Arizona, Connecticut offer Cavs' Mitchell
Arizona and Connecticut have joined the list of major colleges offering a full basketball scholarship to Cuthbertson High’s Shelton Mitchell.
Just a junior, the 6-3 point guard now has offers from a dozen major colleges including: Wake Forest, Illinois, Memphis, Clemson, Missouri, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Washington, Charlotte and Mississippi State.
Cuthbertson coach Mike Helms said Mitchell showed no emotion on Monday morning when he shared the news that Arizona and Connecticut both offered.
Helms loves his star’s unassuming attitude.
“Nothing fazes this kid,” Helms said. “It’s been amazing how he handles all the attention. He doesn’t show a lot of excitement about anything. We’ll have ACC head coaches sitting at practice or a game and he doesn’t pay them any attention. He’ll talk to them for a minute after the game and then run off with his friends.”
Three of the schools with offers on the table are ranked among the top 12 in the nation by the Associated Press — Arizona (8th), Illinois (10th) and Missouri (12th).
Two other ranked teams — No. 23 North Carolina and No. 25 N.C. State — have shown interest in Mitchell but have not offered a scholarship.
Mitchell wasn’t raised in ACC country — he moved to North Carolina from the state of Washington in middle school — so his recruitment isn’t limited to this region, according to Helms.
“Shelton didn’t grow up loving the ACC, he grew up loving the Washington Huskies,” Helms said. “One thing we’ve talked about is that he shouldn’t make his decision based on just feeling. Because he isn’t emotional about being recruited, I think it will allow him to make a wise choice.”
Mitchell is considered a four-star recruit by most recruiting services. ESPN ranks Mitchell the fifth-best point guard in the class of 2014 and their No. 21 prospect overall among high school juniors.
Helms said he asked Mitchell last summer if there were any schools he wasn’t hearing from that he might be interested in attending. Mitchell’s response was “Arizona.”
Helms let the Arizona coaching staff know Mitchell is from the West coast and likes their school, and an offer ensued.
Mitchell can’t sign until November of his senior year, and told The Enquirer-Journal last winter he wanted to weigh all his options before making a decision.
“I’ve been really impressed with how Shelton’s handled all this,” Helms said. “He’s not walking around like ‘Look at me.’ The kids appreciate that, respect that about him. It goes a long way in keeping jealousy down. Shelton’s a good teammate.”
Mitchell led the Cavaliers to the 2A state championship game last season and a 31-2 finish.
Helms said one of the “neatest things” about last season was what happened the day after it ended.
“We lost on a Saturday afternoon and on Sunday afternoon half the team was playing pickup ball together,” Helms said. “They were disappointed, but they were right back together.”
The Cavs, who returned their top six scorers, opened the 2012-13 season with a 6-0 record.
Mitchell missed the Cavs’ first two conference games with a thumb injury, and it has given others a chance to shine.
Senior guard Zach Chitwood scored a career-high 26 points in Monday’s 113-40 win at North Stanly. Chitwood made 5-of-6 3-point attempts and also passed out four assists.
Mitchell is the only double-digit scorer on the team at more than 21 points per game, while seven others average between five and nine points per game.
“They’re an unselfish group,” Helms said. “They like each other, and a great locker room goes a long way.”
Cuthbertson plays three times this week. In addition to Tuesday’s game at Marvin Ridge (see details on Web site), the Cavaliers host Weddington on Friday.