FLINT, Michigan — Next Friday night (Oct. 21) at Ballenger Field House in Flint, the past will collide with the present at the “Return of the Champions” alumni game. Mott’s 2016-17 team featuring sophomore Diandre Wilson, one of the top JUCO guards in the country, will take on the Bears’ alumni squad including some of the best players in school history.
“We’ve done alumni games in the past, but this might be the best collection of talent we’ve ever had on the floor at the same time,” said Mott head coach Steve Schmidt.
There are a few other big-time talents on Mott’s current roster that will turn heads this year, including Austin Walker, an all-state guard from South Carolina, local sharpshooter Shawn Pardee (Millington) and Chicago Bogan’s Marcus Cole.
The alumni team is headlined by three former national players of the year, Kevin Tiggs (ETSU), Jeremie Simmons (Ohio State) and Jay Youngblood (Kent State). Most of the players on the alumni squad have had careers overseas and several are still playing professionally.
Simmons is in an elite class at Mott, having won national championship rings in each of his two seasons playing for Schmidt.
Tiggs, for his part, is a legend in Flint. In just two years, Tiggs went from relative unknown (having played very little organized basketball) from the north side of Flint to a division one recruit and future pro.
Youngblood’s no slouch, either. There are many longtime Mott fans who still claim he’s the best player to ever wear the black and gold. While Tiggs is a legend in Flint, Youngblood is a star in Lebanon. (He actually played as a naturalized citizen on the Lebanese national team.)
“This is a great opportunity for Mott fans to not only see our new team, but also see some familiar faces from the past,” Schmidt said. “I’m confident my team will compete even though they’re matched up against a bunch of guys who have played the game all over the world.”
Former Mott and University of Detroit forward Doug Anderson, the so-called best street ball dunker in the world, will also play for the alumni squad. Anderson, of TNT’s “Dunk King” fame, won the 2013 College Slam Dunk Contest in one of the most ridiculous displays of athleticism you will ever see.
“If you never got to see Doug during his two years at Mott, you’re in for a treat,” Schmidt said. “We’ve never had a player electrify our gym quite like Doug.”
(His highlights from Mott alone are incredible.)
Joining Anderson are Carlos English (Cleveland State and current member of the Harlem Globetrotters), Greg Hamlin (ETSU), Jesse Bunkley (EMU) and Bobby Lewis (Northwood).
Every player on the alumni roster has won a championship in high school, college or professional basketball.
“This event is symbolic of not only where we’ve been as a program, but where we are going,” Schmidt said. “We have more banners to hang, more champions to develop.”
The game tips at 7:30 p.m. The cost is $5 for adults and $3 for children and seniors.