last year Northern had bench player going to tryouts and making JUCO rosters. It’s not a talent deficit; it has to be something else. The biggest issue at Northern. in my opinion, has been a lack of discipline. Is that about the kids? The parents (or lack thereof)? Or the coaches? I’m certainly they all factor in.

      There’s no doubt that Coach Belcher would be the first one to say he’s disappointed in how his team has played thus far. I’m frankly shocked by it. Do I think he’s a good coach? Certainly. I’ve seen him win with some pretty average teams. And you know how critical I’ve been of Carman-Ainsworth. They’ve squandered so much talent there in the last four years, it’s basically ridiculous.

      Trent, who was mentioned, made a winning program out of a laughingstock … and at a school that’s more city than suburb. So, is my natural inclination to believe that he could coach SWA to a win over Fenton? Certainly. He beat Fenton with a roster full of guys who probably wouldn’t even make the team at a city school.

      For me, it’s a matter of what you get out of what you have. And lately, I know you would agree, the city schools haven’t been getting much. Suffice it to say, I believe the decline in the quality of basketball in Flint has a lot to do with a lack of discipline, and a tragically low set of expectations. I think those two things are as big a part of coaching as X’s and O’s.

      And sure, this whole thing may seem emotional to you … and it probably is. I fell in love with Flint basketball during one of its many heydays, and it’s sad to see what has happened to it.

      • SC Fan says:

        And Trent wasn’t afraid to try and attack Powers with the best he had. It made a good game for 3 quarters, until overall talent and athleticism took over. Jeremy Trent would make a winner out of any city school.

      • gregjohnson says:

        My sentiments exactly. Well said!

    • gregjohnson says:

      Your too connected and to emotional to the situation. When you step back and see the progressive decline, it’s a different outlook. I’m not saying the coaches don’t mean well or have the right desires and intentions, I just don’t think they’re capable of the task at hand.

  11. JT says:

    FliCity Basketball is horrible. Who is NW headcoach, hard to tell?! Northern should be much better, perhaps they suffer from too much AAU ball, and not enough individual time in gym getting better. But they should be the best team in city, and a threat to go deep in playoffs…but are not. And, frankly I dont think SWA is very good but they play with effort…juss a lack of talent. Its my opinion that Flint hoops was as good as it was as a result of folks from the south migrating here to work for GM, and thus bringing waves of young talent that was here for years. Of all the great players in Flint history, i bet many of their parents or grandparents moved here to work. And while some of the talent has gone to the suburban schools, or Powers…how many players is that really, 1 or 2. The talent just isnt here for the most part, and as the population continues to decrease…the talent level will get worst, save a few that will come out of nowhere!!!

  12. Marcellus Miller says:

    Its funny you all mention emotions…my connection to basketball in the city has been extensive but my posts have nothing to do with that. You all are missing the point. Fans stay in a fan’s place, coaches in theirs. The good thing about me is I have coached on both sides, city and suburbs. But it is what it is. Everyone here is entitled to their opinion. But any judgement on my emotions is frivilous. My emotion is tied to the kids only. Northern just happens to be the school where the kids are. Frankly, it sounds like you all are emotionally tied to some mentioned…but there is nothing wrong with that. Enjoy what you all do…be fanatics….

  13. Marcellus Miller says:

    I will say that Northern definitely has the most talent walking the halls.

  14. gregjohnson says:

    Thanks MM. Just an opinion, but a pretty sound opinion that has resonated through the city and out into the “Burbs”. Everybody is talking about it with all the same basic thoughts and opinions.

  15. Flitetime says:

    I attended the Flint Northern- Powers game and that was poor coaching and a very stupid call, to hold the ball while trailing! What was Northerns coach thinking? What was Powers motivation to come out of there zone defense! I would have done exactly what Powers did, that being sit back with the lead, get some rest, not commiting any fouls and take the halftime lead into the lockeroom! There really needs to be some coaching changes made in Flint for sure!!!!!!

