Doug A. Fresh!
High-flying Doug Anderson leads the buzzing Mott College.
“His freshman year, I battled Doug a little because he didn’t practice that hard,” Schmidt said. “He had the athleticism we all knew, and he had a good freshman year, but he would get nicked up and complain about injuries and not work that hard. And I got frustrated at times, but realized it was a growth process and hung in there with him.”
Anderson took it as a challenge. He’s become one of the team’s best practice players and exhibited more toughness this season while adding to his all-around game.
“He’s not been injured, he’s not missed a game, he’s not missed a practice,” Schmidt said. “He’s one of my hardest workers in practice. That is what people don’t see. They don’t see what he’s done from his freshman year to now.”
Anderson’s teammate at Kalamazoo Central and at Mott, defensive stopper TJ Cameron, has seen growth in Anderson’s game since they played together in high school.
“When he got here, Doug couldn’t do a lot of the things he’s doing now,” Cameron said. “He’s developed a good shot, he’s dribbling and putting it on the floor more and he’s just become more aware of the game.”
Anderson’s ability to add to his game, particularly the fact that he’s reliably knocked down open jump shots and extended his range to the three-point line (he shot 33 percent from three this season) has made it harder for defenses to guard him.
“When I first came in, my mindset was just dunk, dunk, dunk,” Anderson said. “At Mott, I’ve developed a more different game. I can shoot and now when they play me to shoot it, I can drive in and dunk it.”
Cameron, who Anderson said always knows exactly where to put the ball for him on lobs, says that whether the defense knows a dunk is coming or not, there is little that can be done to stop it because so few players can leap like Anderson can.
“Even though they know what he wants to do, if you throw it up there, can’t nobody jump up there to get it,” Cameron said. “The chemistry with him is pretty good. I know when he’s gonna jump, playing with him for four years now. Even if they (the other team) do know, they’re still gonna be in a poster. You just throw it up there where only he can get it.”
Schmidt is even more pleased with Anderson’s progress as a student than an athlete.
“People said Doug couldn’t graduate, he’s a lazy student,” Schmidt said. “Well, Doug’s gonna graduate. He’s gonna be a success. He has great family. I don’t know where he’ll end up after Mott, but I do know whoever gets him is going to be very fortunate and I think their program’s interest is going to quadruple, just like ours has.”
Making up for last year
Not making the national tournament last season despite the regular-season success has been a motivating factor for the coaching staff and players. Anderson says part of the reason he chose Mott was the fact that the Bears are a yearly threat to contend for a national title.
“Last year we fell short, this year, everyone’s got their head on straight,” Anderson said.
This year’s Mott team finished 30-2 and won state and regional championships on its way to the national tournament. Although those in attendance at the Division II nationals in Danville, IL, starting March 15 will likely see some highlight reel dunks during the tournament, Mott’s hallmark is defense, led by Cameron, the Defensive Player of the Year in Michigan.
“I try to make it miserable out there for them (opposing wings),” Cameron said. “I want to try and make them think. I want them to do what they don’t do the best. If you can shoot, I’m gonna try to have you drive and my help defense is gonna be there. I’m a good defender, but it’s a team thing. I know where my help’s at. I just don’t want you to score, that’s the mentality.”
Mott, the top seed in Division II, opens up against Central Community College in Nebraska, which finished 16-17 on the season. This is the seventh trip to nationals for Schmidt, who loves the on-the-fly game-planning required for unfamiliar teams from other states.
“I personally like that challenge,” he said. “We do what we do. We work hard and we defend. You can miss shots, but as long as you defend, you’re gonna be in games. We’re very deep. I think it’s to our advantage to play four games in a week. In 2001, my first time going to the national tournament, I didn’t have a clue what was going on. Now I feel like I understand how to get our guys ready. Whether we win or not, we’re gonna compete, we’re gonna represent Mott Community College and Flint and the state of Michigan like champions.”
Here’s a look at all of the opening match-ups for the national JuCo tournament:
Chattanooga State vs Midland: Five Chattanooga State players average double figures this season, Alex Dean, Alex Wells, Telvin James, Philip Jurick and Latraius Mosley. Midland, ranked third in Division I, boasts even more balance, with nine guys averaging more than 6 points per game, but no one averaging more than team leader Dwayne Davis’s 13.5.
Waycross vs Wabash Valley: Wabash, the 10th ranked team in Division I, has one of the top scorers in the conference in Christopher Evans, who scores 19.5 per game. Waycross is led by Rico Lewis and Joe Williams, who average 13 and 11 points per game respectively.
Shelton State vs Western Wyoming: At 25-10, Western Wyoming has five players averaging double figures led by Ty Condie (14.2) and Trevin Harris (13.6).
Southeastern vs East Mississippi: Southeastern has won three national titles, last winning one in 2004. The team is led by Paris Gulley, Mansa Habeeb and Steven Ruple Jr, all scoring more than 12 points per game. Deonte Alexander counters for East Mississippi, scoring 16.6 points per game.
Lamar State-Port Arthur vs Monroe: Three Lamar State players – David Laury, Roman Vaughn and Keenan Coleman – score more than 15 points per game. High scoring Jeff Early, Davon Marshall and Tauron Bailey will try to provide the firepower for Monroe.
Missouri State West Plains vs Coffeyville: Kevin Broussard and Stacy Wilson combine to score nearly 30 points per game for Coffeyville while West Plains is led by Lonnie Hayes, who at 18.8 points per game is among the Division I scoring leaders.
Mott vs Central: At 16-17, Central has a tough first round test against No. 1 Mott. Central is led by Taylor Murren, who scores 15 points per game. Doug Anderson leads Mott at nearly 16 points per game, Mike Brigham averages 13 points and 8 rebounds per game and Demetrius Miller scores 10.9 per game.
Phoenix vs St. Louis-Meremec: St. Louis, ranked seventh in Division II, has four players scoring in double figures led by Regis Schafer at 13.8 per game. Phoenix’s Nathan Bohy and Isaiah Strong combine to average more than 30 points per game.
Kirkwood vs Highland: Kirkwood, ranked fifth in Division II, is led by Brennan Cougill who scores more than 14 per game and also averages 9 rebounds per game. Highland has the highest scoring duo in Division II with Jarmar Gulley (23.1 points per game) and De’Andre Upchurch (21.8 points per game).
Triton vs Delaware Tech: Triton is ranked 10th in Division II and is led by Bryant Orange, who scores 14 points per game. Deleware Tech has one of the top scorers in Division II in Henry Bond, who averages 19.7 per game.
Cecil vs Waubonsee: Waubonsee, 21-11 on the season, must contend with sixth-ranked Cecil’s offense, which features six players scoring in double figures, led by Omar Strong at 19.3 and Darius Clark at 14.2.
Lincoln vs Lakeland: Lincoln is ranked ninth in Division II and was led this season by Kiel Turpin, West Dawson and DeMarius Sumrell. Lakeland has four guys scoring more than 16 a game, William Powell (20.3), Ray Chambers (19.3), Darryl Rushton (19.1) and Darrell Lash (16.7).