Mumford aims for the top
By Harry M. Anderson, Jr.
Special to the Michigan Citizen
What a difference a year makes. Last season, the Mumford boys’ basketball squad finished with a 9-11 record, but this season the Mustangs are wrapping up their season with a 13-2 overall, a 7-1 PSL Division II mark.
They started their season with a big win over Chicago (Ill.) Hype at the Derrick Coleman Classic on their home court. Then the Mustangs travelled down to Toledo (Ohio) Rodgers to win another pre-league tournament with a 56-55 victory over defending Class A State Champion Romulus in the championship game. Sophomore guard Dwight Burton hit a small two-footer with four seconds left.
Why such a quick turnaround?
“I took over a struggling program,” said new Mumford Head Coach Ray Reeves. “I coached at Eastern Michigan University for several years. I know the steps to build the school’s basketball program. I’m also in the building everyday so I’m able to see the kids in the school every day.”
Reeves says he got the student athletes to believe (in themselves).
“You can talk a lot of stuff, but the kids must believe you.”
But Coach Reeves gives a lot of credit to Principal Kenyatta Wilbourn who recruited him to move the program forward.
“The key to our success is our principal,” he said “I wouldn’t have come to Mumford if it wasn’t for Principal Wilbourn.”
The Mustangs play in the PSL’s second division (Division II) with the likes of Central, Denby, Davis Aerospace, Osborn, DCP-Northwestern, and Communication Media Arts.
“We’ve played a tough non-divisional schedule and have a good mixture of players,” Reeves said. “We also use every player on the squad. We play all 12 players. We play a full-court man-to-man defense. On offense, we push the ball up the court and get the ball down court before five seconds.”
Leading the way for Mumford on the court are the three guards: senior Terrance Byrd (25 points per game), junior Arshawn Parker (18 ppg), and sophomore Dwight Burton (15 ppg.) Also contributing to the Mustangs’ success is senior center/forward Karl Miller.
“I feel good about our team because I like winning and our coach,” Parker said. “He treats us like family and he’s always honest.”
Byrd has only high praise for Reeves. “We have a good coach here and (he keeps) everybody on the same page. I haven’t been around a team that worked hard until he (Reeves) got here,” he said. “Everybody plays their role. I think we’re one of the best teams in the state.”
“We can win the state championship if everyone plays good defense,” said Burton. “Our defense set is good because the way we play. Nobody can run with us because everyone puts forth a good effort.”
“I feel we have one of the best defenses in the country,” Miller said. “We’re coached to do the right job. Everybody helps out on defense.”
Although they’re in the PSL’s Division II, Reeves feels they can play with the squads in PSL Division I. “Winning the PSL Title is our goal,” he said. “If we do what we do, we’ll be fine. I see us getting better for the PSL and state playoffs.”