Wake's basketball program has found recent success recruiting top-level guards in its home state of North Carolina. Chris Paul, Ish Smith, CJ Harris and incoming 2012 guard Codi Miller-Mcintyre all came from the North Carolina pipeline of strong high school players. Wake's staff is hoping to continue this trend with 2014 point guard Shelton Mitchell.
Although only a sophomore, Mitchell has already shown why he can become an impact college player in the future. His talent and potential were on full display last Thursday night at the North Carolina 2A State Tournament in Greensboro. Mitchell stars for Cuthbertson High School, and he led his team to a 74-60 victory over West Stokes in the regional semi-finals.
The smooth lefty is a dynamic offensive player. He plays the game at his own speed and gets to his spots on the floor where he knows he can score. There are a lot of them. Whether he was pulling up and knocking down a mid-range jumper, or finishing in the lane with a soft floater, he proved he simply has a knack for scoring the ball. It showed in the box score, as he finished the game with 28 points on 8 of 12 shooting (1-1 from 3 and 11-12 from the free throw line).
Read more about Mitchell's game after the jump ...
At 6'3, Mitchell has the luxury of being able to shoot over smaller point guards defending him. And although only listed at 165 pounds, he has a deceptively strong, stocky build that allows him to finish through contact and use his strength when getting to the basket.
What impressed me most about Mitchell was how composed and mature he was on the court. Many times freshmen and sophomores will get rattled during games and play outside of their abilities, especially in a state tournament game. Never once did Mitchell lose his composure. During West Stokes' comeback in the second half, Mitchell acted as the vocal leader and got them back to playing good basketball. Simply put, he controlled the entire game. He did what a good point guard should do. He read what the defense was giving him and reacted. If there was an opportunity to run, he pushed in transition. If not, he settled into a half-court offense that pretty much featured him creating for himself or for others off the dribble.
All in all, Shelton Mitchell is a really impressive all-around basketball player. He has good handles, shoots the ball well and is a smart leader on the court. Put these things together, and you have an efficient player who helps his team win games. Wake sure could use more players like that.
According to a recent interview, Mitchell is hearing from NC State, Wake, South Carolina, Miami, Marquette, Missouri and Washington, among others. Those offers are sure to come reeling in, as he will only improve over the next couple years. As a note, Wake Forest coaches Jeff Bzdelik, Jeff Battle and Rusty LaRue were all at the game Thursday night. It's a good thing they're on him early.