The 2019-20 Schoolcraft College men’s basketball season was one of great accomplishments throughout the year and one big “What If?” at the end.
The Ocelots qualified for their third appearance in the NJCAA* Division II national tournament, but the tourney understandably was canceled in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.
Schoolcraft (28-4) was the No. 5 seed and was to have played Louisburg (21-12) of North Carolina. The Ocelots earned their spot with a 71-66 win over Delta College in the NJCAA Great Lakes East District Championship on March 7.
That victory capped an outstanding season for the Ocelots, who earned several postseason awards.
Named All-Region, All-MCCAA** and First Team All-Conference were sophomore Tre Harvey (14.0 points per game) and freshman D’Quarion Cole (11.7 ppg and team-best 7.5 rebounds per game). Kemon Bassett was Second Team All-Conference with 10.9 ppg. Steady Carl Bow Jr. earned Third Team All-Conference honors after averaging 10.1 points per game.
“We’ve been fighting all year, just trying to get better every single day,” Harvey said of the team’s success.
Bryce Hunt was named the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year after blocking 3.4 shots a game. In addition, Cole was named to the All-Freshman Team. David Wren also was in double figures at 10.1 ppg while Zavon Godwin averaged 8.3 ppg.
“My teammates play great defense, so it’s easier for me to rotate over and get blocks when they are playing so well,” Hunt said. “I commend my teammates for helping me get Defensive Player of the Year.”
The Ocelots had an 11-game winning streak and then a 10-game winning streak before losing two straight. They also had a tough three-point loss to Muskegon in the MCCAA title game before bouncing back to take the district title.
“We learned a very valuable lesson this year,” coach Corey McKendry said. “Three of our four losses were the second time we played somebody and the other loss was after we beat the No. 3 team in the country. We learned you have to get up for everyone.”
McKendry also shared in the postseason awards as he was named Coach of the Year, something he attributes to those around him.
“To me, that’s really a program award,” he said. “I owe so much to my assistants, Vitor Imbuzeiro and Tyler Johnson, and our supports staff, John Lussier and Aidan Brazzil, plus our Athletic Director, Cali Crawford, and our players. They make it easy to coach.”
*NJCAA is the National Junior College Athletic Association
*MCCAA is the Michigan Community College Athletic Association
Ocelots by the numbers
- Overall record: 28-4
- Conference: 14-2
- Home: 13-0
- Road: 11-3
- Neutral: 4-1
- Points per game: 85.8
- National tournament history: This was the third time Schoolcraft earned a bid to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II national tournament. The Ocelots finished sixth in both 2015 and 2016.