  16. Flitetime says:

    I came out of a era where coaches taught fundamentals, now you see seniors and jrs. whom are left handed and can’t make a right hand layup and vice versa! That would have never been accepted with coaches like Mose Lacy, Grover Kirkland, Stan Goach ect. The current coaches need to get back to the basics or Flint will loose the good hoops reputation that we have always had!!!!!

    • Jared Field says:

      Let’s try to put this one to bed.

      — Everyone has an opinion for why Flint basketball continues to struggle. Like I said before, it would be foolish to explain it away by simply blaming the coaches. I’ve made the mistake before, and it’s not fair.

      — We also know that it is possible, based on very visible examples, to find success even in the midst of prohibitive factors like are found in many city schools.

      — Further, it is fair to point at that we don’t really know what goes on behind the scenes. We don’t know the situations involving players, parents, administrators, etc. Who would want a city job in 2011? I wouldn’t. Behavioral issues are out of control and far too many athletes don’t care about getting an education. Like Marcellus said, it would take an extraordinary coach to get a handle on all that. Is there a coach in this county capable of turning it around? We don’t really know.

      — Finally, I know what kind of coach Marcellus is. I know what he stands for not because of what he says, but because of what he lives. Would things be different if all these coaches were in the building? Perhaps. It can’t hurt.

  17. G Mill says:

    Very interesting comments all the way up and down this topic. Everyone has some valid points and some off base.. I played in Flint basketball in the early 90’s and seen some of these same coahes we r calling so great squander some good teams with nothing to show . Even then they were not ALL teaching fundamentals but a key difference was DEFINITELY talent AND commitment and desire! If northern has been the best talented team in the last 5 years ,Flint is in EXTREME trouble!! I have even spoken and mentored players from there, seen where there head and skill level was, and worked with them and EVERY time it left much to be desired!! Jerry Sloan could take over Northern’s team right now and he would Ask D Will to let him come back!! Its so far past coaches! True coaches are DEFINITELY lacking and I know Jeremy Trent personally from our playin days and yes I feel he could help a city school but dont expect a state title!!..lol These kids’ environment is sooo far away from discipline which is essential in Bball that i dont know if it can recover honestly! These kids dont have structure or desire and talent alone means NOTHIN!! Think of some of the most talented players EVER out of Flint who NEVER reached potential,… the best talent in flint didnt have long NBA careers… Glen Rice, trent tucker, Jeff Grayer, Mo Pete, no they were not the MOST talented players in flint but they had the intangibles. Dont get me wrong they were and r EXTREMELY talented and deserved all they got but talk to them and they will even tell u they were not the best player they ever saw in Flint. All that being said I pray Flint gets it together. I have since left Flint and I see that desire from kids I used to see in Flint in other places and I see these kids producing. Its the talent, the desire, the coaches, the parents, the teachers, school administrators, the mayor, Hey even GM!! lol All the excuses and opinions we can all give, how many of us our trying to do our part to help change it??

  18. SO WHAT says:

    flint is not gonna be good again until each of the city schools do what these quotes say:

    Ultimately a basketball team decides its own destiny. (Quit worrying about the other teams and start worrying about the team u got)

    Heart = the willingness to take risks to improve, even in the face of potential failure; the courage to go all out and discover your capability at the moment. Having the freedom to lose, learn from it and forge ahead, playing with fearlessness and tenacity and audacity; being bold as you look at your opponents and dare them to match your intensity. (Always go at any team u play no matter who it is.Even if your friend was playing for the other team)

    Confidence = one who lays it all on the line; has the courage to risk, to suffer, and to feel fear.(Don’t let the fear of failure stop u.Failure leads to success)

    We only win when we are able to handle loss. We must tolerate and accept failure, then we can relax, learn, and forge ahead. This is truly the success of defeat.

    All athletes experience a drop in confidence from time to time. How can you possibly have confidence in something you cannot control?
    NOW, let’s focus on something you can control.:
    Thoughts are things, like fatigue is a thing, like self-talk is a thing, like positive self-talk is a thing, like fear or pain are things.
    Deal with negative mind chatter by acknowledging that it’s happening and deciding to deal with it later, after the competition is over.
    The words an athlete uses internally and externally are the seeds of future realities, a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your words create your world, your reality, so use them wisely.

