Shelton Mitchell originally intended to play college basketball in the ACC, but the former top-100 point guard got out of his Letter of Intent to Wake Forest last spring once the school parted ways with former head coach Jeff Bzdelik.
Mitchell ended up at Vanderbilt for his freshman season but fell out of favor among a deep group of guards that included two additional freshmen in Wade Baldwin IV and Riley LaChance.
So Mitchell decided to transfer and now he will end up in the ACC as the guard will transfer to Clemson, according to a report from Paul Strelow of TigersIllustrated.com. Mitchell started 11 of the 31 games in which he played in 2014-15, averaging 4.3 points and 3.3 assists in 20 minutes of action per contest.
After sitting out a season due to NCAA transfer restrictions, Mitchell will have three years of eligibility remaining.
Clemson needed another play-making guard who can get in the lane and make plays this offseason and it appears they’ve fit that need with Mitchell. Although Mitchell can’t help replace departing senior guard Rod Hall, he can at least provide a lift in practice and he’ll have three years after to make an impact as the team’s point guard.
Vanderbilt went with a youth movement of sorts this season with a host of underclassmen going through what amounted to a “trial by fire” under head coach Kevin Stallings, and that’s expected to benefit the Commodores over the long haul.
One player who won’t be around to see the rebuilding process out is point guard Shelton Mitchell, who has decided to transfer. The news was announced by the Vanderbilt program Thursday morning, and Mitchell will have three years of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2015-16 campaign at the school of his choosing.
“I have decided to transfer from Vanderbilt for personal reasons,” Mitchell said in the release. “I loved my basketball experience at Vanderbilt playing for Coach Stallings and his staff and with a great group of guys we have on this team.
“However, I feel it is in my best interests to continue my college education elsewhere. I want to thank Coach, the fans, and my teammates for the support they’ve given me during my stay at Vanderbilt.”
Mitchell started 11 of the 31 games in which he played in 2014-15, averaging 4.3 points and 3.3 assists in 20 minutes of action per contest. He was one of three guards utilized by Stallings in the role of playmaker, with classmates Wade Baldwin IV and Riley LaChance being the others (and LaChance was the team’s best perimeter shooter).
Those two return in 2015-16, as does classmate Matthew Fisher-Davis, and the Commodores add two more guards in freshman Camron Justice and Cornell transfer Nolan Cressler. Cressler averaged 16.8 points and 4.2 rebounds per game in 2013-14 at Cornell. Given their perimeter depth Vanderbilt will be able to absorb the loss of Mitchell, and their deep front court led by rising junior Damian Jones makes the Commodores a possible Top 25 team in 2015-16.
These dunks are the best, mostly because they come out of nowhere.
Shelton Mitchell picked up his dribble at the three-point line, split two defenders and dunked over a third defender at the rim.
That doesn’t happen:
Over the last two seasons Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings has dealt with a significant amount of turnover within his program. There have been transfers, dismissals and even a player returning to his native Germany to begin his professional career. Those changes have resulted in the Commodores fielding one of the youngest rosters in the SEC, with five freshmen joining the program and their leading returning scorer being sophomore Damian Jones.
During the team’s media day Wednesday Stallings discussed the state of his program, with much of the conversation focused on the newcomers and how they’ve begun their careers at Vanderbilt. In a story written by Adam Sparks of The Tennessean, Stallings spoke about the freshmen in relation to players who have left the program before their eligibility expired in recent years.
“I guess I wouldn’t be able to answer that question without being derogatory to the people that have been here,” Stallings said. “We’ve got guys that will do what they’re supposed to do when they’re supposed to do it, and they’re going to try their best to do what we as coaches want. I think for that reason, the future is really bright for this group of guys because our entire team is that way.
“I haven’t had to worry about something on the weekend, haven’t had to worry about anything in the classroom, haven’t had to worry about anything in the dorm, and it’s a pretty fun job when the biggest thing I have to worry about is trying to get them better on defense. That’s where we’re at, and that’s where we’re going to stay.”
The five freshmen in the Vanderbilt program aren’t lacking for talent either, with Wade Baldwin IV and Shelton Mitchell leading the quintet. They’ll certainly take their lumps, and with that being the case veterans such as Jones and senior James Siakam will need to do their part to help the freshmen get acclimated to Division I basketball.
After two seasons of instability in Nashville, the hope is that this group of underclassmen can help place Vanderbilt back on solid ground. Based upon Stallings’ words at media day, it seems as if they’re off to a decent start. The key now is to ensure that this remains the case once the season begins.
One of the top available players in the 2014 class, point guard Shelton Mitchell has become a popular prospect since making the decision to request a release from the National Letter of Intent he signed to attend Wake Forest.
Multiple schools have contacted Mitchell since, and according to Jack LeGwin of ZagsBlog two are in line to host him on official visits this spring. Those two schools are California, which has a new head coach of its own in Cuonzo Martin, and Vanderbilt. However no dates were given in the interview, with Mitchell stating that he plans to take a visit next week.
“Cal, Oregon, Vanderbilt, Purdue, Cincinnati, Tennessee, all of the schools in Charlotte have shown interest,” Mitchell told SNY.tv at the Josh Level Classic on Friday. “I’m just looking for a good program, but I’m also looking for a school where I could get a good education. I’m looking for a good relationship with the coaching staff, because I am a point guard, so we need to be on the same page.”
With regards to California, the chase for Mitchell is a very important one given the recent release of Ahmaad Rorie from his NLI. Without Rorie the Golden Bears are down to rising sophomore Sam Singer as a primary ball-handler, with rising junior Tyrone Wallace being an occasional option to give Singer a breather.
If they can get Mitchell that would give Cal a much-needed infusion of depth at the point guard position (and the talent won’t hurt either). As for Vanderbilt the Commodores are in a similar position at the point, with incoming freshman Riley LaChance being the most likely option.
However it should be noted that Kedren Johnson, who was not enrolled in school last season after being suspended by the school, left the door open for a return in his letter of apology last July. Whether or not Johnson rejoins the program remains to be seen, but it would be a nice boost for the Commodores on the perimeter.
But regardless of what happens with Johnson it’s clear that Mitchell would help Vanderbilt as well, making the 2014 product an important piece for both programs he’s looking to visit with in the near future.