Archive for December, 2011

FLINT, Michigan — Lake Michigan College passed the eyeball test on Thursday night: they looked really good in warm-ups. After the opening tip, however, it was a Dick Vitale special — mismatch city.

No. 1 Mott improved to 11-0 on the season with a 92-64 win over LMC, a team that came into the game with a 6-5 record and one of the MCCAA’s top prospects, sophomore small forward Tim Bates.

This game was over just minutes after it started. The Bears scored on their first six possessions of the game and led 15-0 before the Indians knew what hit them. With three minutes to go in the half, Mott led 43-14. Mott’s superior depth was evident in the half, as every player that suited up played in the first 10 minutes.

The play of the game came early on when Mott freshman Ralph Eason posterized LMC’s Romero Gordon. It was ugly. Eason absolutely explodes to the basket, and I’m certain Gordon didn’t think he could jump like that.

The Bears were led by sophomore guard John Taylor’s 20 points. Eason added 16 points and nine rebounds.

Mott will hit the road on Wednesday for its first game of 2012 at Alpena, a team that has won all four of its home games this season.

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Citybeat: A whole new type of coaching pressure

Posted: December 27, 2011 by Jared Field in Citybeat

I know the first column of the new basketball season is normally a city basketball season preview and I will get to that, but right now there is so much more weighing heavier on my mind.

Coaching….yes, coaching.

I am not talking “new” city coaches Lamont Torbert (NW) and Garner Pleasant (Northern). Nor am I speaking of Nate Brown (SWA girls), Jeff Whitely (NW girls), or Shalana Taylor (Northern girls). What has really got my mind moving is a number of old coaches that is making it incredibly more difficult to be a coach in this day and age. I am talking about Jerry Sandusky, Bernie Fine, Robert Dodd, and Graham James.

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No.1 Mott downs archrival Lansing, 89-62

Posted: December 20, 2011 by Jared Field in JUCO

The no. 1-ranked Mott Community College Bears are now 10-0 after Monday night’s win over a struggling Lansing squad, 89-62. The win is Mott’s second this season over its archrival.

The Bears, quite clearly, are starting to come into their own. Early in the season, Mott survived a few scares to good teams including Grand Rapids and Jackson; entering the holiday break, however, this looks like a team that’s very deserving of its position atop the national poll.

Against Lansing, Mott was led by Chicago freshman Kory Billups, who scored a season-high 26 points with eight rebounds. I don’t think a lot of people know what Mott has in Billups, but soon they’ll know. Billups was a big-time player at Crane Tech, the same high school that produced NBA guard Sherron Collins. Billups actually led his high school team to a supersectional in Illinois last March for the first time since Collins did it in 2005.

Mott will return to action on December 29th, at home versus Lake Michigan CC.

No. 1 Mott survives scare versus upset-minded Owens

Posted: December 14, 2011 by Jared Field in JUCO

FLINT, Michigan — We finally have an answer to the question many Mott fans have been pondering through the first quarter of the season: Can the Bears win big games when their star player struggles? The not-so-easy answer is yes.

The no. 1-ranked Bears survived a major scare against Owens, a team many consider to be among the best in the region, winning 74-70 Wednesday night.

The win was Mott’s second this season over Owens, coached by former Mott and University of Toledo assistant Dave Clarke. The first time around, Mott ran away from Owens on the strength of sophomore guard John Taylor. This time around, Taylor (and his 29 points per game average) was stymied by the Express. Taylor was in single digits for most of the game before scoring eight points in crunch time to help secure the win for the unbeaten Bears.

The problem, for Owens, is clearly depth. The Express have two of the top players in the region in 6-7 forward James Kelly and former Albion standout Justin Edmonds. This two-headed monster has been running roughshod over the competition so far this season, but their team’s obvious lack of a true point guard is magnified against powerful teams like Mott.The pair combined for 36 points. Kelly is about as good a big man as their is at this level. He’s a thoroughbred athlete with a surprising skillset. Edmonds, for his part, has added a great deal of strength to his game since high school.