    Hard work, diligent effort, and commitment to high standards are all pathways to winning. Used in conjunction with one another they pave a roadway to victory.

    There are only two types of athletes, those who have failed and those that will.

    We can’t avoid failure, for we need to take risks in order to improve. Only in an environment such as this is there freedom to fail.
    If we have the courage for risk and the compassion for failure we have created success.
    All skills are perfected through the process of failure.
    Embrace failure as a necessary part of improvement.

    That sounds just like the old flint.Until Flint gets that pride back then their not gonna be anything.Until they stay focused and take every game serious,they’re not gonna be anything.Until they quit talking about how many points their friends hit the other night and worry about their own games,then flint isn’t gonna be anything.And flint still does have lots of talent!

  19. SO WHAT says:

    o and carman just upsetted powers.Now thats what im talking about.Carman didn’t let that last game that they played each other get their confidence down.They failed,learned from their mistakes and kept it going.And that led to their win against powers

  20. WEH says:

    Yes but, Flint SWA just lost to Midland High by 11…. that’s unheard of. The question to me is nothing to do with the coaches… but I just don’t think a lot of the players have the same passion and desire to win games as they used to. You’re only as strong as your weakest link.

  21. HoopsGuru says:

    The KLAA is not that much of a weak conference to be honest, Teams might seem weak because they are not city schools and unknown schools. Brighton, and Pinckney are really good teams and well coached. No they don’t have Top players in the state but they are good. So yes Grand Blanc has struggled in the league this year but i wouldn’t say its talent wise or coaching. Chris Belcher and assistant Scottie Wright are very good coaches and Grand Blanc has potential to be really good. I seen them play CA 1st game of the year and got beating badly but came back at their home and played them again and played a great game and beat CA. And i believe they can go the distance in districts, they have Swartz Creek first and it should be a great game and well coached with Belcher and Trent, also in the district is Ortonville-Brandon, Holly, Fenton, and Clarkston.

  22. RealHoopsFan says:

    I really dont like posting comments especially to people who don’t know what they’re talking about. Every city school has problems, it may or may not be coaching. Who’s really to say. I know all of you are experts out there. But keep reading, most city school players cant meet the 2.0 pt requirement to play. If they cant do school work how can they run a play. If they dont have the dicipline in the classroom how do you get it on the court. comparing other programs to the inner cityis like comparing apples and oranges. It’s alright to be a fan of those coaches but none of them have won the big one unless i’m missing something. Just blame the coaches its all their fault. They go to classes they run the plays they make the free throws the coaches do all of that. Let me tell all of you experts one thing, Basketball in Flint is down but its not on the coaches its on the players, the people walking the hallways and the people telling them that they’re better than they are. Yea post when the last time a major D1 program has been here recruiting one of Northern kids because I know all of you fans know they are D1 players. Where are the McDonald’s all americans. Are they at Swartz Creek, or Grand Blc. Havent seen Izzo there. People wake up, the basketball is down the football is down because the athletes are down.

    • Jared Field says:

      I’m not inclined to believe that the failure to do school work has anything to do with intelligence. It’s really about application. The kids who apply themselves in the classroom should be rewarded for it. Honestly, I learned a lot from watching how Chris Matheson at International Academy handled his personnel. I can’t tell you how many times he suspended players before big games because they weren’t living up to his expectations, even if they were meeting the school’s minimum requirements. That’s the kind of mentality that can change things.

      Truly, if players don’t have discipline in the classroom, they shouldn’t have the opportunity to be disciplined on the court. They shouldn’t be playing. Like Marcellus always says, this is a privilege.

      Further, I think simply blaming the players is every bit as foolish as blaming the coaches. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I think it’s worth looking into how Mike Williams has had so much success at what is, for all intents and purposes, a city school. For many years, people considered Beecher to actually be worse off than any school in the city with regard to academics and behavioral issues.

