Some people are characterized as shooters, and others are characterized as scorers.
What if a player is both?
The state of Ohio got a glimpse over the weekend of one of the great sophomore players in the state. He doesn’t play for one of the Division I powerhouse programs, and wasn’t really seen on the big time recruiting boards of the Class of 2018. All he did during his team’s tournament run to a state championship was:
Matter of fact, one might think that his 41 point outburst in the regional final may have been a fluke. So he promptly followed that up with a 30 point, 10 rebound game in the state semi-final, and another 14 in the state championship game.
Say “Hello” to Cornerstone Christian’s Michael Bothwell
What and where is Cornerstone Christian?. Cornerstone Christian is a co-ed private school located in Willoughby. It was formed 14 years ago, and its foundation is formed by its Christian faith. They enroll 374 total students in grades K-12. The basketball program has been on the rise the past few seasons, and led by Bothwell, won its first state championship last weekend.
They are Division IV! They don’t play anybody!
That is not true in the least. Cornerstone Christian played a schedule loaded with great teams in the Cleveland area, not to mention a few out of state powers as well. The Patriots played games against Beachwood, VASJ (Division III runners-up), Bedford, Garfield Hts. (Division I semi-finalist), Lutheran East twice, NDCL, Cincinnati Walnut Hills, and Florida power Booker T. Washington. They came in to the tournament with just a 10-12 record.
They were the best team in Division IV by a mile, and Michael Bothwell was a huge part of it. Despite the daunting schedule, Bothwell averaged 20.4 points a game, and was voted as the Division IV player of the year in the state. Again, as a sophomore. What makes him so good?
Bothwell the shooter
There is just something visually beautiful seeing a left handed jump shot. It looks different, isn’t seen very much, but when it works, is a thing of beauty. Michael Bothwell has a sweet looking jump shot. With range beyond the three point line, Bothwell cannot be left alone to shoot behind the arc. As a sophomore, it’s a pure jump shot. Smooth form from beginning to end from the left hander. Watching the shot, he looks effortless in getting the ball to the hoop even from three point range.
Close your eyes and remember: Chris Mullin
Bothwell the scorer
Being a scorer means much more that just being able to shoot the ball. It means getting the ball in the basket a variety of ways, including getting to the foul line. Bothwell shot 24 free throws in the regional final against Lutheran East. Being a scorer also means that you have the ability to get and create your own shot. Bothwell can score off the dribble with mid-range pull-ups, and is especially adept at getting in the lane and scoring off his “floater” from about ten feet. At 6’3″, he can elevate over smaller defenders, and creates a mismatch with anyone who may guard him.
Close your eyes and remember: Jalen Rose
Did I mention he can pass and defend as well? He averaged almost three steals a game, and is highly unselfish, as to always making the RIGHT play, and not necessarily HIS play. Coach Bobby Knight has always said that “You can’t do what you don’t see”. Michael Bothwell SEES. He always seems to be thinking a play, or a pass ahead. He is well beyond his years as far as basketball IQ.
He is far from a one man show. Cornerstone Christian has a ton of good players, and the scary part is, they return most of them, including second leading scorer Brandon McQueen, and fellow sophomore Jeremy Owens. They will be a force in Division IV next year as well.
So, remember the state championship for Cornerstone Christian. Remember that a sub .500 regular season record can still win a state championship. Remember what playing great competition does to a team come tournament time
Remember the name Michael Bothwell. He is the Cleveland area’s next breakout basketball star.