Hoops Recruiting Notebook: Mitchell, Dominant Plano West Squad Roll into Texas Playoffs

By Mike Young on February 26, 2015 at 4:10 pm

James Harden is enjoying an MVP-caliber season but the most exciting team in Texas might be a high school squad.

Plano West is relentless in the open court and affectionately referred to as the "highlight show" in a series of YouTube videos. The catalyst of it all? Buckeye signee Mickey Mitchell.

Stephen Jackson – not the former NBA player – has followed Plano West closely this season and is impressed by Mitchell's progress:

According to Jackson, Mitchell is the primary ball handler and providing a scoring punch when his team needs to. For example, he reached double figures in a five-game stretch in December. Of his games listed on MaxPreps.com, Mitchell only took 10 or more shots three times. So, generally, he's still looking to create for others – he has recorded five or more assists on at least 15 occasions. 

This week marked the beginning of the Texas state basketball playoffs and Plano West entered with a 26-2 overall record and ranked No. 1 in the state. The Wolves jumped on Timber Creek early, Tuesday, and won their first tournament game by 21. Their next game is Saturday against Coppell. 

Lyle's Scheduled Surgery

When the Chicago Bulls announced Derrick Rose suffered another knee injury, there was a genuine outpouring of respect from his peers.

Recent Ohio State commit JaQuan Lyle does not share Rose's injury history, but they will both undergo surgery for a torn meniscus. Lyle is certainly deserving of his share of well-wishes.

B1G Brings Negative recruiting Upon Itself

Thad Matta's nightmare is just beginning. 

Thanks to a seven-day break between games, Ohio State's staff spent most of last week recruiting. While out on the trail, Matta faced a flurry of questions about the Big Ten discussing freshman ineligibility.

Predictably, fellow coaches are using it against Matta and OSU.

"It’s been a nightmare. All of our coaches are dealing with it," Matta said, via our Tim Shoemaker. "We’re getting crushed in this thing. It’s not going to happen, but why they linked the Big Ten to it I don’t know. I’ve been dealing with that the last couple days trying to explain if it does happen, which it’s not going to, but if it does it’s not just the Big Ten it will be across college basketball."

Matta's B1G superiors are not doing him any favors, however. He adamantly stated his lack of support for this proposal, Saturday, prior to the Buckeyes' trip to Ann Arbor.

On Tuesday, the conference released a statement on their discussions about "further enhancing academics in intercollegiate athletics." Matta can dismiss the validity of the proposal but the Big Ten went through the effort of rebranding the term "freshman ineligibility."

I guess this phrasing more palatable (emphasis is mine): 

The conference unanimously decided it would be important at this juncture to reach out to a diverse group of thought leaders in an effort to obtain as much feedback as possible to a number of important areas impacting academics on campus.  Those areas include the potential establishment of a year of readiness for all sports—or select sports; student-athlete time demands; playing seasons; initial eligibility requirements; and other areas impacting academics on college campuses across the country.  

To be fair, the full statement backs up Matta's reasoning on the B1G unilaterally adopting this sort of measure – it won't happen. Still, something this drastic is hardly worth the discussion and headache it has already created.

Battle Cuts List

The "next Kyrie Irving" might join the current version of Irving in Ohio.

Tyus Battle, compared to Irving by Gill St. Bernard's (Gladstone, New Jersey) head coach Mergin Sina, has trimmed his list of potential schools. Battle is a five-star guard in the class of 2016 and will consider Ohio State, in addition to Connecticut, Duke, Louisville, Michigan, Notre Dame, and Syracuse.

"We aren’t going to have a long recruiting process," Battle's father told Scout.com. "Tyus doesn’t really enjoy the process. We aren’t in a rush, but he’s not the kind of kid that is going to wait just because."

Battle took an unofficial visit to Columbus last year and was unable to take one to Ann Arbor for Sunday's game, according to Adam Zagoria.

He also injured his toe with Michigan's John Beilein and Notre Dame's Mike Brey in attendance at his game on Wednesday.

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