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Men’s basketball program expected to show continued growth

Laker Current Staff Report

 

It is not unusual for a new program to experience growing pains. Fortunately for the Mid Michigan Community College Men’s Basketball Team, those growing pains have eased more quickly than anyone could have anticipated.

After an inaugural year in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), which had the Lakers finish at 8 wins and 14 losses, they have improved their record each year from 15-13 in 2013-14 to 15-12 in 2014-15. This steady progression leads to high expectations this year as the Lakers look to take that next step in the program’s history.

Erick Layton (right) leads the Lakers down the court.

Erick Layton (right) leads the Lakers down the court.

Led by Head Coach Kaleb House and assistant coaches Andrew Kreger and Joe Purvis, the Lakers are coming off back-to-back NJCAA Region XII championships, spearheaded by recently departed players, Trevor Gernaat and Erick Layton.

Layton leaves Mid Michigan Community College as the first 1,000-point scorer in program history and Gernaat as the all-time leading three-point shooter in school history. Both Gernaat and Layton used their performances for the MMCC Lakers to propel themselves into roles at four-year institutions — Gernaat at Alma College and Layton at a school yet to be decided following the completion of his associate’s degree next year.

A classic Trevor Gernaat dunk.

A classic Trevor Gernaat dunk.

The Lakers, following the back-to-back Region XII championships, have not only made a name for themselves throughout the NJCAA Division III circuit, but throughout Division II competition as well.  In recent seasons, MMCC has beaten such Division II rivals as Grand Rapids Community College, Glen Oaks Community College, Alpena Community College, Delta College, and Muskegon Community College.

Division III institutions do not offer athletic aid scholarships while Division II schools do offer scholarships while recruiting players.

“The ability to compete at such a high level has yielded this year’s Laker team with an extremely talented recruiting class to pair with their returning players with championship experience,” House said.

The coaches noted some of this year’s incoming talent, citing Mikhail Myles (East Lansing), Tim Cairnduff (Morley Stanwood), Jalen Weekly (Owosso), Jarid Walton (Coleman), and Sherrod Motley-Dismuke (Ypsilanti Lincoln). House said these new players can add to the team’s strength, especially when paired with returning veterans T.J. Johnson, Ryan Tillman, Nate Jankowsky and Tommie Henderson.

“The MMCC Lakers are poised to build on their recent success in pursuit of elevating the program to its next goal, a berth in the NJCAA Division III National Tournament in New York next March,” House said. “One thing is for sure at MMCC;  the growing pains have eased and the college will soon see the fruits of their basketball labor.”

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