      It just sounds like a lot of excuses to me. I don’t know too many high school coaches who wouldn’t love to have a talented kid like Eric Long coming off the bench, or a tough-minded and intelligent kid like Marcus Forward. Or are starting lineup with two of the top 10 sophomores in the state alongside a 4-year varsity guard, a great rebounder (Dalvin David) and a 6-7 kid with some wing skill.

      You can say that bad behavior and lack of dedication are the biggest problems in the city, but don’t call it a lack of talent. All the city schools have talented kids, and a lot of them. In my opinion, Northern has had the most talent wandering the halls and, for whatever reason, they haven’t been able to put it together. There’s a lot of blame to go around, but at the end of the day I’d rather see kids who understand the importance of accountability ultimately graduate than anything else. Chris Matheson lost way more games than he won, but he was one hell of an example to his players. He wouldn’t allow himself to make excuses, so you can imagine how he felt about his players making them.

      Like I said before, it’s gut-check time for many of these kids. Time to be accountable, even if it has to be forced upon them.

  23. RealHoopsFan says:

    Furthermore I would like to say that all, the coaches in the city really work hard dealing with the problems that these student athletes have.

  24. G Mill says:

    RealHoopsFan … Im glad you know what you are talking about.. Some intelligent comments… So much more than most people think. I can tell you have been around Flint basketball a long time

  25. SO WHAT says:

    its on the kids and coaches to fix this problem.those quotes that i listed above are keys to becoming successful in life and on the court.The kids are the ones that are on the court and its the kids that decide who will win or lose the games.The coaches are just there to guide them,but the kids are on the floor.KIDS its on you on how you do in life and its on you on how well you do on the court.Don’t blame anyone else but yourselves.If you have a problem with the coaches you can either quit,talk to him,or just shut the fuck up and play ball.Its your decision.Whether you succeed or not is all on you.When you’re trying to chase sumthing big,then there is always a setback or wall that u have to climb over.Thats called a life challenge and the question is are you up for it?(that goes for coaches and players)

  26. RealHoopsFan says:

    Jared I’m sorry this is for you. Where did you come from, man do you have this twisted. Look at who was on rosters at the begining of the season and who is playing now. How many kids have came up short at Swartz Creek or Grand Blc for one reason or another. Those coaches that you praise all the time have done nothing and i mean nothing as far as the state goes. Have they played a Saginaw or Country Day ever. Im sure that NW, SWA, and Northern would have better records if the scheduled Swartz Creek and Grand Blanc, man get a clue, NW and Northern plays one of the hardest schedules in this area. Swartz Creek , Grand Blc, Beecher play in cup cake leagues, and will always play in cup cake leagues. Let any of those coaches come and deal with what these coaches deal with and im sure they would not fare as well. You mentioned two tenth graders really Saginaw Valley really post in two years and see if Izzo is here recruiting them . Very good tenth graders but not very good Sr. or Jr. They play against high major or mid major players almost every night. How many D1 or D2 player do Swartz Creek or Grand Blc play in a season. See I was hear when every flint school had high major players on it and several pro’s. You cant blame the high school coaches on that not being the case now. Blame AAU because they have more pull or say so than the High School coaches. Or just put the blame where it goes great players make great coaches not great coaches. Why do you think the colleges cheat to get the best players. Come on people basketball, football , track, girls basketball its all down in this area, are all the coaches bad. Please learn something about athletics before you slam people without cause. And trust me Im no fan of any of the coaches not any but the athletes have to start looking in the mirror. And by the way when I was at the game the other day I didn’t see that Eric kid on Northern Bench. And let me say one more thing Hawkins was the best player in the gym and the D1 coaches agree with me on that. And by the way transferred from the best coach in the area Mike Williams and one of the best programs to hear you tell it. Its alright to speak up for your friends but you shouldn’t bash other people in the mean time. Because I say again no-one has done anything in this area in a long time. You have some hard working coaches in the area and they do alot for these children who need a coach, father figure, mother teacher the whole deal. Please wake up people smell the coffee its brewing.

