If recruiting rankings were the only indicator of how high school basketball prospects will translate to the next level, Plano (TX) forward Mickey Mitchell may not translate as a top recruit. Luckily for the Buckeye faithful, there are more facets in evaluating talent than just rankings. Mitchell comes into Columbus with a four-star ranking from ESPN, but could possibly be a five-star had it not been for a torn ACL during a football game his sophomore year. The 6'7", 225 pounder played quarterback in high school and was injured towards the end of his sophomore season.
After transferring and solely focusing on basketball, Mitchell spent the majority of his upperclassmen years proving doubters that he can still play to the ability of a top prospect. With the size of a forward and the skills of a guard, Mickey Mitchell will provide versatility in Columbus.
Mitchell has a terrific blend of size, strength, quickness and flare to his game. With ideal height for the small forward position, and the physicality to play power forward, Mitchell's most important facet to his game is versatility. He can put the ball on the floor and create for himself from the three point line like a guard and can create space down on the low block.
The Texas native is an unbelievable passer for someone his size and could very well be looked at as a point forward in the coming years. Mitchell loves getting his teammates involved and has fun doing it. The no-look pass, behind the back passes and long, accurate bounce passes are deep in his skill set and should stick with him in Columbus. Creating mismatch problems for opposing defenses is something that's pedestrian to Mitchell. His ball-handling allows him to initiate the offense and create for himself or others. Most opposing big men couldn't keep up with him in the high school ranks, partly because of his strength to bully them out of the way.
Areas for Improvement
Mitchell needs to improve his on-ball defense in order to fully become a good defender. At 225 pounds, there could be a chance he guards wing players once he steps into Big Ten play. If that's the case, he'll need to improve his foot speed and lateral quickness in order to improve his one-on-one defensive skills.
With his versatility to play multiple positions, there will need to be a readiness to guard multiple positions as well. He may be called upon to guard power forwards in college depending on matchups and will need to improve his lower body strength in order to be an acceptable post defender.
Mitchell probably won't start right away with Marc Loving at small forward and Jae'Sean Tate at power forward, but there will be minutes for him as a key reserve if he can prove he's healed from his ACL injury and displays the confidence and ability that made him a top recruit in the 2015 class at one point. Head coach Thad Matta allows his players a free style of play as long as they compete on the defensive end. If Mitchell can exhibit a strong commitment to defending, the sky is the limit for his offensive potential.