Improved Dundee Enjoys Memorable Start

January 12, 2017

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

The Dundee boys basketball team has stacked up a pair of accomplishments already this winter – one to enjoy right now, and another to take pride in for years to come.

The Vikings, after finishing last season 10-11, are off to an 8-0 start this winter. The early run has included a 67-64 win on Dec. 15 over Onsted, last year’s Lenawee County Athletic Association champion.

The significance of that accomplishment is easy for players to get, especially since the majority of this year’s rotation went through the growing pains of last season. But the historic meaning of the win that came after Onsted probably will take some more time to sink in – even as it’s bound to be one of the most lasting achievements of these players’ careers.

Dundee’s 60-50 win over Carleton Airport on Dec. 20 was the 1,000th victory in program history, making the Vikings one of at least 12 in Michigan high school history to have reached that milestone and the first from Monroe County.

“I don’t think at their age they understand how big of an accomplishment that is – that you’d basically have to go undefeated 50 straight years to get to 1,000,” said second-year coach Jordan Bollin, who is in his 11th season total as a coach in the southeast part of the state. “We tried to explain it to them, and I think they do (get it more) now.”

Dundee is the Applebee’s “Team of the Month” for December in part for both headlining moments this season, pulling off its first five wins during that first month and seven of eight so far by double figures.

The Vikings are paced by six seniors, including four who start alongside junior Ben Miller, who also started last season as a sophomore and leads with team with 12.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. To make this season's jump, they put in the necessary time; Bollin said he held four-player workouts three times a week during the offseason, in addition to the players honing their skills during open gyms and over a busy summer.

Bollin also emphasized that while the program has undergone a system change – introducing a more free-flowing offense and shorter practices this winter – it’s maintained the same culture of toughness that exists throughout the community and is often most recognizable with the school’s best-known team – a wrestling program that has won three of the last four MHSAA Division 3 championships.

“I’ve coached at a couple places, and the kids at Dundee are tougher bred,” said Bollin, who graduated from Temperance Bedford, then assisted there and at Blissfield before coming to Dundee as an assistant three seasons ago. “I don’t know how to explain it. The parents do a great job of raising them. A lot of the parents played at Dundee, and it’s a well-versed culture there. It’s a very tough community … and it’s always ‘Yes coach. No coach,’ very respectful kids.

“The wrestling program sets the tone, and if our kids ever get tired or feel that our practice is tough, we ask, ‘Do you want to go wrestle?’ Tim (Roberts) is one of the best coaches probably in the nation, and they probably outwork any team in any sport in the state, and I can say that in confidence.”

It’s certainly worth noting that Dundee’s basketball program also is making this impressive run sharing winter athletes with that wrestling program in a school of just under 500 students. That might make the Vikings’ basketball depth notable as well; Bollin said in 11 seasons he’s never had a team with this many contributors, as six players have scored at least 13 points in a game. Senior guard Brayden Federer is another top scorer, pouring in 12 points per game while also serving as the leading lockdown defender.

For Dundee’s next game after winning 1,000, against Flat Rock on Dec. 22, the Vikings welcomed the school’s 1987-88 team that advanced to the Class C Semifinals and is considered the program’s best of all-time (Dundee’s 1937-38 team also made the Class C Semifinals, but no team has won a Regional title since 1988). Those past players were recognized with an on-court ceremony and visited the locker room before the game to meet the current players before these Vikings went on to a 44-30 win to close the month.

Bollin had an idea before this season that this team might be lined up for a special run too. So far it’s included a couple of meaningful accomplishments, and the Vikings hope they’re just getting started.

“We’re a starless team … and even in my second year, I’m improved as a coach. We’re prepared for anything they see, but a lot of it is on them,” Bollin said of his players. “People take it for granted, that experience, but it’s a big deal. These guys don’t get rattled much this year. Last year if a team switched defenses on them, it would set them back a couple of plays.

“(And) we’re a really close-knit unit, and they don’t let each other slack. It’s easy to coach when you have a team like that.”

Past Teams of the Month, 2016-17
Rockford girls swimming & diving - Report
Rochester girls golf - Report
September: Breckenridge football - Report

PHOTOS: (Top) Dundee’s Tyler Turner looks to get past an Onsted defender during the Vikings’ three-point win last month. (Middle) Dundee players and coaches commemorate the program’s 1,000th win after defeating Carleton Airport. (Photos courtesy of the Dundee boys basketball program.)

St. Clair County Celebrates 1st Mr. Basketball Winner, PHN's Jamison

By Paul Costanzo
Special for

March 29, 2023

The Jamison family has spent plenty of time over the years driving long distances as Tyler chased his basketball dreams.

Bay & ThumbAfter the Port Huron Northern senior achieved one of the biggest ones, they had to put some more mileage on the family vehicle.

As the newly-crowned Mr. Basketball, Jamison was invited to a special presentation during the Boys Basketball Finals this past Saturday afternoon at the Breslin Center. It was an invitation Tyler and his family didn’t hesitate to accept, and the drive from Port Huron to East Lansing was nothing.

But it did cause a pretty big change to some other travel plans.

Tyler and his family were scheduled to fly to Florida on Friday for spring break. That flight had to be canceled, though, and instead, the family made the drive down later.

“There were some jokes about just leaving me and letting me find my own way down there,” Jamison said.

While they joke, there’s nowhere the Jamisons would have rather been Saturday than at the Breslin. As a true basketball family – Tyler’s dad Brian is also the coach at Northern, and his brother Alex was a standout freshman for the Huskies – they have a great appreciation for the Mr. Basketball Award and its significance.

“I had said a while ago, ‘Hey, if we’re still in the tournament, we’ll be playing Friday,” Brian Jamison said. “I even mentioned that it would be a miracle, but Tyler could win Mr. Basketball. Now we’re eating plane tickets and driving down to Florida. But it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we’re not missing this.”

Jamison was the overwhelming winner of the award, which is named after Hal Schram and given out by the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan. He received 3,058 points in the vote to become its 43rd winner. Curtis Williams of Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice (2,004 points), Kaden Brown of Grand Rapids Catholic Central (1,918), Sonny Wilson of Detroit U-D Jesuit (1,883) and Ryan Hurst of North Farmington (1,811) were the other finalists.

“It was just insane,” Tyler Jamison said. “I can’t even really put into words how I felt – it was just a dream come true, a culmination of all the hard work that’s been put in over the years. My mom was in the other room (when his dad called to tell him), and I just hugged her and we were kind of screaming. The dog was getting riled up. It was fun. There were a few tears shed.”

Jamison throws down a dunk.Jamison, who signed with Fairleigh Dickinson in December, finished the season averaging 26.7 points, 11.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.3 steals per game. He was named the Macomb Area Conference White division MVP after leading Northern to the league title and a 20-4 overall record.

Even with all that, winning the most prestigious individual basketball award in the state didn’t seem like a reality.

“We purposely try to play a tough schedule, and we purposely got into some showcases because we wanted people to see, not only him play, but us play,” Brian Jamison said. “We had beaten Skyline and Hamtramck, and went up to Croswell-Lexington and won up there, and I thought, ‘OK, now he’s done it against some of the better teams.’ Up to that point, when we played those tougher teams, he’s always showed out well, but it’s different when you’re not winning them. But at that point, I thought he had a chance. Really, I was just hoping he would get on the list. To win it was kind of above and beyond what I had hoped for.”

On the court, Tyler’s impact on the program was pretty obvious and immediate.

He’s the program’s all-time leading scorer – a record he set as a junior – with 1,763 career points. He also holds Northern records for career rebounds (825), points in a game (59), rebounds in a game (28), career field goals made (638) and career free throws made (439). As a junior, he was named MAC Blue MVP.

Northern did not lose a league game in either of the past two seasons.

But Northern is likely to see future success because of Tyler’s non-statistical impact.

Leading a young team, including a group of star freshmen – his brother Alex, Cam Harju and Amir Morelan – was a major part of Tyler’s job this season.

Northern’s home games were must-see events this winter, as the Huskies were one of Division 1’s top teams, and Tyler was providing nightly highlights and must-see performances. Even in his final game, a loss against Macomb Dakota in the District Final, Jamison treated the standing-room crowd with a 46-point performance and a halfcourt shot at the third-quarter buzzer in a valiant effort.

“That’s the big thing, you want the students and the school community to support you, and they did an amazing job,” Tyler Jamison said. “We also had people from the community that wanted to support us and watch us play. Port Huron High had a really good season, too, and I think both schools in the city had that public support. That’s huge. It makes you feel like you’re playing for more than yourself.”

Among those crowds were the next generation of Huskies, some of whom were coached by Tyler in youth basketball. As he’s the first Mr. Basketball winner from St. Clair County, those kids now have a hometown example of someone who has reached the highest heights.

“I think interest gets sparked when the little kids come to the gym, like, ‘Hey, I want to do that,’” Brian Jamison said. “They want to play for Northern or (Port Huron) High. And with him winning Mr. Basketball, I think it gives kids a little bit of ‘Hey, why not me?’ I do think it helps motivate younger people. We’ve had great crowds at our games. I think the area is excited about basketball. It really is a great basketball area.”

With all of that excitement surrounding him, Tyler had one more challenge after the season – keeping the secret that he had won. He found out six days before the award was announced.

“It was terrible – especially when it’s something of that magnitude,” he said. “You want to tell everyone. You want to tell your friends and family. It was hard to be like, ‘No, I don’t know.’”

Paul CostanzoPaul Costanzo served as a sportswriter at The Port Huron Times Herald from 2006-15, including three years as lead sportswriter, and prior to that as sports editor at the Hillsdale Daily News from 2005-06. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, Sanilac, Huron, Tuscola, Saginaw, Bay, Arenac, Midland and Gladwin counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Tyler Jamison, second from left, with his parents and brother, stands with his newly-received Mr. Basketball Award trophy during the ceremony at the Detroit Free Press. (Middle) Jamison throws down a dunk. (Photos courtesy of the Jamison family.)