By JERAMY STOVER, Staff Reporter
If having his best season statistically wasn’t enough, Jamiel Strickland made it even more special by reaching a milestone each college basketball player dreams of.
Strickland eclipsed the 1000 point mark in his career in the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s 84-74 win over Marygrove College on Jan. 24.
“It’s a blessing honestly,” Strickland said. “I am happy, but more happy about the win today and the love my teammates showed me after the game. It’s special to share it with your basketball family.”
He had one of his best games of the season, scoring 20 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists. With Darryl Mobley Jr. sidelined and Paul Standtke missing the first half, the senior guard stepped up in a critical game that his team had to win.
Strickland is known as a lead by example player who lets his play do the talking. If there was a definition to the term “senior guard”, Paul Standtke believes Strickland’s picture would be right next to it.
“He’s very calm and always steady. (He) seems to me to be so even-keeled and always is going to give us about the same numbers every night,” Standtke said. “He’s the definition of what a senior guard is supposed to be for a team.”
Strickland is averaging 12.9 points per game this season and 2.7 assists per game, which are both career highs. He is nearly making half of his shots on the season and sinking 45.2 percent of his three-point shots.
Strickland said he didn’t know he was approaching the milestone before the game and that an assistant coach made sure it stayed that way.
“Someone tried to bring it up and my assistant coach said do not say anything because it could lead to a bad shooting night. So I didn’t know,” Strickland said.
Strickland has been the catalyst for the Wolverines in many games throughout his career. His incredible passing and swift drive to the basket has helped make head coach Taylor Langley’s first year with the program a little easier. He has the highest respect from his teammates because they know when the ball is in his hands, he will do what is best for the team.
“We ride with him regardless of the result because he makes good decisions for the best interest of the team,” Standtke said.
Khalil Beidoun has been Strickland’s teammate since 2011, when they were both freshmen. Seeing Strickland everyday in practice and in games, Beidoun knows him not just as a player but as a person. And he knows that Strickland will bring his best game every night.
“He’s a great teammate, always trying to make his teammates better. Great leader, killer mentality,” Beidoun said. “When it comes down to the wire, (he’s) one of the most clutch players I’ve ever played with. He’s the type of player that will make a play when you need it. But more importantly, he’s a great person off the court who’s becoming a great friend.”
Winning is without question important to Strickland.
His Wolverine teams have never made the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference playoffs. He is looking to help lead UM-Dearborn to its first playoff appearance since 2010-11.
Strickland said he wants to be a part of something special that will hopefully lead to good things in the future for the program.
“It would show that I was able to be a part of something that hasn’t been done here often,” Strickland said. “It shows the goal I set out was achievable and we conquered that goal and lays out hope for years to come.”