Archive for November, 2014

Mott freshman Rod Milton scored two of his 15 points on Friday night in a win over Sinclair. (Mike Tews photo)

Mott freshman Rod Milton scored two of his 15 points on Friday night in a win over Sinclair. (Mike Tews photo)

It was a Black Friday Buccaneer Bonanza in Flint Friday night. Two former Flint Beecher Bucs, Tez Thomas and Tommie Johnson, led the Mott Community College Bears to an 80-68 win over Sinclair (Ohio).  The pair connected on five triples in the game, scoring 13 and 10 points, respectively.

Mott led by as many as 19 midway through the second half on a Thomas basket in the lane. From there, the Bears weathered a couple flurries from Sinclair late, and cruised to victory in front of another large home crowd.

As has become a habit early in the season, Friday night was a total team effort for Mott. All but one player on Mott’s roster scored in the game. Freshman forward Rod Milton led the team with 15 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore Darryl LeVert added 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Mott head coach Steve Schmidt made wholesale changes throughout the game, subbing out five for five to start both halves. Nine players played 15 or more minutes for the Bears.

The Bears led by a mere seven points at the half, a deficit that Sinclair head coach Jeff Price considered a moral victory against a program that has had their number for years. Sinclair, now 4-4,

makes up for what it lacks in talent with resilience. Even so, Sinclair failed to box out on too many Mott misses leading to second chance points for the Bears. Mott won the rebounding battle 38-26, with Milton and LeVert leading the way.

Manny Powell, Jr. led all scorers with 19 points.

One major bright spot for Mott was the play of reserve guard Austin Daniels. The freshman logged 18 minutes and dished out seven assists with only one turnover. If he continues to defend and take care of the ball, he’ll play a lot of minutes on this team. The Bears don’t need him to score.

The Bears are now 5-0 on the season and prepping for a brutal schedule in December. The Bears will square off against Owens twice, Lansing and Kalamazoo Valley on the road, and two home games versus Columbus State and Lakeland. If the Bears can make it through this stretch no worse than 4-2, it will be a great month heading into conference play.

Next up is Owens on Wednesday night in Toledo. The Express, coached by former Mott assistant Dave Clarke, are 7-2 on the season.

Mott is currently ranked no. 16, but should move up several spots when the next poll is released by the NJCAA.

Mott freshman Malik Young scores at the buzzer to lift Mott to a win over Lansing, 83-81.

Mott freshman Malik Young scores at the buzzer to lift Mott to a win over Lansing, 83-81. (Gerry Leslie photo)

Almost one year ago to the day, Mott Community College went toe-to-toe with rival Lansing at their place. Mott missed a pair of free throws with the game tied, gave the ball back to Lansing and lived to regret it. Devlin Bell’s rebound and putback at the buzzer gave Lansing the victory, 83-81.

Fast forward one year and one day, Mott was up one in the game’s final two seconds — this time in Flint. Lansing split from the stripe to tie the game at 81. That set the stage for the heroics of freshman guard Malik Young. After Darryl LeVert cleared the rebound, Young caught the ball and free-wheeled for about eight seconds before driving left and hitting a runner as the buzzer sounded. Another game, another 83-81 thriller. It was the culmination of a second half resurgence by the Bears highlighted by a pivotal three-pointer from freshman guard Amariontez Ivory-Thomas.

Mott fell behind by as many as 10 points in the second half after trailing by six points at the half. The Bears’ superior depth proved to be the difference maker.

Every player on Mott’s 11-man roster scored at least four points. Freshman guard Joseph Stamps led Mott (4-0) with 15 points and three assists. Young and Ivory-Thomas added 12 and 11 points, respectively.

Lansing (2-3), by contrast, is top heavy. The team’s starters were responsible for 68 of the team’s 81 points. Javon Haines led all scorers with 20 points and eight rebounds. Tracy Edmond added 15 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.

Mott head coach Steve Schmidt will never be disappointed in a win over Lansing. That said, Mott certainly has more to offer their hall of fame head coach on both ends of the floor. The Bears shot 39 percent from the floor and a paltry 20 percent from three-point range in the game.

On the defensive end, the Bears surrendered 45 points in the first half and put the Stars on the foul line 42 times. That said, getting a win over a quality opponent without the ‘A’ game is reassuring. The smart money is on this team continuing to improve and, by the end of the year, being one of the top teams in the country at this level. Bear in mind this is a team without a single returning player from last season.

