I have seen a lot of kids over the past couple of months I thought were notable to put into an article. Little did I know that on Friday night I would witness basketball in a different form. 6’3 Senior Guard and Alabama Basketball commit Devin Mitchell from Collins Hill High School, gave not just myself and broadcast partner Kurt Johnson a show, but a game I’m sure scouts would gladly like to like to have highlight tape of!
1) 27 points (12 of them came off four 3 pointers) – despite a game that came up as a defeat for Collins Hill (and no loss of regional seeding), Devin was the only player able to come up with some real offense. This is never a bad thing for the most part especially considering the ball was in his hands for most of the game…. Literally! This is where the magic part comes in; Mitchell found many ways to get to the rim, and find open spaces to take a jumper. Although there were a few open looks that just wouldn’t go, he’s incredibly crafty at trying to get a bucket. One thing I love about this kid as well is that he’s not afraid of contact or getting his shot blocked and each time he would take it up stronger. He was denied at the rim before, but the next time coming down he put up a pretty reverse layup to use the rim as a shield against the defender and got points on the board. Remember how I said he hit four 3’s? One of them was taken from the parking lot! Yes! Range is not a problem for this young man as he showed he could literally pull from anywhere, and I kid you not. That shot was maybe 2, no more than 3 steps across the half court line.
2) Athleticism/Stamina – “Kurt, if I recall I only remember him coming out of the game one time?” I said to my partner. He replied, “He doesn’t look tired one bit.” The strange truth is he really didn’t. Number 23 stayed on the floor regardless of what the situation was. He sat for maybe a minute or two, and got right back in to eventually finish the night around the 2 1/2 minute mark with 27 of Collins Hill’s 45 points, and 4 fouls…. The best part of this breakdown however, was that he still played the same every trip down the floor. Despite his jumper not falling every single shot, or being stopped at the rim a time or two , and all the spins and step backs produced, he played the exact same throughout the game. He even had to inbound the ball on darn near every possession, and taking it out underneath your own basket is not an easy task. Especially when you have to make a good enough pass, quickly get back in and receive the ball to run a teams offense. That being said, he had 3 And-1 plays, with relentless effort to get to the rim. That is heart at it’s finest.
All In All: There’s a reason this kid was recruited to Alabama, and if you missed it Friday night there’s a chance you can see Collins Hill in the region tournament. One thing I would like to see him do in the future is continue to play with the same hustle and takeover mentality. College ball is about teamwork and spirit yes, but those who show the drive to take over a game will be the ones who standout for NBA scouts. Another thing I want to see him do is maintain security of the ball, keep his awareness of the passing lanes to avoid turnovers. In college hoops, and everywhere, turnovers are deadly and cause a lot of grief.
This is someone I have definitely enjoyed watching. Next up to bat, his Jr. brother Jalen Mitchell. The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree when it comes to talent in this family as it shows. It does make me wonder though. What would it be like for a player of Devin’s caliber if he had chosen to put on a Bulldogs uniform next season? Well regardless, a congratulations to play D-1 basketball is in full order, and if you have a chance to stop by Suwanee next week for the 7AAAAAA tourney, you won’t be disappointed.
Matthew Buggs reporting on behalf of CBS Radio and Atlanta Sportsradio 92.9 The Game.