Steve Schmidt ranked among nation’s best JUCO coaches

Posted: January 21, 2016 by Jared Field in High School

Mott head coach Steve Schmidt.

FLINT, Michigan — recently released a ranking of the nation’s best basketball coaches at the Junior College level and, to no one’s surprise, Steve Schmidt is near the top of the list.

A national panel of media, scouts and coaches voted Mott Community College’s longtime head coach as the fourth-best in the nation.

They have their reasons:

What Schmidt has done at Mott is nothing short of remarkable. Winning an incredible 82% of his games over 24 years is unheard of, winning more than 25 games for 19 straight years is mind boggling!  Schmidt IS Mott basketball and not only is he recognized by several Halls of Fame, he has the very gym that he coaches in named after him.

The full list:

1. Jared Phay, Southern Idaho

2. Steve DeMeo, Northwest Florida St.

3. Steve Eck, Hutchinson, KS

4. Steve Schmidt, Mott, MI

5. Gene Bess, Three Rivers, MO

6. Jay Herkelman, Coffeyville, KS

7. Craig Doty, Rock Valley, IL

8. John Meeks, Wallace St.-Hanceville, AL

9. Drew Kelly, Harcum, PA

10. Andy Ground, Saddleback, CA

11. Kyle Smith Peters, John A. Logan, IL

12. Kris Baumann, Trinity Valley, TX

13. Chuck Moore, Richard Bland, VA

14. Jeremy Shulman, Eastern Florida

15. Cory Symons, North Idaho

16. Cory Rehringer, Williston St., ND

17. Andy Labagh, CC San Francisco, CA

18. Patrick Smith, Moberly, MO

19. Craig McMillan, Santa Rose, CA

20. Bryan Zollinger, Seward County, KS

21. Dan Russell, Casper, WY

22. Todd Franklin, Vincennes, IN

23. Todd Phillips, Salt Lake, UT

24. B.J. McGinn, Des Moines, IA

25. Hank Plona, Indian Hills, IA


Mott sophomore Jalen Adams soars for two of his 20 points against Schoolcraft Saturday. (Mike Tews photo)

FLINT, Michigan — Have yourselves a game, Bears.

The Mott Community College Bears (11-6), despite a slow start against no. 19-ranked Schoolcraft Saturday, turned in their best all-around performance of the season in a 94-76 romp.

The Bears are now 11-6 on the season and tied for first place in the MCCAA Eastern Conference.

Before the game, Coach Schmidt said his team was primed to make a run in the midst of a rough patch in their midseason schedule (six of eight games on the road). Now his team has a win over one of the state’s best (former no. 1-ranked team in the country prior to forfeiting six games) and will be favored in their next eight games.

The Bears actually trailed by seven points in the first eight minutes of the game before flipping the script. Fast forward 12 minutes and, after a 3-pointer from freshman Aaryon Davis, Mott led by eight going into halftime.

Four minutes into the second half the Bears, led by sophomores Jalen Adams and Lorenzo Collier, led by 13. Mott would lead by as many as 20 in the final three minutes of the game and cruised to victory.

Adams, despite playing on an injured leg, turned in a tremendous all-around performance. He scored 20 points with 11 rebounds and four steals. Collier, for his part, added 20 points with four rebounds and three assists. He’s turned up the intensity on defense as well, filling the gap left by freshman Cedric Moten who did not play.

Even without Moten, the Bears have guards for days.

Sophomore transfer Mitch Rubio started for the Bears against the Ocelots, but was sidelined with a leg injury early in the game and did not return. The unsung hero, in Rubio’s stead, was freshman forward Keion Farrington. He came off the bench to score nine points with nine rebounds and a pair of blocks.

Davis and freshman Diandre Wilson added 16 and 14 points, respectively. Darrin Mayo rounded out Mott’s five scorers in double-figures with 11.

DeShawndre Black led Schoolcraft (8-10) with 14 points.

Mott will return to action at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night at Delta College. Listen to Mott Basketball live all season at


Mott sophomore Lorenzo Collier soars for a score in the second half against Triton. (Mike Tews photo)

FLINT, Michigan – Great teams learn from every loss. This season, the Mott Community College Bears have suffered through four losses at the buzzer, more than in any previous season in Steve Schmidt’s Hall of Fame career.

