Thursday, January 23, 2014

Brewster Academy's Donovan Mitchell Heating Up

Donovan Mitchell’s game has always been a bit ahead of his time.

When he was 13, Mitchell was hammering down ferocious two-handed dunks with regularity.

When he was 14, Mitchell went one-on-one against Golden State Warriors forward David Lee at Lee’s camp in Westchester County, entertaining a sea of wide-eyed onlookers.

By the time he was a freshman in high school Mitchell was sporting size 17 sneakers, turning in plays which only rarified athletes can pull off.

Now a humble junior at Brewster Academy (N.H.), the 6-foot-3, 185-pound guard holds countless offers.

“He’s got about 14 schools coming after him pretty hard,” said Mitchell’s father, Donovan Mitchell Sr.

“There’s Cincinnati, Providence, UConn, Syracuse has given him a call, Iowa, Kansas, Florida, I’m probably missing a few more, but those are the looks out there right now. He’s doing well with it. He’s enjoying the process. We’re enjoying what he’s going through. We’ve pretty much allowed him to handle the process, we haven’t really had to step in.”

A cerebral, hard-driving guard, Mitchell has developed a reliable mid-range jumper to supplement his surges to the rack.

Which aspect of Mitchell’s game has changed the past two years? His aggression and knack for turning in big plays at the opportune time.

Now there are zero traces of trepidation in his well-balanced game, not a speck.

“I think one of the things that has happened is he believes in himself a little bit more,” said Mitchell Sr.

“I remember when he played with The City (AAU), he wasn’t sure when he should shoot. He deferred a little bit. That’s key, he does believe in himself now and he’s confident.”

That much was evident during Mitchell’s 21-point showing in an engaging 83-79 loss to St. Thomas More (CT).

 Mitchell was matched up against his tight childhood friend and AAU teammate, Fordham-commit Eric Paschall.

Paschall, a high-riser who chose Fordham over West Virginia and a bevy of programs, has helped push Mitchell’s ascension.

“When I saw at the jump ball that Donovan was sticking Eric, I was thinking in my head, ‘this can either go really good or really bad,” Mitchell Sr. said with laughter.

“It was the first time Donovan and Eric had to go up against each other head-to-head, in that kind of environment. It was one of the most exciting games I’ve been around. I rooted for both of them, even when Eric was scoring I found myself saying ‘great shot.’"

During a recent 97-49 slaying of Brigton Academy, Mitchell scored 15 points and dealt out eight assists.

 Perhaps Mitchell's most complete game occurred during a 95-64 throttling of Kiski (PA) during the National Prep Showcase in New Haven, Conn.

 Mitchell scored 19 points, tore down eight rebounds, and triggered all sorts of disruption on the defensive end.

He fractured the opponent’s ball movement, coming up with five steals.

Utilizing his athleticism in the passing lanes, Mitchell instigated turnovers, spurring a steady transition attack.

Teammate Kevin Zabo, who’s headed to San Diego State scored 18 points. Georgetown-commit Isaac Copeland added 16 points and nine boards.

Mitchell Sr. starred as a baseball player at Alexander Hamilton High (Elmsford, N.Y.). He played second base in the Houston Astros organization and is currently the Director Of Player Operations for the NY Mets.  

Initially, Mitchell Sr. thought baseball would be the route his son would take.

When he introduced Donovan Jr. to basketball, however, there was no turning back.

After going up against Paschall and Rutgers-bound Mike Williams throughout AAU practice, Mitchell now finds himself flanked by even more Division-I talent. It has accelerated his production rate.

"Mitchell possesses crazy hops, but he's always a threat to score because he can slice through defenders and really hang on his jumper," explained Terry Teachout, a Westchester County-based shooting coach known for a four-year career at Duquesne.
"He can really rise. He likes it up there. He can get out on the break. He has the upside of a great stock. He will get better and better."