The class of 2006 is loaded with towering big men but Jon Mitchell, a 6-foot-6, 233-pound power forward from Mt. Vernon (N.Y.) High School, could fit in perfectly with the rising senior class. The class of 2005 boasts a number of undersized power forwards but Mitchell is still playing like he’s one of the biggest players on the court. College recruiters like his blue-collar effort and continue to keep tabs on the youngster.
Mitchell shined as a freshman and sophomore at the height but now that he’s still relatively the same size, he’s adapting to being one of the shorter guys in the paint.
“I’m trying to move my jump shot more out to the 15 to 18 foot range. I can take my man to the bucket but I know that at my height, I need to extend my shot some more,” Mitchell said. “I’d have to say my best trait is my versatility. I’m a post man but I think I can do a lot more than that. There aren’t a lot of 6-9, 6-10 post dudes anymore, so I could keep playing inside.”
The left-handed post player is much like the players in the class of 2005. There are a dozen high-major power forwards that are 6-foot-7 or shorter. Mitchell could have fit right in. He did at the Peach Jam when he shined for the Metro Hawks. Mitchell was amongst the top scorers and rebounders at the Nike-sponsored event in mid-July.
College coaches have known about Mitchell for some time. He’s already garnered interest from a number of elite programs.
“I’ve heard from Duke, UConn, NC State, Notre Dame, Marquette, Kentucky and some others,” Mitchell said. “About 85% of them talk to my coach and tell him they love me.”
He says Seton Hall, Pitt and St. John’s have all offered. As Mitchell sifts through the offers and interest, he knows he is looking for a school with a familiar, and stable, face in the basketball office.
“For me, the big thing is how long has the coach been at that school. Will he be around for me when I get there? That means a lot. If they aren’t going to be around, then I don’t know if I want to play there.”
Mitchell said he is no rush for a decision and doesn’t have any timetable. He’s more concerned with improving game by game.
“My goal at the end of the summer was top be in the top 10 in the country,” Mitchell said. “I hope I am. If not, I have to just keep playing hard.”