Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Draft Profile: Mid-Major Potential Sleeper Tony Mitchell

In the run-up to the 2013 NBA Draft on June 27, the BDD staff will be profiling several projected lottery picks and other draft entrants. Next up: Tony Mitchell.

Tony Mitchell has the athletic ability, but does he have the drive? (meangreenblog.dentonrc.com)

Position: Power Forward
College: North Texas
DraftExpress Prediction: No. 24 in first round, No. 24 overall to the New York Knicks

Synopsis: While most players enter the NBA Draft too early and before they are ready, Tony Mitchell most likely would have benefited, at least in draft stock, from leaving for the NBA after his freshman year. Instead, Mitchell stayed for a second season at North Texas and while he still put up solid numbers, he took a step back from his freshman year when many expected him to excel. Still, and extra year to mature and work on his game in college should only help Mitchell, who is still considered a first-round pick in the draft and a strong power forward.

Mitchell made a name for himself first nationally as a shot blocker, and he is definitely built for blocking shots. Mitchell measured just under 6'9" tall and 236 pounds, but with a 7'2.5" wingspan. The Mean Green player averaged three blocks per game during his freshman year, making him one of the best in the nation. This led to more recognition of the rest of his game, as he averaged 14.7 points and 10.3 rebound per game in his first season with North Texas. Those numbers slipped this last year, down to 13.2 ppg, 8.5 rpg and 2.7 blocks, but some of this could be due in part to a coaching change. As a team, North Texas struggled last season with new coach Tony Benford, taking a dramatic step backward from being in the championship game of the Sun Belt tournament Mitchell's freshman year to a 7-13 conference record under Benford last year.

The hype is there, as SB Nation writer Jonathan Tjarks compares Mitchell to Paul George in that they are both 6'9" talents that are somewhat sleeper picks and may have been overshadowed due to the fact they played on mid-major teams with losing records. But questions still remain about Mitchell's effort, ones that he himself has addressed and will need to prove to coaches and general managers. Mitchell told Chris Mannix Sports Illustrated,  “Our season was so tough, I couldn’t get up for games, somewhat. We had a losing record, and it was hard. My effort was up and down. It should have been straight. There is no excuse. It definitely hurt my stock." If Mitchell can keep his motivation and drive up, he has the athletic build and ability to make a team glad it took a chance on the question marks.

Quote to Note: “Really, it’s a question mark. They just don’t know. I have to show it. I can’t talk about it anymore. I’ve accepted it. I have expectations, and I have to live up to them." - Mitchell on the questions regarding his effort and getting up for games, also from the Mannix story for Sports Illustrated.

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