    • Jared Field says:

      If you apply your standard to coaching in this area, then we only have one GREAT basketball coach: Tim Herman. He’s the only one who has won a state title. The other left the area when Central closed.

      Meanwhile, we have a small group of coaches who have taken bad programs and made winners out of them: Mike Williams (who will play anybody), Jeremy Trent (who scheduled Powers and Carman-Ainsworth), Lance Baylis (who did schedule DCD). To say that they’ve done nothing is simply not true. They’ve won conference titles almost every season in the last few. Heck, Williams has won regional titles and made it to the final four on a couple occasions. Look at the condition of the programs at Beecher, Creek and Holly before those guys took over. How could you diminish what those guys have done?

      Your standards for measuring coaches are as ridiculous as your standards for measuring players. Apparently Izzo has to be recruiting them before you can call them talented. If, in 2011, we require high-major players to have great programs, we will never have great programs again.

      What could anybody in the city have to say about Beecher? Those guys have played Consortium, BV, Northern and Northwestern. Heck, they were beating Northern (without Burks) when the game was called and they beat Northwestern straight up.

      And what league would you have Beecher play in?

  27. RealHoopsFan says:

    And furthermore Jared who is recruiting those kids you mentioned, are you the only one that thinks Fisher is a good player or David is a good reboumder because i say again who is recruiting them did you see some of the big college coaches at the games you where at. Because I haven’t seen any at any of the games that i’ve been at. Just saying maybe you know more than what your saying has Izzo contacted you, about these players. Im just saying becuase like i said been around the game a long time. Wilson C-A, Watts C-A, Hawkins (P) Lucus-Perry(P) McGee NW, Parks NW, Man Man (B) best players in area, and not all of them getting high major looks, please tell us something we don’t know.

    • Jared Field says:

      How many high-major basketball players did Rory Mattar have when he took Flint C-A to the state title game in consecutive years? Zero. In truth, he didn’t even have a legitimate D-1 player. I guess I just disagree with your premise.

  28. forcoachsolLacy says:

    Jared just to let u know, in the five years before coach Williams was hired as the varsity coach beecher had lost in the championship game twice. Once in 2000 vs OLSM class B and in 2003 ( class c). So he had a foundation to work. I don’t know where u got ur information from but the lacy brothers have always had a good basketball program.

  29. forcoachsolLacy says:

    Gray graduated in 2004. Williams took over in 2005. Two years after being in the championship game. That’s far from taking over a down program.

  30. RealHoopsFan says:

    Man i just cant take it anymore dont you know these flint schools start fresh almost every year. Coach Williams at beecher has done a good job, but great i dont think so. Swartz Creek and Grand Blanc just ok. Man they don’t have d-1,or d-2 players, and those coaches have been there long enough to have one since there great coaches. Dont you get it players make coaches not the other way around. And to correct you CA had a couple of d-1, and d-2 players on that team. Wake up your choice of coaches are mid-level at best, you are making judgement because thier your friends. Basketball is in trouble in flint and the surrounding area not because of the coaches. They don’t lace them up the players do. And Swartz Creek, Grand Blanc where are those kids going to school. Because those great coaches should have devoloped a D-1 prospect by now. Keep it real they don’t have one because they don’t have the inner city black athlete in thier program. Nor do they have all the problems that come with them. Keep it real and wake up.

  31. forcoachsolLacy says:

    Not exactly, Williams was the Jv coach for two years before he got the varsity job he had to play with the kids he taught. I’ve been waiting for someone to make this point. A varsity coach is only as good as his supporting coaches; little league coaches, aau coaches and 7 and 8 grade coaches. They should teach fundamentals and discipline. Beecher has that now and has always had that. The current teams nucleus has been playing and winning together for a long time, way before they met Williams. A varsity coach doesn’t get a player ready to play varsity. Coach Williams is a great manager. He manages egos and personalities. That’s what separates him from coach bush or coach tucker. Those guys aren’t bad coaches they just don’t have the supporting cast nor the management skills of the more successful coaches

  32. RealHoopsFan says:

    Very interesting statements but maybe true, glad to see someone else with a clue about basketball, Because its clear that Jerad is trying to pub up his buddies. But at the end of March I don’t think any of the teams we’ve been talking about will be in the finals. And if they are it means the players stepped up , and not the coaches. LOL.

