Ocelots Ballin

Men’s basketball looks to build off of last season’s success

By James Paxson, Sports Editor

As the fall sports season winds down, the winter sports season is gearing up to take flight. In less than a week the Men’s Basketball team will start their 2016-2017 season.

Schoolcraft made it to the elite eight of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II National Tournament last season only to lose to Parkland College, 85-87 in a hard fought battle after trying to comeback after a halftime deficit.

Last season the Ocelots had to forfeit six games due to transfer agreement rule violations, but recovered quickly despite the setback.

This season the Ocelots are without some graduating sophomores that were key contributors last season. Guard Tyler Johnson was responsible for hitting three pointers when Schoolcraft really needed them. He averaged 11 points a game and three assists as a very important No. 2 guards Ja’christian Biles and Deshawndre Black both averaged over 10 points a game last season.

“Last year we were a very good basketball team, but this year I believe that we are much more athletic at every position. The wings and the forwards are very athletic and are able to be a big help at both sides of the ball,” said sophomore forward Carlos Taylor when asked the similarities and differences between this years squad compared to last.

Schoolcraft will have one of the youngest teams in Coach Mashhour’s three-year tenure here at Schoolcraft with only three returning sophomores. Taylor averaged three rebounds and four points coming off the bench for the Ocelots last season. Other sophomore guard Esa Adujami came off the bench and was beneficial in getting the team to the playoffs last season.

“Carlos Taylor has been a big role model for me on and off the basketball court. He has shown me and other freshmen how to do things around here,” said by freshman Guard Deangelo.

This team is stacked with various levels of experience. There are a lot of freshmen, sophomores and transfer players. The transfer players all have come to Schoolcraft for a new opportunity in basketball. Terek Jones is a transfer from Ranger Community College in Texas, Charles Penn is from Owens Tech in Ohio, and Kevin transferred from rival college Oakland Community College.

“Some of these guys we recruited in high school and weren’t really happy with where they were playing at the moment so they decided to come here. They will all help the team out a lot,” said Head Basketball Coach Abe Mashhour.

Some key matchups this season will be against Owens Community College and Mott Community College. The Ocelots will play Owens Nov. 16 and then Nov. 30. Schoolcraft split a series with Owens last season forfeiting one game and winning one game 117- 83.

Mott Community College who the Ocelots split last season will be another contender they will have to battle against. The first game Schoolcraft lost in Flint 94-76 and then later in the season the Ocelots won at home 80-58.

The 2016-17 regular season for the Ocelots begins on the road Nov. 4 against Genesse Community College located in multiple locations in the state of New York. After this tournament, the Ocelots return home Nov. 9 against Jackson Community College.

For team schedule, rosters and scores go to the MCCAA website at www.mccaa.org.

IMAGES BY MIKEY CEBULSKI, PHOTO EDITOR