“We found ways to lose all those games,” Schmidt said. “It’s high time we find ways to win them.”

And soon.

With the malaise of last season almost fully worn off, Schmidt is confident his program is back on the right track. With a 10-6 record and four highly-competitive games against the state’s best teams (Lansing and Muskegon), there are plenty of reasons for optimism; this, in spite of a roster once again laden with first-year players.

“We’re in much better position now compared to last season,” he said. “This is a much better team in terms of talent and togetherness. Unfortunately, like every program at this level, we still have players struggling with issues that they have complete control of – class accountability and meeting team rules and standards. I call it a lack of focus and commitment to the program.”

Schmidt said last season, at this time, his team was on “life support.” Fast forward a year and he still has a young team but with superior depth and talent, especially in the backcourt.

“This team can do it,” he said. “We have what we need to win.”

Schmidt said in spite of the bumps in the road early on, his team, led by freshman guard Diandre Wilson, is poised to be counted among the best teams in the state come playoff time.

“We hurt ourselves (early on) trying to figure out what it takes to be successful,” he said. “Young players can let personal success get in the way of building a team. Struggles can lead to excuses, to pity-seeking; but, we’re getting beyond that. We’re working harder and toughening up.”

So far this season, the Bears have done well spreading around the scoring. Four Bears average double figures in scoring including Wilson (19.1), Jalen Adams (16.6), Cedric Moten (13.5) and Lorenzo Collier (10.5). In several games this season, every player on the roster has played significant minutes.

In the first 11 games of the season the Bears, uncharacteristically, surrendered 80 or more points four times. A habit that ultimately leads to basketball-free practices and plenty of the notorious “Clemson” sprints. Since Schmidt’s staff refocused the team on defensive intensity, teams have only averaged 59.8 points against Mott.

The Bears are currently playing their way through a dicey portion of the schedule, with six of eight games on the road. They will be back in the friendly confines of Ballenger Field House soon and primed to make a run.

“The league schedule was set up a little strange this year; I’ve never seen that in my 25 years of coaching,” he said. “We are in the tough stretch now, but in the last month of the season we will have six of eight games at home. We can use this to our advantage.

“I will be disappointed in this team doesn’t compete for both the conference and district championship.”

For more than a decade, fans could set their watches by Mott’s postseason peaks. The Bears routinely competed for conference, state, regional and national championships. From 2001 until 2012, no JUCO program in the nation could match Mott’s prolific record of success. And while fans certainly haven’t forgotten, players may not fully understand the caliber of program they represent.

For a bit of perspective, consider that Mott lost only eight games from November 2009 until December 2012. That’s two more than this team has lost in less than two months.

“I’ve always said that I don’t mind having the bar set so high,” he said. “We had a 12-year run that was incredible. I don’t think any program will be able to maintain that level of success and accomplishment again at the junior college level.”

Perhaps not, but Schmidt is not going to fade away anytime soon.

“It’s going to take a lot more work and commitment to have a shot of getting back to that level,” said Schmidt, who has four national championship rings on his résumé. “As much as we strive to try to get back to that level, I can’t help but feel great about what all of those players accomplished.”

Listen to Mott live all season online at .



Mott flattens Marygrove JV squad, 110-57

Posted: December 30, 2015 by Jared Field in High School

FLINT, Michigan — For higher-level JUCO teams, games against JV squads are little more than scrimmages. At times, however, they are just what the doctor ordered.

Wednesday night’s tilt with Marygrove JV was a confidence boost for Mott, as the Bears ran roughshod over the Mustangs, 110-57.

Mott (8-5) held Marygrove to just one basket in the game’s first 18 minutes (1-27 from the field during that stretch). The Bears moved the ball better as a team than they have all season, despite playing without three key players including star guard Diandre Wilson. The freshman, Mott’s leading scorer, sat out for disciplinary reasons.

No matter. Mott had three players combine for 83 points. Freshman guard Cedric Moten led the way with 31. Sophomore guard Lorenzo Collier scored 28 and sophomore wing Jalen Adams 24.