    • Jared Field says:

      I totally understand where you are coming from. Coaches just roll the balls out at practice time and bear no responsibility for how a team performs. Sounds like a recipe for winning.

  33. forcoachsolLacy says:

    I’m sure that coach Williams will have his team there in the end. He is a good coach. Jared is a good guy he isn’t trying to pub his friends. His friends are good coaches I just need him to see that success is more than just good coaching by one person but that its a project fulfilled by many and cap off by someone who can see the big picture and manage it. Fenton’ s success isn’t an accident those kids have been preparing for that for at least 6 years. Flint’s problem is that FA has not been properly kept up to standard. The FA coaches now don’t compare to the guys of the 90’s.

    • Jared Field says:

      I think you make a good point about kids being prepared from the bottom up. That being said, you cannot deny that certain coaches have taken over the reins of bad programs and made a huge difference in a short period of time. Less talented teams can win with more effort.

      • forcoachsolLacy says:

        My point was that beecher was not a bad program. coach trent has performed a miracle in SC. SC was the door mat of the big nine for years. He built a program from the ground up. Beecher had a program in place and Williams understood how to manage it. He has the best 7th grade team in the state right now at the middle school. Two or three of those guys will be ready to play on the varsity as freshman. Williams will have to fine tune and polish those guys up but most of the work is being done right now by the supporting coaches. thats how u build a program.

  34. RealHoopsFan says:

    It’s funny that you mention FA, because i know Tucker, coached a FA team that produced Jaquan Hart, Corey Santee, Matt Trannon, Kelvin Torbert, and several others. Never hurd him trying to take credit for the talent of those guys. And mind you I think those guys that went to Northern made it to the final fourt. Several d-1, players off that team, that started when they were 10 yrs, old. But let me say this, I don’t think Tucker was the major factor in who these players became but a factor. I’m asking who are the coaches now giving thier time now.

    • forcoachsolLacy says:

      I didn’t say that the aau coach should take all the credit. I was simply says that every coach has there part in making a good program. Im glad u put that fact out there for us all. Yes Tucker was their coach and actual coach now FA just has dads coaching, good people but not good coaches. Jared wanted to know what’s wrong with the city basketball. It’s easy to just blame the three city coaches. The problem is bigger than just them. The system has broken down. Kids get to the varsity level not fundamentally sound. The varsity coach didnt have to show Eric turner how to make a left hand lay or how to run a two on one fast brake. He was given developed players so he had the opportunity to install different man to man defenses and aggressive traps. Nobody on northern’s team today would have made the 1995 team. So the biggest problem isnt the coach it is the path of development of the player. Coach holiday is a great coach ten times better than tucker but u can only do so much in the 10 hours a week a coach gets. Would he have them better? Yes but he couldn’t get them to the dominant level the we all want. If we wanna fix flint basketball it starts with fixing the entire system not just plugging in a different head coach.

  35. […] negativity there is surrounding Flint basketball right now, it’s time to put it aside. There are a lot of talented kids in the Flint area. […]

  36. Chris Matheson says:

    Rich Maclavish did wonders with KT and Trannon–that guy really knows basketball and is a great developer of talent.

  37. RealHoopsFan says:

    ForCoach: you make some very good points, I think that Holiday, Kirkland, Gooch, Root(Early), Fisher were all great coahes in thier time. BUT THIS IS A MUCH DIFFERENT TIME, AND TODAYS PLAYERS WOULD BRING DIFFERENT RESULTS. But, we can debate on serveral different topics all day, im just tired of the coaches getting bashed by people who have never coached played or lived in the inner city, And if you think about it, it would be foolish to think that thier thoughts are valid. P.S. one very good point that you made was Beecher is a community not a school. They start with good people starting with the little leagues that they run from birth. And most people who live in Beecher stay in Beecher and thier children stay. So they have a very good foundation. Please people give credit where credit is do, most coaches good or bad wouldn’t last very long in the inner city, because it is very challanging.

