Mitchell making wise move
In most cases, I consider it ridiculous to change high schools because of a sport.
I will leave his name out of it, but several years ago I saw the same young man practice with three different schools before deciding where to play football his senior year.
Union County has tried to police transfers in the past, but it doesn't seem to do much good.
When athletics take priority over academics, it's time to re-evaluate.
Given Shelton Mitchell's situation, however, I soften my stance against school shopping.
Mitchell made the right decision to leave Cuthbertson High for Oak Hill Academy in Virginia after his junior year because he has a chance to make basketball a lucrative career.
To his credit, Cuthbertson coach Mike Helms isn't bitter about losing the best player he's ever coached a year early. He knows the move is in Mitchell's best interest, and doesn't take it personally.
Mitchell has already agreed to a full scholarship with Wake Forest, and that's worth more than $50,000 per year.
He has a chance to make a lot more than that eventually, but needs to be pushed on a daily basis.
Oak Hill is the best basketball school in the nation, so this is a great opportunity for him to expand his game.
A 6-3 lefty point guard, Mitchell has whirled his way to the rim at will the last two seasons. He needs to go up against guys that can take away his favorite moves and make him develop more counter moves. That wasn't happening around here.
Like millions of teen-agers, Mitchell dreams of playing in the NBA.
It's a pipe dream for most, but attainable for Mitchell. He has a lot of the tools it takes to get there.
If Mitchell doesn't make the NBA, his poor shooting form will be the primary reason.
Mitchell pulls the ball behind his head before releasing his jump shot, and that makes coaches cringe — poor shooting form magnifies misses.
Mitchell needs a shot doctor to correct his elongated shooting motion, and the longer he waits the longer it will take for him to adjust.
Steph Curry is the best shooter in the world right now, and he has a fluid, effortless stroke that starts an inch from the corner of his right eye.
Mitchell should mimic Curry's silky stroke.
Defensively, Mitchell has to learn how to sit in a stance and slide his feet. And I've watched him play dozens of times, but never seen him take a charge or earn a floor burn.
When that's what it takes to win games, Mitchell will develop those under-appreciated skills.
I don't normally scrutinize high school athletes, but I view Mitchell as a pro prospect who needs to get on his horse if he's going to be an impact player in the NBA.
I have coached or coached against a lot of NBA guards over the last couple decades. Mitchell isn't as good as Chris Paul was at the same age, but further along than Eric Maynor.
He's more skilled than Jerry Stackhouse was at 16, but not as athletic or physically imposing. I would have taken Mitchell over Seth Curry at the same age, but not over Steph.
Maynor, Stackhouse and the Curry brothers all had flaws in their games that they worked out before becoming draft-worthy players.
Rashad McCants was more talented than any of those guys as a teen-ager, but he barely had time for a cup of coffee in the NBA because he doesn't like to be coached.
Antawn Jamison didn't like being coached at that age either, but he grew up.
Mitchell isn't as physically gifted as McCants or Stackhouse, but he has a chance to be better than Maynor and Seth Curry one day.
It would have been more comfortable for Mitchell to stick around and take his bows as a senior at Cuthbertson.
He's made a wise decision to seek out uncomfortable competition.