Even with good reason, Mark Mitchell was determined for the pity party to be a short-lived experience.
After re-injuring his elbow within the first 10 minutes of his first game this spring, Mitchell knew he’d be parked for his final season on the circuit.
“I had injured it during the high school season, but I worked through it and came back,” Mitchell said. “Then I did it again and I knew that was it. It was hard, just having the COVID summer last year, so I couldn’t play as much now this happens. But I realized moping around wasn’t gonna help either, so I kept a good attitude. I’m back to 100 percent now.”
Mitchell hit the ground running once he was cleared in August, working to improve his jump shot on all levels.
“I can shoot, but I want to be more consistent,” said Mitchell, a senior forward. “It’s already gotten a lot better. I feel like that’s the thing that’s taking my game to the next level.”
Where he’ll showcase said improvement at the next level is anyone’s guess at this point.
Duke, Missouri, Kansas and UCLA round out Mitchell’s top four, and he’s halfway through a second round of visits to each campus.
Mitchell visited Missouri this past weekend and will visit Duke this coming weekend.
“That’s it, that’s all the visits I’ll take,” said Mitchell, who average 18 points and nine rebounds a game last season. “After that I’ll just watch the teams this season. I want to see how things are going with them and then weigh things out. I think I’ll have a decision by around December.”
Still, getting to the point where he’s ready to make the call seems a bit daunting to Mitchell at this point.
“It’s tough,” Mitchell said. “Duke wants to build a super class for Coach (Jon) Scheyer’s first year, Kansas is close to home, Mizzou is a different type of program than all of them, UCLA is a really good program and my brother lives out there, so it’s a lot of different perspectives that make it harder. Then I’ve got recruits in my class from all four schools that are recruiting me! Gradey (Dick) is my roommate, so I hear a lot from him on Kansas. I’d say it’s at about an eight stress level.”
The easier part is which type of program he feels will best serve his skill set as a versatile 6-foot-8 forward.
“I want to be able to initiate offense, playing multiple positions, setting screens, posting up smaller guards, just everything,” Mitchell said. “All of them feel like I fit that mold, so I’m pretty confident that I’d be successful no matter where I decide to go. I don’t know, it’s just gonna come down to which school I feel like fits me best.”