Mott returns to action on Black Friday at home against Sinclair. The game tips at 7 p.m.

Mott Community College blows out Northwood JV, 92-50

Posted: November 12, 2014 by Jared Field in High School
Mott freshman Justice Green soars for two in the second half against Northwood Wednesday night.

Mott freshman Justice Green soars for two in the second half against Northwood Wednesday night.

If any coach could come away angry from a totally lopsided victory, it’s Steve Schmidt. Mott’s Hall of Fame head coach has made a career out of turning good rosters into great teams with intensity and attention to detail. That said, Wednesday night’s game against Northwood’s JV team won’t make his scrapbook.

Mott (3-0) was uninspired on the defensive end against a team that was overmatched at every position. The Bears surrendered twice as many points as warranted and sleepwalked to victory, 92-50.Mott shot a higher percentage from the field (60 percent) than from the foul line (53 percent). The Bears also turned the ball over 21 times. Daryl Bigham and Malik Young, both freshmen, led Mott with 18 and 17 points, respectively. Reserve freshmen Tommie Johnson added 11 points. Northwood JV, coached by former Delta College head coach Lonnie Griffin, shot 33 percent from the field. Billy Ames led Northwood with 11 points. Mott, now 3-0 on the season, has one respectable win over Kalamazoo Valley bookended by wins over JV teams. We will have a better idea of how good this team is when they meet up with Lansing next Friday night at home.

Mott Community College improved to 2-0 on the season Friday night with a win over Kalamazoo Valley, 84-74. The Bears were led by freshman forward Daryl Bigham, who scored 29 points with 12 rebounds.

Freshman guard Joseph Stamps made his debut for Mott Friday night. He sat out the opener on Tuesday night with an injury. Stamps, one of the top guards in Chicago’s 2014 class, scored 11 points with three assists and three steals. Rod Milton added 12 points.

Mott will return to action at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at home against Northwood JV.

FLINT, Michigan — It didn’t take long for basketball fans in Flint to familiarize themselves with the most intriguing prospect on Steve Schmidt’s roster of 11 fresh faces. The player formerly known as “Caris LeVert‘s brother,” it turns out, has his own name and his own game.

Darryl LeVert, Mott’s 6-foot-7 power forward, was dominant at both ends of the floor on Tuesday night, as Mott clobbered Rochester College’s JV squad, 101-60. He scored nine points and pulled down eight rebounds in the first half leading the Bears in what turned out to be little more than a well-organized scrimmage. LeVert finished with 13 points on seven shots, 14 rebounds, three assists and three blocks in 21 minutes.

Mott started the game on a 30-7 run punctuated by three consecutive baskets from Detroit freshman Daryl Bigham. Former Flint Northern and Beecher standout Tez Ivory-Thomas scored 12 points in the half including 2-for-3 from 3-point range to make the second half little more than a formality. Bigham finished with 10 points and six rebounds. Ivory-Thomas added 16 points and three assists.

The second half played out like a full-fledged practice for Mott as Coach Schmidt made wholesale changes to his lineup, playing every active player on the roster.

Mott’s leading scorer was Worcester, MA product Rod Milton, who scored 20 points on 11 shots with five boards. Milton plays above the rim and will put many in mind of former Mott small forward Ralph Eason. Milton passes the eyeball test. He looks like the real deal.

Former Flint Southwestern standout guard Malik Young struggled at times tonight finishing at the rim, but showed the quickness that will make him a nightmare to defend this season. He scored 13 points on 3-for-9 shooting.

Arguably Mott’s most-heralded prospect, former Chicago Curie guard Joseph Stamps, did not play due to an injury.

Brenden Adams led Rochester with 13 points.

Mott (1-0) will return to action at 7:30 p.m. at home on Friday night against Kalamazoo Valley.

schmidt-600

Mott Community College’s Hall of Fame head coach Steve Schmidt will start the 2014-15 season with no returning players for the first time in his 24-year career.

FLINT, Michigan — Firsts are hard to come by for Steve Schmidt, entering his 24th season as the head coach at Mott Community College in Flint. Just when he thought he’d survived every hardship, enjoyed every success and coached his way through every possible situation on and off the court, this: Schmidt will start the season next week without a single returning player.

Nada. Not one.

His team is unknown, undisciplined and unranked.