  38. RealHoopsFan says:

    Chris, I’m not going to say anything but what in the world are you talking about. I know for a fact that KT, Trannon, started playing AAU, with FA, Mr. Nolden from Martin elementary school started Kevin Green at the time, playing. Rich came along and broke up the FA team because he wanted to surround his average son around gifted black kids. Matt started playing with Mr. Munerlyn at 10; So get your facts straight. Those guys could play when he stole them from FA. But let me remind you that they may have beat that FA team once. Furthermore Trannon and KT left Rich to play with the Mustangs. See once your for sale you are always for sale. So get it right Rich can only take credit for Christopher McLavish his son whom he groomed from birth. But its good for you guys to keep reaching for that great coach , that you want so bad. You guys are funny, I want so bad to have a coach that i love to but can’t stand any of them. lol

    • Jared Field says:

      Chris McClavish was not an average player. Further, I commend any dad who wants to give his son the opportunity to play with the best.

      Everything with you is a broad absolute: Rich can’t take credit for KT because he didn’t work with him from birth; players can’t be considered talented unless they are being recruited by Izzo; coaches aren’t anything unless they’ve won a state championship.

  39. Chris Matheson says:

    First, Chris McClavish was far from an ordinary player by any objective viewpoint. At worst he was a D-2 scholarship player, but we need to keep in mind that he played as a freshman as South Alabama–a lower-level D-1. Second, I know that Rich McClavish rubs many people the wrong way, but one characteristic of a mature mind is that it is capable of giving credit where credit is due regardless of how you feel about the person. I am fairly confident that if you asked KT or Matthew about Rich’s impact on their individual development they would both speak in the affirmative. My cousin corresponds with KT and I know that he has always been complimentary of Rich. However, I am, of course, not giving all the credit to Rich for their achievements, but to attempt to negate the role he played in their development is foolish at best.

    This topic of the state of basketball in Flint really touched a nerve with many people, which just goes to show how passionate this town is about high school basketball. This passion is why our city has built such a great reputation over the years for producing such great talent AND great teams. There is no doubt that there has been a slow and gradual decline in the quantity and perhaps quality of talent since the mid-80s. In fact, Marcellus made an interesting point when he asked how many of today’s starters were capable of starting on many of the teams of the past. In fact, I think Marcellus actually questioned how many of them would have made the team 15 years ago–Marcellus, if I have that wrong I apologize, I am just too lazy to go back through all these posts and check. Nonetheless, that is an interesting question and I believe Marcellus is on to something with that train of thought. Moreover, not only have we seen a decline in talent in the city, but we have also witnessed a slow erosion of respect for adults in our city. These factors, combined with an increase in talent in our metro area, the transient nature of our city and student-athletes (think the high number of transfers we see on a yearly basis, the influx of students into CA and GB, etc) brings us to the current state of affairs.

    I don’t subscribe to the belief that all of the problems facing basketball in the city of Flint can be fixed by simply changing coaching staffs. Coaches in our city face unbelievable problems on a daily basis. Many of the student-athletes they serve live life in survival mode each and every day of their respective lives. It is crazy to think that these problems facing them will not rear their heads or be manifested in their actions on the playing field. Put simply, coaches in Flint face everyday challenges that simply do not exist for the most part in our suburbs. However, that is not to say that coaching in the suburbs is any less laudable than the city. Coaches, wherever they may coach, are severely underpaid and severely under appreciated. All coaches are continually second-guessed (especially in our city) and most every male in the stands believe they know more than the person on the bench calling the shots. Think about this discussion: how many people on here have ripped somebody all the while hiding behind a pseudonym? Such is the life coaches choose. Coach Schmidt said it best: “It is a whole different ball game when you are the one calling the time outs.” Moreover, coaches in the suburbs experience different challenges that are probably just as daunting, to them, as the challenges experienced by their city counterparts. Nevertheless, I think most reasonable minds would agree that there is significantly less room for error when coaching urban–be they white or black–student-athletes. With all that said, I do believe the individual coach at a school can make a significant difference in the success, on and off the court, of student-athletes, but they are not the sole answer to the problem. If coaches develop high standards, work to create buy-in from staff and administration, parents, families, and the student-athletes, and stick to their guns, then I believe they are on the right track. Unfortunately, in our city, there are so many hangers-on whispering in kids’ ears that many coaches work their respective tails off for nothing.

