Sunday, November 11, 2007

Rocky Mount Telegram: Article about walk-on, Mike Schmitt

Schmitt earns his spot
Former RMA hoops standout walks on at Davidson

By Jessie H. Nunery
Rocky Mount Telegram

Sunday, November 11, 2007

When deciding where to attend college, former Rocky Mount Academy basketball standout Mike Schmitt chose the strong academics reputation of Davidson over hoops.

Schmitt did not completely give up on his dream of playing college basketball, however. So over the course of the summer, he worked on his game in hopes of walking on to one of the better mid-major programs in the country.

In late October, the Wildcats rewarded Schmitt's hard work. The former Eagle earned a walk-on spot and is now a member of the Davidson men's basketball team.

"It's so exciting," Schmitt said by telephone Thursday. "Running through the tunnel in Wednesday's exhibition, that's when it hit me. Having the crowd there, seeing my nameplate over my locker. I'm glad I put the effort in."

Schmitt is on a squad that features one of the nation's better scorers – sophomore guard Stephen Curry. The Wildcats advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season and they nearly knocked off Maryland in the first round.

Schmitt said he is spending time in practice as a member of the scout team and taking part in a number of individual drills. The Wildcats run a fastbreak offense based on screens and cuts. Schmitt said he sees an obvious difference in the style of play from prep to Division I.

"It's a huge adjustment from a level of physicalness," Schmitt said. "It's not high school anymore. Everyone of these players was one of the best on their high school teams. It's a great time to be a part of Davidson College basketball."

Davidson has a challenging schedule, which includes the likes of ACC programs Duke, North Carolina and N.C. State. Schmitt has not seen any playing time yet, but hopes to play in a few games toward the middle of the season.

Schmitt's jersey was retired at RMA last season after he became the school's alltime leading scorer. He finished his career with 2,048 points and 1,108 rebounds.

"From where he was in middle school to now, he's worked really hard," RMA athletics director/boys' basketball coach Renny Taylor said. "He's improved each and every year. He had the determination. I'm very happy for him."

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