Adams needed a breakout performance after getting on the wrong side of his coach, Steve Schmidt, in recent weeks. Adams had been dogging it a bit this season, and found himself out of the starting lineup. Adams, a D-1 transfer and former all-stater at Saginaw Arthur Hill, is a serious talent and it showed Wednesday night.

Collier, for his part, turned in his best performance of the season by far. He scored from all over the court — in transition (including a dunk), pull-ups in the lane and from the perimeter.

Moten did what he always does: run the floor and hit open shots.

The Bears led by 30 at the half and cruised to victory.

The team is poised to be a contender for the Eastern Conference championship this season, in spite of the lackluster start. Mott has three winnable road games in a row before taking on the favorite to win the East (Schoolcraft) on January 16.

The Bears return to action at 7:30 p.m. Monday night at Wayne County. Listen live all season at

Mott stunned by no. 3-ranked Lansing in final minute

Posted: December 9, 2015 by Jared Field in High School

indexFLINT, Michigan — The game of the week in the MCCAA Wednesday night didn’t disappoint. The no. 3-ranked Stars, fresh off a win over no. 1-ranked Schoolcraft, needed a furious comeback in the game’s final two minutes to earn a 77-74 win.

The victory is Lansing’s second over Mott this season and the first home loss against Lansing since 2009. Lansing’s win over Mott last month was also by three points.

Lansing had not swept Mott in a season series since 2002.

“We just didn’t play well enough to win,” said Mott head coach Steve Schmidt. “We couldn’t overcome some obstacles; this team has to get a lot tougher.”

One of those obstacles, if the pointed words from Mott’s bench are any indication, was the free throw disparity in the game: 33-16 in favor of the Stars. Even so, it was the Bears’ lack of execution on the offensive end in the final minutes that cost them the game.

Mott (6-3), paced by freshman guard Diandre Wilson, led by a point at the half and by as many as 10 midway through the second half. Wilson scored from all over the court, leading all scorers with 28 points.

Once the Bears’ lead cracked double digits with 13 minutes left in the game, their overall play took a serious nosedive. In spite of several turnovers, a couple questionable calls and even more questionable shots, the Bears were still staked to a five point lead with two minutes left.

Two easy baskets for Lansing coupled with a terrible cross-court pass for a turnover and foul by Jalen Adams and the Bears’ lead was history. Mott only managed one basket, a putback off a desperation shot at the buzzer by Mitchell Rubio, in the final two minutes. Lansing went 6-for-6 from the foul line during that span.

Adams, a D-1 transfer from St. Bonaventure, had his worst game as a Bear Wednesday night. He scored eight points (two in the second half) and didn’t appear to be heavily invested in a positive outcome in the game.

Mott head coach Steve Schmidt, seething after a tough loss, went off script.

“We simply didn’t get enough out of Jalen Adams tonight,” he said. “I don’t typically call out players, but I don’t even like his body language.”

Just in terms of sheer talent, Adams probably should be Mott’s best offensive player. He’s a 6-foot-5 guard with all the physical tools. That he’s not their best is drawing the ire of his coach because, at least on the surface, it appears effort is all that’s standing in his way.

All signs pointed to this game being a banner win for the Bears. For the second time this season, Mott held Javon Haines to well below his average (29). Haines scored 12 points but only managed one basket thanks, in large part, to the play of freshman Cedric Moten and sophomore Lorenzo Collier.

This outcome is eerily similar to the first go around in Lansing (12-1). The Bears held Haines in check but simply couldn’t defend the post against Jimmy Kodet and Isaiah Green. The pair combined for 33 points. Mott, once again, made Kodet look like Dirk Nowitzki.

All is not lost, however. The Bears have taken the best JUCO team in the state to the wall now twice. They just need to learn how to finish.

Before the game, Schmidt echoed a familiar refrain: “This team will figure it out; this will be a good team.”

Six of Mott’s next seven games are on the road, including a bruiser against Muskegon on Saturday afternoon. The Bears’ next home game is December 30 against Marygrove College JV.

Listen to the Bears live on


Mott head coach Steve Schmidt looks to improve his record to 7-2 this season Wednesday night against rival Lansing.

FLINT, Michigan — Roles have been reversed in one of the state’s best basketball rivalries, at least for now. Mott enters its game versus rival Lansing at 7 p.m. Wednesday night in Flint as an underdog.

The rivalry, once dominated by Mott, is alive and well these days. Mott came up just shy of an upset over the Stars last month in Lansing, falling by three. Since then, however, Lansing has proven itself against the NJCAA’s best.

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 6.38.41 PM

Lansing CC head coach Mike Ingram

The Stars are winners of nine consecutive games including an impressive win over no. 1-ranked Schoolcraft. Lansing, under the direction of longtime coach Mike Ingram, has ascended to the no. 3 spot in the latest NJCAA national poll.

The upstart Bears (one returning player from last season) started the season unranked, but their 6-2 record has earned a no. 17 ranking in the poll.

This is rarefied air for Mott, one of the top JUCO programs in the country; historically, Mott hasn’t been an underdog against many.

Mott’s Hall of Fame head coach Steve Schmidt grew up in Lansing, graduated from Lansing Waverly and is a former assistant coach with the Stars. In fact, Schmidt and Ingram were both assistant coaches on the last Lansing squad to win a national title (1988). They both played at Central Michigan in the 1980s.

Between them, they have nearly 1,200 career wins. 

Schmidt jokes about how the pair coached together before any of their current players were born.

“I’m really impressed by how Mike has evolved as a coach, how he gets his teams to buy in and execute his system,” Schmidt said. “I love the challenge of coaching against his teams. He works hard and I believe he’s one of the best coaches at our level in the country.”

Since 2009, Mott has won nine of its 12 games versus the Stars. In recent years, however, the games have been much more competitive. In the last two seasons, the teams have split (each winning at home).

With all due respect to Schoolcraft and Oakland, Mott and Lansing have been the premier programs in the MCCAA during the coaching tenures of Schmidt and Ingram. The programs have featured numerous big-time players, and championships, in recent years. Mott, by itself, has four national titles since 2003 and 18 All-Americans.

Lansing, for its part, always seems to have a bonafide stud on every roster — Nate Duhon, Muhammad El-Amin and Torian Harris to name a few from the past. This year, the Stars are led by sophomore guard Javon Haines. The former East Lansing High standout had been the best player in the MCCAA even before his 55-point explosion against Alpena. He is currently leading the NJCAA in scoring at just under 29 points per game.

Mott counters with an exciting young crop of guards and wings who can run the floor with anyone — including Lansing. The best of the bunch is freshman Diandre Wilson, a smooth combo guard who can create his own shot and score going to the basket. Wilson averages 21 points, five rebounds and four assists per game.

In the first go-around, Mott actually held Haines to a season-low 10 points. Adams and Wilson combined for 48 points, but the Bears could not finish off a late rally.

The X factor for Mott is 6-5 sophomore transfer Jalen Adams. The former all-stater from Saginaw Arthur Hill played at D-1 St. Bonaventure last season. He has the pure talent to be the best player on the floor every game. He has only shown flashes so far this season, but most expect him to breakout in the very near future.

A new wrinkle for Mott is 6-6 sophomore transfer Mitchell Rubio, a local product who spent last season at City College of San Francisco. Rubio played in his first game on Saturday afternoon against Kalamazoo Valley. He made his presence felt almost immediately, scoring 13 points with six rebounds including two in the final minute to seal the victory.

Rubio brings size, athleticism and, most importantly, the ability to hit outside shots.

“Mitchell definitely makes us better,” Schmidt said.

Win or lose, the Bears are trending in the right direction. Schmidt has the horses to make a run this season. If he can hold this group together for two seasons, he will have something special.

“These kids are young, but this is going to be a good team once they get it figured out,” Schmidt said.

Listen to the game live on




Mott sophomore Lorenzo Collier soars for a score in the second half against Triton. (Mike Tews photo)

Mott sophomore Lorenzo Collier soars for a score in the second half against Triton. (Mike Tews photo)

FLINT, Michigan — Two of the top junior college basketball programs in the Midwest locked horns on Friday night in Flint. Just as one might expect, it went down to the wire. The game featured seven ties and nine lead changes. It finished with an impressive win for the undefeated Bears, 73-67.

