2012-13 Junior College Basketball Preview: Mott is re-loaded with talent, but can the Bears repeat as National Champs?

November 7, 2012 in JUCO

It’s hard to believe, but college basketball season is here. This week, we’ll preview Michigan’s 19 junior college teams.

By Patrick Hayes

At a glance

Overview

In 2011, Mott was faced with replacing nearly an entire roster from a team that was a national runner-up. That replaced roster went 35-1 and won a national title in 2012. Now the Bears will once again have to replace all of their key players and hope for no drop-off.

Strengths

Last season, Mott was one of the smallest teams in Michigan, but their superior speed and depth wore opponents out. This season, they’ll still have a deep bench, but their strength will be how big they are inside.

Fred Mattison, a transfer from South Carolina, and DeBerry, who originally committed to the University of Detroit, give the Bears a huge interior presence, a big of a change for a Mott program that has been known for guard play in recent years.

That size also extends to the perimeter. Albert, Busby, Foster, Banks and Chavis Mattison are all wing players who are 6-foot-5 or taller. Point guard McDonald is only 6-foot-1, but he also should be one of the stronger, more physical guards in the state.

Although Mott returns none of their statistical leaders from last season, they do bring back championship experience in Chavis Mattison, Shaquille Smith, Kortez Ross and Kory Billups. Billups started on last year’s team and Smith and Ross both saw significant minutes off the bench.

Weaknesses

Mott not only lost Taylor, the National Player of the Year who is now at Fresno Pacific, and starters Marshall (now at Mississippi Valley State) and Davis (now at Florida A & M), who were all sophomores, the team also lost standout freshmen Eason and Perry, who Schmidt chose not to bring back. Eason is now at Cleveland State Community College and Perry is playing at Shelton State Community College in Alabama.

Expect Mott, as usual, to still work about 10 players into the rotation. With the length the Bears have on the perimeter, they’ll still create turnovers and be bothersome in passing lanes. But the added element of having big men who will likely excel more in a halfcourt offense than a fast, open-court game will certainly be an adjustment this season.

Circle these dates …

  • Dec. 12 — Lansing and Mott have an East-West rivalry that dates back several years. After Mott posted two blowout wins over Lansing last season, including in the state championship game, look for Lansing to be seeking revenge.
  • Jan. 7 and Feb. 4 — Henry Ford is the only team that can claim a victory over Mott last season. The games this season should be competitive again, as they always are.

Outlook

Retooling while remaining elite is nothing new for Mott, so don’t expect much dropoff from last season. But winning the MCCAA East again might prove tougher than the actual national tournament as several teams in Michigan — as Grand Rapids proved in Mott’s close win in the opener — are formidable this season.

Previously


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