It’s not easy to be a household name in the Schmidt House. For more than two decades, Mott has been a clearinghouse for high-level guards who always seem to find their way to the D-1 level.
Enter sophomore Diandre Wilson.
The 6-2 combo guard from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is among the top JUCO guards in the country this season. Wilson has scored 30-plus points four times this season including a 37-point outburst against rival Oakland.
He is averaging 22 points per game with four assists. His season average is the second-most for any player in the Schmidt era (John Taylor, 24.9). It’s more than big-time players like Ohio State guard Jeremie Simmons, Alonzo Evans (Cincinnati) and Rashi Johnson (MSU).
Wilson is the real deal.
With plenty of basketball left to be played, he has already etched his name into the history books as one of the top scorers in program history.
Heading into Mott’s clash with Schoolcraft on Wednesday night, Wilson has 1,067 points in his career, good enough for third-most in the Steve Schmidt era (he passed former National Player of the Year Jay Youngblood last month).
With a little luck and a lot of stellar play, Wilson has an outside shot at reeling in former Mott great Malik Albert (Creighton), who scored 1,252 points in his career. (Simmons is the all-time leading scorer with 1,349 points.)
Wilson has earned a reputation for doing what he calls “making something out of nothing.” He has shown an ability to score on and off the ball, to create for himself and his teammates. He’s about as steady a player as we’ve seen at Mott; he’s calm, calculating and creative.
Wilson’s coach shrugs off comparisons between his current and former players, preferring to highlight their uniqueness as individuals.
“Diandre has the ability to make plays … he’s deceptively athletic, although he’s not going to blow you away with his athleticism,” said Mott’s hall of fame head coach Steve Schmidt. “He has a very high basketball IQ, is mentally tough and extremely confident.”
Schmidt said Wilson’s final chapter at Mott is far from being written. He has an opportunity to lead his team in the same way many of the great guards in the past have – through the postseason.
Wilson, for his part, sees a big difference in his play from last season that could be crucial for his team down the stretch.
“The things that have really changed about me as a player is making the right play at the right time,” he said. “Making sure I’m making the game easy for myself and teammates. Also being a leader at all times on and off the court.”
Schmidt acknowledges as much, first noting Wilson’s improvements off the court and their effect on his performances on it.
“He’s really matured and taken on a leadership role as well as taken ownership in the program,” Schmidt said. “As a freshman, he was our top player on an average team that didn’t work as hard as it takes on and off the court to be successful. There’s a reason why we only brought Diandre and Sean Corcoran back from last season. Diandre put a lot of extra time in after his freshman season. He stayed here in the spring to take classes and we worked diligently on his game. He matured and become more comfortable with our program.”
Mott fans are just as comfortable with Wilson leading the upstart Bears this season. With a 19-4 record, the Bears are on pace for their best season since 2013.
The dream for Wilson is a national championship run and an opportunity to play at the next level, one that many before him have seen through.
“I think he will have a smooth transition to the next level because of his understanding of the game, and his ability to make plays,” Schmidt said. “He’s also done a great job of putting himself in position to graduate. There are a lot of great players who lose sight of the academic piece and end up scrambling.”
Schmidt says there are a number of solid D-1 programs who know his name and are currently recruiting him.
“They also know what to expect when they recruit a player from Mott,” he added. “We just need to focus on taking care of business down the stretch and the other things will take care of themselves. There is no doubt in my mind that he will be successful.”