Mott, fresh off an important win over Muskegon on Wednesday night, didn’t play particularly well against a much bigger Triton squad. The Bears used their speed in the open court to score in transition and to get to the foul line, but easy baskets were nowhere to be found. These are two very good teams.

The game was tied at 34 at the half.

The turning point in the game came with 90 seconds left. After a 3-pointer by Triton’s Greg Carter cut Mott’s lead to six, Mott sophomore guard Jalen Adams buried a 3-pointer of his own on the ensuing possession as the shot clock expired. The teams traded baskets, free throws and timeouts the rest of the way.

The triple by Adams was the high water mark in an otherwise forgettable game for the 6-5 shooting guard. He scored 11 points on 3-for-14 from the field. He wasn’t alone, however, as the Bears shot just 33 percent from the field as a team.

For the second straight game, freshman Diandre Wilson led all scorers with 17 points and eight rebounds. Cedric Moten and Lorenzo Collier scored 12 and 10 points, respectively. Percell Washington led Triton (3-1) with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

The Bears (4-0) will return to action at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday night on the road against rival Lansing CC. If the Bears win against the Stars, they will almost certainly be ranked in the next NJCAA poll.

At the conclusion of the game, Triton head coach Steve Christiansen told Mott coach Steve Schmidt that he’d see him in Danville. Let’s hope he’s right.

Listen Mott basketball live all season at

‘Statement game’: Mott runs past Muskegon, 93-79

Posted: November 12, 2015 by Jared Field in College
Mott freshman Jalen Fykes throws down a reverse dunk in the first half Wednesday night.

Mott freshman Jalen Fykes throws down a reverse dunk in the first half Wednesday night. (Michael Tews photo)

FLINT, Michigan — What a difference a year makes. Just nine months removed from his worst season as a head coach in two decades, Mott head coach Steve Schmidt got his swagger back. Mott (3-0) had its first big test of the season on Wednesday night against Muskegon, one of the top teams in the MCCAA.

The Bears passed with flying colors, cruising past the Jayhawks, 93-79.

“I thought that was a statement game for our program,” said the hall of fame coach. “They (Muskegon) may well be the best team in the western conference.”

Lansing, Mott’s opponent next week, may have something to say about that. But, suffice it to say, Muskegon is really athletic and loaded with experience.

The Bears led early thanks to the strong play of 6-3 sophomore guard Lorenzo Collier, who came off the bench and had himself a game. He scored 17 points including two straight pull-ups to put Mott up six early in the first half. (Collier actually played for the Bears two seasons ago before taking last year off. He is one of only three sophomores on Mott’s roster.)

The Jayhawks, led by sophomores Aaron Sydnor and Will Robertson, hung around for the entire half, scoring at the buzzer cut Mott’s lead to two, 38-36.

To put it mildly, the second half featured wild swings of momentum for both teams. Mott led by 10 with 11 minutes left in the game. Two and a half minutes later, the Bears’ lead was down to one. Two and a half minutes after that, Mott led by 16. That’s not a misprint.

The Bears’s final run was led by 6-3 freshman guard Diandre Wilson, who stuffed the stat sheet with 23 points, five assists, five boards and six steals. He scored six points in a span of less than 30 seconds to put the game away with five minutes left. The exclamation point on the win came late on a ridiculous alley-oop to sophomore Jalen Adams, a D-1 transfer from St. Bonaventure. Adams scored 15 points with four rebounds and three assists.

That was one of many dunks on the night from a team that, at least on the surface, looks to be Mott’s most athletic bunch since the days of Doug Anderson and Torian Oglesby (the “fly boys”). The best dunk of the night came early, a rather shocking slam in transition from freshman Aaryon Davis, generously listed at 5-10.

Former Flint Beecher all-stater Cedric Moten started for the Bears, scored 13 points and showed the ability to stop the ball. He may well be the “glue guy” that Schmidt has always featured on his championship teams. He’s not as athletic as former Bear TJ Cameron (Kalamazoo Central), but he brings a lot of the same qualities to the program.

