Tag: Akil Mitchell


Despite losing Joe Harris early, Virginia bounces back with a win at Florida State

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The last time we saw the Virginia Cavaliers in action Tony Bennett’s squad looked bad, as they were outclassed on both ends Monday night in a blowout loss at Tennessee. With their best win coming at the expense of SMU, the Cavaliers entered ACC play in need of more quality wins. But who are the Cavaliers? A team many felt had the pieces needed to contend in the ACC didn’t have the results to match that belief, and their conference opener at Florida State didn’t have the appearance of a game Virginia could use to get back on track.

That wasn’t the case in Tallahassee on Saturday evening, as Virginia limited the Seminoles to 17 first-half points in their 62-50 victory. What makes the result even more impressive is the fact that they lost leading scorer Joe Harris to an injury just over two minutes into the game.

Offensively Virginia was balanced, with Justin Anderson leading four players in double figures with 16 points and Akil Mitchell grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds. The Cavaliers also grabbed 39.5% of its misses, taking advantage of an opponent that entered the game allowing an ACC-worst offensive rebounding percentage of 33.9%.

But with the Cavaliers shooting just 32.8% from the field, it was their defense that made the difference on Saturday. Florida State shot 30.8% from the field and 4-for-14 from beyond the arc, with the field goal percentage being well below the 48.7% Leonard Hamilton’s team was shooting entering Saturday. Add in 16 Seminole turnovers and it’s easy to see why Virginia was able to find a way to pick up a valuable win on the road.

So, who is Virginia? Honestly that remains a difficult question to answer, given the gap between their two performances this week. And there’s also the Harris injury to consider, because for as effective as Virginia was without him on Saturday they need him on the floor. We may still be without a definitive answer as to who the Cavaliers are and what their potential is but there’s still the talent needed to be a factor in the ACC, with Saturday’s result serving as a reminder.

College Basketball Talk’s Ten Most Disappointing Players

NIT Season Tip-Off
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source: Getty Images

Preseason prognostication is, more or less, a guessing game.

The picks that the so-called experts — myself included — make are educated and generally well-researched, but they’re still guess. And oftentimes, those guesses end up wrong. 

Through a month of the season, who did we swing-and-miss on the most?:


Luke Hancock, Louisville: Maybe our expectations for Hancock were too high heading into the season given that he was basically a role player prior to the Final Four. But even as a role player, Hancock isn’t doing his job. He’s shooting 31.4% from the floor and 22.9% from three.

Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell, Virginia: The ‘Hoos have been one of the most disappointing teams this season and it’s mainly due to the play of Harris and Mitchell. Harris is averaging 11.3 points this season, five point less than a year ago, while Mitchell’s numbers are down to 6.3 points and 4.8 boards.

Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III, Michigan: No one is feeling the loss of Trey Burke like these two. McGary’s struggles we can explain away as a back injury. GR3? Well, he’s been exposed as a spot-up shooting athlete that is either unable or unwilling to attack the basket off the bounce. He may end up regretting not leaving for the NBA after last season.

James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina: McAdoo is a freak athlete, but maybe it’s time to accept that he’s just never going to morph into the star that we all expect him to be. But if he does? Think about it like this: North Carolina beat Louisville and Michigan State when he combined to go 6-for-22 from the floor.

Alex Poythress, Kentucky: Poythress has become the Invisible Man for the Wildcats. He’s buried in Kentucky’s front court rotation, which means he’s been forced to play on the perimeter. He’s not a perimeter player. He’s averaging 4.8 points and 6.2 boards and coming off of a scoreless six minutes against Baylor.

Joshua Smith, Georgetown: Smith has been good for Georgetown this season. He’s been averaging 13.6 points, drawing fouls and taking up space in the middle of the floor. But he’s playing less than 20 minutes a night, not a presence on the glass and an atrocious defender. He has the ability to dominate, but he’s not.

Rasheed Sulaimon, Duke: Sulaimon has fallen way out of favor with the Duke coaching staff. He took the dreaded DNP-CD in Duke’s win over Michigan, and the likes of Tyler Thornton and Matt Jones have passed him in the rotation. He’s averaging 3.4 points over his last seven games.

Gabe York, Arizona: York came out on fire this season, which is part of the reason that his recent struggles have been a disappointment. In the five games since putting 20 on Fairleigh Dickinson, he’s averaging 5.0 points and shooting 5-for-17 from three.

Spurned by GW, Akil Mitchell is standing tall at UVA

Akil Mitchell
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When Anthony Mitchell thinks his son needs a little push, he whispers a name in his ear.

“Karl Hobbs”

This might seem strange, since Hobbs is currently the Director of Basketball Operations at UConn, and Akil Mitchell is a senior forward for Tony Bennett at Virginia, but there’s a story behind it all. A story well-told by the Washington Post, reporting from ACC Media Days.

Though he grew up in Charlotte, Mitchell’s family hails from the Washington area and he had his sights set on playing his college basketball there. In the Colonials, led by former Coach Karl Hobbs at the time, he saw a program that appreciated how he blossomed after a late growth spurt during his junior year of high school.
Until, that is, George Washington’s coaches called him and his father into an office after he had trekked to Washington for a campus visit. Hobbs informed them he was pulling Mitchell’s scholarship offer, because “he was kind of trying to put a team together that would save the program and he didn’t think I was the guy that would help them right away,” Akil said.
Akil Mitchell’s father told the Post that a reminder of that slight usually provokes a double-double from his son in the next game.
In a way, you can kind of see where Hobbs was coming from. He wanted immediate contributors, and MItchell was, admittedly, a bit raw as a big man coming out of high school. When Tony Bennett offered Mitchell a scholarship late in the process, he was showing vision and patience. Mitchell thought he was a wing forward, but Bennett took the time to turn him into a post presence and a crucial piece of this year’s UVA squad, which is considered an ACC contender.With Mitchell doing the dirty work on the inside, Joe Harris sniping from the perimeter, and a talented supporting cast, it would appear that Bennett’s vision of what could be was ahead of its time. Wanna bet Hobbs wishes he had a do-over?