    If we are looking for a solution, the first person to talk to IS Coach Mike Williams at Beecher. He has done wonders despite all the challenges he has faced over the past few years. Admittedly, Beecher is a bit different in that it is a unique community unto itself and there is a HUGE sense of community pride in this area. Nonetheless, he is achieving success in a very challenging urban setting and he is to be commended for his hard work. Yes, he did inherit a great program and an established tradition, but he has kept it going (after a couple of rough years) and that is what we are really talking about, isn’t it? One could argue that all coaches in our city have inherited once strong and very proud programs.

    It would be interesting to discuss how the advent of travel basketball fits into this discussion. I would argue that it helped level the playing field between the city and the suburbs. Whatever we discuss next, I hope that we are able to have a civil discourse on a topic we all feel passionately about. Knocking one another, name calling, and hiding behind pseudonyms while doing so will do little to fix any problem. Perhaps I am overly optimistic, but I do believe that all coaches enter the profession with good intentions and that the vast majority expend a great deal of energy in working to make their student-athletes better on, and off, the court. To those of you doing so, keep up the good work and do not let the negativity get to you–you are making a difference. The two greatest things a man can be called are father and coach.

    • Jared Field says:

      Well written.

      We really need our best and brightest working in the inner city. And trust me, I know it can be a great sacrifice.

    • Very good post…I have been quiet for a while on this mostly because of the course it was taking. However, with this post I can respond in kind. I truly believe you touched on one of the biggest keys in the decline, that is, the loss of respect for authority, especially male authority, in the youth today. That alone counts for a huge reason why boys think they are men before they learn how to truly take care of themselves and the importance of hard work. Why is this? Mostly, in my opinion, from the lack of significant positive males around. I once had one of my former players tell me that I was the only male role model he has. That is both a compliment and it is truly sad at the same time. To turn this around, every man needs to respect each other; from the stands, on the court, in the streets, wherever. You would not believe some of the things people have told me were said in the crowd (frankly, I am too focused on the kids to hear them myself). Respect begats respect. If we want respect from the youth, we must teach them. If you are not getting enough playing time, work harder! There was an interesting article on Justus Thigpen Sr. He was a man who never made a high school basketball team, yet went on to become the FIRST Flint player in the NBA. That’s someone who never let disappointment, trials, tribulations, defeats, or anything else stop them. These days, the answer is to transfer…but the hard work comes with respect for the game…and that is still the key, RESPECT!

  40. RealHoopsFan says:

    For the most part very true words, for the most part. Im not going to bash your choice for good players or good coaches. As a father as a positive person i would never had let my child play for RM. Period I witnessed first hand the negitive person that he is. And you guys may call it passion but what ever floats your boat.. MW has done a very good job, but his job is very different from the other inner city coaches. I dont think any of the inner city coaches are the best coach out there. But i will say they may be the best person for what they have to deal with. How stressfull is it to try and win ball games while wondering if the phone call you will receive in the middle of the night is bad and i mean bad news. How stressfull is it to hear from your AD that your starting power foward didnt make the grades. How stressfull is it to have a different team almost every game for whatever the reason. So you guys not all of you but some can bash, talk about , talk smack in the stands but until you walk in their shoes and know what they go through be carefull how you judge. And guess what they may not win as many games as the fans want them to but i do think they are saving lives every day.

  41. Skywalker says:

    An average Goodrich team by 26 over SWA last night. Actually heard Goodrich won the Freshmen and JV games as well. If anything makes the point of Flint basketball not what it once was, this is it.

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