If the first three games of the season are any indication, this is a team that will win games by out-running and out-jumping their opponents. It’s going to be a little different than Mott’s great teams of the past; but, if this group stays together, they will win a lot of games.

The Bears have a quick turnaround this week, as they welcome Triton College (Illinois) to Ballenger Fieldhouse at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. Triton is also 3-0 including a recent win over Cincinnati State. Listen to the game live online at

Mott's Malik Albert signed with Creighton University last month.

Mott’s Malik Albert signed with Creighton University last month.

Malik Albert, among the most electrifying athletes to ever come out of Mott Community College, resurfaced at Creighton University last month. Albert was off the radar after a year away from competitive basketball to work on his academic credentials.

Albert, a 6-2 combo guard from Detroit, is among the most prolific scorers during head coach Steve Schmidt’s tenure at Mott. Only Jeremie Simmons (Ohio State) scored more points in his career at Mott than Albert (1,248).

This week, Albert was profiled in the Omaha World-Herald (

Albert is one of the 18 Division II junior college All-Americans who have played for Schmidt in his 24 seasons at Mott. Though the coach is proud of what Albert achieved on the court, Schmidt is even more impressed by what he did off it.

After two seasons at Mott, Albert had to sit out last season to finish up academic requirements for his associate degree.

“I’m very proud of him for persevering through the academic challenge,” Schmidt said. “He earned this opportunity. In this day and age, a lot of people cut corners and take shortcuts.

“Malik didn’t. He stayed the course and he earned his degree. That’s quite an accomplishment, given how challenged he was academically three years ago. It wasn’t because he didn’t have the capability but he didn’t take his academics seriously. I proud he’s now in a position to take the next step.”

It’s tough to call Albert an underachiever at Mott, based on his team’s winning percentage and his personal accolades. That said, Albert is a very rare athletic talent who just needed some more time to get his life together. I think anyone who watched him for two years at Mott would agree that his best basketball is ahead of him. He’s had the tools; add the desire and the sky’s the limit.

And if you’re curious, the reporter put Albert’s vertical jump at over 40 inches.

Former Flint Hamady standout and future Mott Bear, Jalen Fykes, throws down a tip slam in the first half on Friday night. Fykes also caught an alley oop on the game's first play. (Mike Tews photo)

Former Flint Hamady standout and future Mott Bear, Jalen Fykes, throws down a tip slam in the first half on Friday night. Fykes also caught an alley oop on the game’s first play. (Mike Tews photo)

FLINT, Michigan — Beecher’s all-state and state champion small forward Cedric Moten scored 24 points Friday night to lead the Black Team to victory in the 23rd annual Bruin Club Classic at Mott Community College, 116-114. The game featured 26 of the Flint area’s top graduated seniors coached by former Mott National Player of the Year, Kevin Tiggs, and former MSU standout Antonio Smith.

The packed house at the Steve Schmidt Gymnasium got their money’s worth — 230 points and double-digit dunks.

Moten did for the Black Team what he’d become known for at Beecher: he’s everywhere all at once. It’s easy to spot Moten at a moment’s notice — just find the ball.

For the Gold Team, Davison standout and future Lewis University big man Frank Vukaj was a beast offensively. He had several dunks and one impressive block on a clear out. He’s a rare bird for these parts — a skilled big man. He scored 28 points in a losing effort.

The game also featured two of the state’s highest flyers, Northwestern’s Rashad Johnson and Hamady’s Jalen Fykes. The latter actually climbed the ladder on the first possession of the game for a highlight dunk. Johnson, for his part, poured in 28 points to share game-high honors with Vukaj.

Johnson’s teammate from Northwestern, Deonte Hopkins, scored 20. Flint Southwestern’s top player, Neshua Wise, added 18. Beecher’s sharpshooter Sammy Toins scored 19 and Southwestern’s Quavon Trawick added 14.

Holly’s standout guard and future SVSU Cardinal Jake Daniels missed the game due to an illness.

Game MVPs

Black Team: Cedric Moten

Gold Team: Frank Vukaj