Mott led by nine points at the half and appeared to be on their way to another lopsided victory before the Express heated up from the perimeter. Taronta Cole’s only basket of the game was a big one for Owens in the second half, cutting Mott’s lead to four. He only attempted two shots in the game, but scoring wasn’t the reason for his 30 minutes on the floor. His job was to stop John Taylor, and he did quite well at that for most of the game.

Taylor still led Mott with 19 points, but the player of the game for the Bears was freshman Ralph Eason. Mott’s high-rising combo guard scored 14 points with five rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals. He’s slowly turning into Mott’s most reliable all-around player. He’s a more offensively-talented version of former Mott guard TJ Cameron. Mott’s only other player in double-figures was sophomore point guard Darryl “Boo” Marshall. He scored 11 points, all in the first half.

It was great to see Coach Schmidt going head-to-head with Clarke. I’m certain his early success at Owens is a point of pride for Schmidt.

Mott is now 9-0 on the season and preparing for Monday night’s showdown on the road versus archrival Lansing.

Demetrius Miller, former all-conference guard at Mott Community College, has helped lead Metro State to the top of the NCAA Division II national poll.

Metro State (Denver, Colorado) is now 9-0 on the season. Miller, a junior, has started eight of nine games, leads the team in assists and is averaging more than 12 points per game. Miller, Metro’s point guard, is also second on the team in minutes played.

No. 1 Mott blows out Jackson on the road, 87-60

Posted: December 7, 2011 by Jared Field in High School

Call this one a signature early-season win for the no. 1-ranked Mott Community College Bears. Mott played its fourth game in six days on Wednesday night on the road against Jackson. The Jets, arguably the top team in the MCCAA Western Conference, gave Mott its most competitive game of the season last month in Flint; but, what a difference a month makes.

After a miserable first half, the Bears (8-0) ran roughshod over Jackson in the second half en route to a  87-60 win.

The Bears outrebounded the Jets by nearly a 2-to-1 margin in the second half leading to a 37-5 run over 15 minutes. The Bears have a propensity to score in this way, having started Monday’s game against LCC with a 30-2 run. Mott held Jackson scoreless for nearly six minutes in the second half, sparked by a great defensive effort from newcomers Kory Billups and Kortez Ross.

John Taylor scored 24 points for Mott. Taylor has led Mott in scoring in all of its eight games this season. Walter Davis also chipped in with 11 rebounds.

“We are really pleased with this effort,” said Mott head coach, Steve Schmidt. “Our guys are battle-tested early. What a group of warriors. I’m really proud of them.”

Mott fans can listen to games live on MRSN.us all season. Check them out.

Steve Schmidt and the Mott Bears, fresh off their blowout victory over archrival Lansing on Monday night, are now alone atop the latest NJCAA national poll.

This is the first week of boys’ basketball in the Flint area, so it’s fresh in my mind. In Flint, the glory days of old are gone. In fact, we’re even quite a distance from the renaissance marked by the emergence of the Flintstones. High School basketball isn’t what it used to be in Flint, and that’s hard to dispute.

But, by God, we’ve still got Mott.

To be honest, Mott’s basketball program is our only hard-wire connection to the basketball greatness of years gone by in Flint. This program is a powerhouse at the JUCO level and is the sole reason I can still call Flint the Basketball City.

The Bears, led by Steve Schmidt, are 7-0 and alone atop the latest NJCAA II poll. Sophomore guard John Taylor continues to lead the nation in scoring at 30 points per game.

Mott travels to Jackson to take on the Jets tonight.

Top 10 National Poll

1 Mott Community College

2 South Suburban College

3 Lakeland Community College

4 Kirkwood Community College

5 John Wood Community College

6 Southeast Community College

7 Columbus State Community College

8 Community College of Rhode Island

9 Des Moines Area Community College

10 Central Community College-Columbus

No big surprises in Flint area on opening night

Posted: December 6, 2011 by Jared Field in High School
Swartz Creek’s Marquavian Stephens was in the spotlight Tuesday night.

I saw JD Tisdale’s first game with Swartz Creek tonight. It was a little anticlimactic, though, since the highly-touted 6-4 point guard was sidelined with foul trouble for much of the game. He still finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and seven assists and the Dragons beat up on Ortonville Brandon by 22.

