Kelly Kline/Under Armour

Donovan Mitchell on his play this summer: ‘I realized I wasn’t giving my all’

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Kelly Kline/Under Armour

SUWANEE, Ga. — Donovan Mitchell has been one of the biggest revelations through the first two days of basketball at the Suwanee Sports Academy, home of Under Armour’s The Finals tournament.

On Wednesday, he put together what one veteran recruiting analyst said was the most impressive performance that he has seen this summer as he put up 27 points in a win for his team, The City. While Mitchell did not shoot the ball as well on Thursday, he did show off a well-rounded floor game, adding yet another plus mark in what has been an impressive spring and summer.

Mitchell has been a borderline top 100 recruit for a while and played his high school ball at Brewster Academy (New Hampshire) this past season, so saying that he broke out over the last couple of months probably isn’t accurate. Mitchell wasn’t some unknown kid, he just finally, as he put it, is “playing hard and I’m playing my game, it just happens to be in front of the right people at the right time.”

“That’s what it’s about,” he continued. “Eventually, you will get recognized for your game, and that’s what’s happening with me.”

Part of the problem was that Mitchell missed all of last summer with a broken wrist, but, he says, the injury made him better.

“Being out, I realized I wasn’t giving my all as much as I am now,” Mitchell said. “Seeing everyone playing, feeling like, ‘oh, man, I should be out there’. Getting that hunger back inside me, it’s coming out now.”

His play has had its benefits. Mitchell said that he has added offers from Georgetown, Villanova, FSU, Indiana, Memphis, USF and Louisville in recent weeks, to go along with the offers he already had from Providence, BC, Creighton, Iowa and Cincinnati. He’s already planning on making official visits to Indiana and Louisville, and has played every game at the UAA Finals in front of a who’s-who of college coaches.The recent success does have some drawbacks, however. Mitchell’s plans to start whittling down his recruitment have gone by the way side.

“I thought I was going to cut my list sooner, but now that my stock is rising I think I’ll wait it out a bit,” he said with a laugh.

Mitchell is a bright kid, easy to converse with and thoughtful when answering questions. It’s not hard for a recruit of his stature to get chewed up and spit out by the machine that is grassroots basketball, and up to this point, Mitchell has remained grounded enough to truly appreciate his final run through the circuit.

“Broke my wrist last summer and I was out all summer,” he said. “[This summer]’s my last time in AAU. I’m treasuring everything, every moment that I have. Once I get to college it’s a new beginning, I start all over again.”

“In the end, I’m playing AAU to have fun, to enjoy the last few months with these teammates. After that, I’ll assess colleges.”

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: A Big 12 and a Big Ten showdown

Denzel Valentine
(AP Photo/Al Goldis)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 West Virginia at No. 6 Kansas, 7:00 p.m.

The last time these two teams got together, West Virginia actually knocked off Kansas in Morgantown. It was the third time in the last three seasons that WVU has beaten KU at home. So there’s some revenge at stake here. But there’s also the whole Big 12 title race, which West Virginia currently leads. If the Mountaineers win tonight, they’ll be up by two games on Kansas with the tie breaker and just seven games left to play. The Jayhawks regular season title streak could be over if that happens.

THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 8 Michigan State at No. 18 Purdue, 7:00 p.m.

We think the Spartans are back to their early season form after wins over Maryland (at home), Northwestern, Rutgers and Michigan. If Michigan State really wants to prove something to the college basketball world, they will go into West Lafayette tonight and get a win. Denzel Valentine vs. Raphael Davis will be fun.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR

  1. Pitt will pay a visit to No. 12 Miami in a game the Panthers could really use a win in. Pitt hasn’t been the most consistent team in the country and without adding a few quality wins they could be looking at the bubble.
  2. Duquesne will be paying a visit to No. 19 Dayton, who moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 thanks to VCU’s loss on Saturday.
  3. Georgia is right there on the bubble, and they will have a chance to try and push themselves into a better spot when they play at No. 22 Kentucky tonight.
  4. Creighton probably has to win out to have a shot of making the NCAA tournament, and that includes tonight, when they host No. 5 Xavier.
  5. No. 7 Virginia will be hosting Virginia Tech, who picked off the Wahoos in Blacksburg earlier this year.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 1 Villanova at DePaul, 8:30 p.m.
  • No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.

 

PLAYER OF THE YEAR POWER RANKINGS: Buddy Hield isn’t going anywhere

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) drives to the basket as LSU guard Antonio Blakeney (2) defends in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
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It’s Tuesday, which means that it is once again time for the NBC Sports Player of the Year Power Rankings.

And you’ll be shocked to find out that Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield is still No. 1 in those rankings. By a pretty wide margin.

The rest of the top 10?

They can be found here, at the CBT FaceBook page. Follow that page for the countdown: