Archive for March, 2016

For the past two seasons, one of the top JUCO programs in the country has looked pedestrian at best. A shell of its former self, Mott (19-12) will once again have to regroup after a second consecutive 12-loss season and early ouster in the District 10 tournament.

The Bears were knocked off by Macomb in the semifinal matchup on Friday night at Delta College, 71-66. The Bears struggled throughout the game with inefficiency on offense and miserable shooting from the perimeter. Even after a furious late rally shaved Macomb’s 12-point lead down to one, the Bears simply could not execute in crunch time. It was the Bears’ second loss to the Monarchs this season.

“I’m really proud of that comeback; they hung in there,” Mott head coach Steve Schmidt told MRSN Radio. “They fought hard these last two weeks … we just didn’t execute the plays well enough to win. But (Macomb) is a good team.”

The Bears had numerous opportunities to tie or take the lead in the final three minutes, but virtually every time the shot rimmed out or the whistle didn’t blow.

Freshman guard Diandre Wilson finished his season with 19 points. Mott’s second-leading scorer (after the loss of Jalen Adams) Lorenzo Collier, managed only eight. Mitch Rubio added nine. Freshman DJ Mayo, Mott’s best outside shooter, did not score.

Schmidt said he hoped his team of mostly freshmen stay committed to the program and dedicate themselves to getting better. Last year’s 12-loss team had very little promise. The players didn’t seem to mesh well and there was an obvious lack of commitment to the program on and off the court. Wilson will more than likely be the odds-on favorite to be the player of the year in the MCCAA. Mayo, in spite of his poor performance, is an offseason of strength and conditioning from being a high-impact player.

This group stands in stark contrast with the 2014-15 team; with a few key recruits, especially in the frontcourt, the Bears could have something special next season. The teams competing for the Eastern Conference championship this season are deeper and much more experienced. By this time next year, that description could be used for Mott.

That said, it’s a long slog for the program to get back to where it was. Bear in mind that Schmidt’s teams won 25 or more games in 19 consecutive seasons before the streak was snapped this time last year. That level of consistency is unparalleled.

Truly, 24 losses in two seasons at Mott just doesn’t seem possible. Add to that Mott’s three-year absence from the NJCAA National Tournament — for more than a decade, it was the program’s second home.

The future of the program boils down to recruiting. If Mott can’t figure out a way to find tough kids who hate to lose, the type of players who made the program great, seasons like this one will become the new normal. Like consecutive 12-loss seasons, that, too, doesn’t seem possible. Mott will be back.

 

 

 

Mott blows out rival Oakland to reach final four

Posted: March 2, 2016 by Jared Field in High School
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Mott sophomore Lorenzo Collier scored 22 points against Oakland Wednesday night.

FLINT, Michigan — Hall of fame head coach Steve Schmidt hasn’t had too many occasions this season to say it, but this time it felt right.

“That was Mott basketball.”

Schmidt’s Bears played their way into the final four of the District 10 tournament on Wednesday night with a 102-81 win over rival Oakland. Mott will take on the winner of the Macomb-Delta game at 5:30 p.m. Friday night at Delta.

“That was a great second half of basketball for us,” Schmidt said after the game. “This is a team that really likes each other … this is March Madness.”

It’s down to a two-game season for the Bears, who look to redeem themselves after a forgettable regular season (for Mott’s standards) that still earned the team a second seed. Schmidt hasn’t been the coach of an underdog many times in his career, so this an exciting opportunity.

It’s a new season; win or go home.

The Bears went down early to Oakland, and actually trailed 14-7 before sprinting out on a 14-2 run. Mott led by as many as 14 in the half before a late Oakland run before the half cut the lead to six.

The second half was owned by Mott. Led by sophomore Lorenzo Collier and freshman Deandre Wilson, the Bears ran roughshod over the Raiders in the half. Wilson was unguardable, scoring at will like a right-handed John Taylor (former Mott All-American).

Wilson (32) and Collier (22) combined for 54 points. Freshman DJ Mayo added 14 points.

In the midst of one of Mott’s second half runs, Schmidt remarked that, now and then, this team shows flashes of what it could be: an uptempo, high-energy offense. With Collier and Mayo showing the ability to consistently hit shots from beyond the arc, Wilson’s aggressive style makes him even more of a threat.

Mott’s frontcourt, which has struggled all season, also had a solid night. Sophomore Mitch Rubio scored 13 points. The former Goodrich High School standout really got the Bears going in the first half after a slow start.

Sophomore forward Matt Place pulled down 10 rebounds and, as in every game, led the team in effort and emotion.

Schmidt started the season with a roster of 12 and he’ll finish with nine. Along the way he lost two starters (Cedric Moten and Jalen Adams) and a key reserve (Jalen Fykes). The Bears showed out early, but fell flat midway through the season. In spite of all the challenges this season, the Bears are two wins away from a birth in the NJCAA national tournament.

With two more wins, this season’s script can be flipped.

Mott improves its record to 19-11 on the season. Oakland ends the season with a 12-17 mark. Oakland’s Kevin Hayes led the Raiders with 30 points.

Mott basketball games are broadcast live on MRSN.us.