It’s dysfunction junction at Ballenger Fieldhouse heading into the 2014-15 campaign; that’s the bad news. Schmidt has already held four players out of practice in the preseason for rules violations. Schmidt says he’s exercising patience and embracing the dysfunction, staying positive about what will be his biggest challenge in many years.

“At the end of the day, you try to correct behavior early on and hope that (the players) learn from it,” he said. “If basketball is important to them, they will learn and become better people. We all make mistakes, but the real question is: how do we learn from them? As we sit here now, I’m comfortable with how we’ve handled things. No player is bigger than this program.”

Following a decent showing in a scrimmage versus Adrian College last week, Schmidt said he was encouraged by the words of Adrian’s coach, Mark White.

“He knew we were down some guys,” Schmidt said. “He told me, ‘whatever you do, don’t change. You’re good for kids.’”

So even when situations change and problems arise, what’s best for players is what’s best for the program. And Schmidt says that’s not going to change.

Schmidt is still smarting a bit over last season’s 25-6 season. The team was bounced out of the regional tournament in the semifinals due, in large part, to its inability to live up to the program’s defense-first identity. (Mott surrendered 90 points to rival Oakland.)

Fast forward eight months and the situation Schmidt finds himself in starting this season is one of his own making. He could have brought back as many as four players from last year’s team, but the standards of the program don’t change like roster spots and rankings.

“We had guys who had the chance to come back, but they didn’t handle their business academically,” he said. “My decision was made based on how committed they were academically, and they didn’t come through. From a basketball prospective, it would be nice to still have them here.; but, that’s not what we’re about. We don’t use kids here; we hold them accountable. I wish nothing but the best for those guys, but we have higher standards.”

All is not lost, however.

“What we lack in bodies,” Schmidt joked about his 11-man roster, “we make up for in immaturity and dysfunction.”

The Good News

Schmidt’s roster, while young, is brimming with talent.

The team will be led from the frontcourt by 6-8 forward Darryl LeVert (Pickerington, OH) and 6-6 Daryl Bigham (Detroit Southeastern). Levert, brother of University of Michigan standout Caris LeVert, is a finesse forward who transferred from Connors State in Oklahoma. He has really come into his own over the last year, and Schmidt is expecting big things.

“He could end up being one of the top players in the region,” Schmidt said. “He’s a reserved kid who leads by example and works hard. He doesn’t have much experience, but he will play as much as he can handle here. He’s one of the few guys who I feel has had a productive preseason in terms of academics, working hard in the classroom and in the gym.”

Bigham was one of the top players in the Detroit PSL as a senior, getting lots of attention from division one schools. He will set the bar for toughness on this team, filling an enforcer role Mott hasn’t had since the departure of Fred Mattison two years ago.

If starting lineups were constituted based solely on talent, joining LeVert and Bigham would be guards Justice Green (Flint Carman-Ainsworth), Joseph Stamps (Chicago Curie) and Amariontez Ivory-Thomas (Flint Beecher).

Stamps is arguably the most talented of the bunch, but Schmidt admits the former standout guard from Chicago Curie has had a tough time making the transition to college.

“We’ve had a lot of success with Chicago kids and Joe’s talented, but he’s missed some time,” he said. “It’s been a challenge. He has to understand that when you’re in our program, you have to defend. I’m being patient with him.”

Stamps played alongside All-American and current University of Kansas freshman Cliff Alexander. He has played in many big games in his career and aspects of his game will certainly garner comparisons to former Mott All-American John Taylor. It remains to be seen whether Stamps can play at that level.

Green is Mott’s best option at point guard. At a slinky 6-foot-1, Green cuts on a dime and is one of the quickest ballhandlers you’ll ever see. He has a slight build, but can play above the rim in transition.

Thomas will be Mott’s best perimeter shooter but, like Stamps, he will have to earn his minutes by taking defense a little more seriously.

Another intriguing prospect on this year’s roster is Rod Milton, a strong and athletic 6-3 guard from Worcester, MA. Milton had an excellent senior season at South High School but has not played organized ball in a year.

Finally, Schmidt had high praise of the play of his small, but deadly quick hometown guard Malik Young (Flint Southwestern). Young looked tremendous in the team’s most recent scrimmage.

“He’s fearless going to the basket,” Schmidt said. “He’s going to surprise some people.”

Mott will open the 2014-15 season at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night at home against Rochester College (JV).

Mott Community College 2014-15 Roster Screen Shot 2014-11-01 at 5.05.29 PM