The game was of particular interest because of sophomore guard Marquavian Stephens, who was honored before the game by the entire basketball program. Stephens, you may remember, collapsed on the court back in October and had to be brought back to life by a couple coaches with CPR and a defibrillator. Stephens was in the hospital in Detroit for two weeks and underwent surgery on his heart last month. He is on track to get back on the court in January.

Carman-Ainsworth lost to Grand Blanc on the road by six. The Cavs were without their leading scorer, junior guard Denzel Watts who is out for disciplinary reasons.

Flint Powers soundly beat Flint Northwestern in their annual opening night battle. The Chargers led by 21 points at the end of the third and won by 18.

Finally, Flint Northern nearly pulled off an upset against Buctown tonight, losing by three. Northern has been very competitive early in the season against Buctown for the last few years. It will be interesting to see if Northern, under a new head coach, will improve as the season progresses.

Has the balance of power shifted totally from city to suburb in Genesee County? This season we will get our answer. My guess: Probably so.

Here is my top 10, in two sentences or less…

1.) Buctown: Breslin bound once again.

2.) Fenton: It all comes down to guard play for the Tigers. With solid guard play, they can win the conference yet again with the Creek rising.

3.) Goodrich: Some very promising transfers including Mitchel Rubio to go with Nathan Landsgaard.

4.) Flint Powers: Without Hawkins, are you kidding? Team looked very solid over the summer.

5.) Flint Carman-Ainsworth: Wilson and Watts is now Watts and Morse. Not hearing good things about this team, but there is still a lot of talent there.

6.) Swartz Creek: Sounds crazy to say it, but this could be the number one Flint area team this time next year. J.D. Tisdale is a game-changer, but now it’s time to prove it.

7.) Grand Blanc: Can GB’s twin 6-6 forwards produce on both ends of the floor? Time for Bobcats to start winning in their new conference.

8.) Flint Northern: Lewis and Lewis need help. Conditioning won’t be an issue with new head coach Garner Pleasant.

9.) Holly: Loads of seniors including area’s most underrated player, Nic Stoll.

10.) Flint Northwestern: New head coach Lamont Torbert knows the game, but is the talent pipeline drying up?

So there you have it. I don’t have a single city school in the top seven. I don’t feel good about it, but it is what it is. I hope I’m wrong.

Shout out your 10 in the comments.

Top 10: Ranking the Flint area’s best for 2011-12

Posted: December 5, 2011 by Jared Field in High School

Buctown's Monte Morris

As you know, every basketball season we try to rank the top players in the Flint area as a counterpoint to the Flint Journal’s rankings. I’m not saying our rankings are better, but we tend to be a little more connected to what’s going on out there (my old friend Bill hates AAU basketball). So yeah, I guess in a roundabout way I just said our rankings are better. Oh well.

1.) Monte Morris, Flint Buctown (junior guard): He’s a high-major guard with a brain for the game like we haven’t seen in a long time. Hard to find many deficiencies in his game. He needs to get stronger, but you could say that about pretty much everyone this list.

2.) Denzel Watts, Flint C-A (junior guard): Everyone except for Denzel. If Watts gets any stronger, he’ll be playing the post. Pretty much unguardable in one-on-one situations and a reliable shooter. Being at C-A probably hurts him as a prospect (see Glenn Cosey). He may be sidelined to start the season due to a disciplinary issue, but hopefully he gets back on track.

3.) J.D. Tisdale, Swartz Creek (junior guard): Throw him into the “something to prove” category this season. He’s probably the best pure prospect on this list. He’s closing in on 6-foot-5 and will be Creek’s primary ballhandler. He’s also the best athlete on this list. Recently received his first division offer from Bowling Green, a strong program in the MAC.

4.) Nic Stoll, Holly (senior forward): The Michigan Tech commit has the highest-revving motor in the Flint area. He can be a dominant force on both ends of the floor, if he can stay out of foul trouble. At 6-5, he should have his way in the Flint Metro League.

5.) Nathan Landsgaard, Goodrich (senior guard): A four-year varsity player, Landsgaard is the prototype power guard. He is at his best playing the PG, but will have success at three positions. Great finisher.

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