We already lost one Tony Mitchell to the NBA, as Alabama’s Mr. DVR made the decision to enter the NBA Draft last week after he was booted from the Crimson Tide program.
But for the other Tony Mitchell — North Texas’ potential lottery pick and a former member of Team USA’s U-19 squad — the future is still in doubt.
The 6-foot-9 native of Texas originally made the commitment to return to school for his sophomore season, but that decision came before former UNT head coach got the job as the head coach at LSU. Without Jones in the picture, it is a different story.
“He was down,” Dallas Pinkston coach Nick Smith told Yahoo! on Thursday. “He was like, ‘Man, I know Coach had to go because that’s his dream job, but everything seems like it’s messed up because the whole staff is going to be split up. I might as well leave and go to the NBA.'”
And, according to a couple of reports that came out in the past week, that’s the feel that the rest of the nation had as well. Jonathon Givony of Draft Express tweeted that Mitchell was all but out the door, while NBADraft.net wrote an entire post about Mitchell’s decision to leave school. But Mitchell, who originally committed to Missouri before being declared academically ineligible, seems to be smarter than your average Mean Green.
According to the post on The Dagger, Mitchell not only wants to compete in a camp this summer for top NBA Draft prospects, he is looking forward to taking a class this year on how to manage his money. And that’s a good thing, because Mitchell has the size, athleticism and talent to warrant a spot in the lottery if he continues to develop his game.
UNT has a chance to be very, very good next season. Rising junior Alzee Williams returns, as does Oklahoma State transfer Roger Franklin. Grambling transfer Justin Patton will finally be able to play as well. The x-factor — beyond Mitchell’s decision to return — will be if Jordan Williams and Chris Jones are able to stay in the lineup. They both missed the last 13 games last season after being declared academically ineligible.
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.