The last two weeks of July means we're nearing the end of the AAU season, and it's also one of the most stressful times of the year for college coaches.
Besides this signaling the final stages of high-level competition, after July 27, members of college staffs will have to wait over a month before evaluating prospects or recruit them off campus. By that time, coaches will be more heavily invested in spending time with their current teams rather than potential members of future teams.
With that in mind, virtually every major college head coach was in attendance at the EYBL Finals, otherwise known as the Nike Peach Jam. The final session of the Nike AAU circuit included two Ohio State commits and one Buckeye target.
Russ Daum – who you can find on Twitter, @RussDaum2 – also took in some of the action and provided Eleven Warriors a detailed scouting report on many of the recruits who played in the Peach Jam.
In part one of his thorough Peach Jam analysis, he watched Buckeye pledge commit Mickey Mitchell compete with the Texas Titans.
Mitchell Affecting Games In Many Ways
Surrounded by a team with three guards committed to Big XII schools – Avery Johnson Jr., King McClure and Alex Robinson – as well as two highly-rated forwards – Tyler Davis and D.J. Hogg – Mickey Mitchell has taken on the task of distributing the basketball.
Scouts say few do it better than Mitchell:
Ohio State commit Mickey Mitchell sees the floor & puts his passes on the money. Tremendous passer.— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) July 19, 2014
2015 F Mickey Mitchell best court vision in his class, and he's a 6"7 wing.— AAU Basketball (@AAUHoop) July 21, 2014
We were all amazed by his athletic prowess on film, particularly when he takes to the air in the open court, but he put together an equally impressive passing display during AAU competition. Opponents know this and try to slow his team down in transition. This was the case when Daum watched Mitchell against the Jackson Tigers.
"Mitchell didn't get a lot done to stuff the stat sheet with in this game. In the first half, he was on the wing most of the time offensively," Daum said. "His job appeared to be to move the ball via the pass and to man in the high-post position versus a zone."
According to Daum, Ohio State head coach Thad Matta and assistant Dave Dickerson were also watching Mitchell in this game, and saw the more understated aspects in his repertoire.
"To appreciate the context encasing the style Mitchell uses to play it's important to know how the Titans are built. Hogg is the best scoring option Mitchell's team has. Davis is a true post player who can easily hold his position on the block," Daum said. "The meat of Mitchell's play is built on basic fundamental plays where he makes the leap ahead in his head to create positive offensive plays by anticipating the current of action surrounding him and basing his next move on his best guess of what will occur."
Traditionally, as Daum said, Mitchell becomes more of a focal-point for his team's offense in the second half. That appeared to be the case in the Peach Jam.
"Mitchell essentially takes over handling the ball at the top of the offense in second half situations ... he excels at breaking down defenses from that spot," Daum said. "Mitchell can score if you give him a lane and he can get a shot off under heavy pressure, but his forte is drawing the defense and dropping off a pass to a Davis for a dunk or to Hogg on the perimeter for three."
In averaging six points per AAU contest, he was clearly not prolific in the scoring column, but Mitchell did produce 4.2 assists per game. He's a true his triple-double threat, also averaging 4.9 rebounds this season.
That versatility and unselfishness is what Daum said is most alluring about Mitchell's game.
"He wants to win and knows there's work to be done outside the glamor of scoring the ball while garnering style points," Daum said. "He'll make everybody around him better."
That was not enough for the Texas Titans, however, as they fell to the eventual Peach Jam champion NJ Playaz in the Elite Eight of bracket play. Still, during the course of the AAU season, Mitchell filled up a highlight reel, as well as the many columns on the stat sheet:
King transferring Out of State
In non-Peach Jam news, former St. Vincent-St. Mary wing V.J. King is transferring to Paul VI in Fairfax, Virginia.
The five-star Buckeye target will depart LeBron James' alma mater for a school San Diego Chargers wide receiver Eddie Royal briefly attended. Essentially, the state of Ohio traded a King for a King.
How this will affect the Buckeyes' recruiting effort is up for debate. For right now, they're in solid standing with King, who also has offers from Arizona, Connecticut, Georgetown and Michigan State.
"I’ve talked to all the schools, but I don’t really have a personal relationship with any of the colleges," King recently told SNY.tv. "I have a relationship with Ohio State because they [were] the hometown team, but that’s about it."