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Blog Entry

UNT's Tony Mitchell eager to get back on hardwood

Posted on: November 11, 2011 1:32 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2011 3:29 pm
 

By Jeff Borzello

North Texas kicks off its season against St. Gregory’s tonight, but the Mean Green’s season won’t really start until December 18.

That’s when freshman Tony Mitchell becomes eligible.

“Everybody’s talking about it,” Mitchell said by phone.

“We’re excited about that date,” head coach Johnny Jones added. “It will be an exciting time for us.”

While not playing at one of the BCS-conference schools, Mitchell will be one of the biggest impact freshmen in the country. He originally signed with Missouri out of high school, but the five-star prospect was ruled a partial qualifier due to questions about his transcript and test scores.

Since the Big 12 does not allow partial qualifiers, Mitchell decided he would rather go to another four-year college and sit out as opposed to junior college. North Texas was on Mitchell’s final list before he chose the Tigers – and the Mean Green allow partial qualifiers.

Jones had pursued Mitchell throughout his recruitment, and even welcomed him on campus for an official visit before he chose Missouri. For the Dallas native, it was an easy option.

“It’s basically like Missouri, with the family atmosphere,” Mitchell said. “It was a no brainer.”

Mitchell hasn’t been allowed to practice with the team since arriving at North Texas, but he’s been working out with his trainer to refine his game and expand his skill set. Moreover, he made the U-19 USA team that played in Latvia this summer.

The 6-foot-9 Mitchell led the team in rebounding (7.6) and blocks (1.8) per game, also contributing 5.0 points a contest.

“It was a very exciting, fun experience,” he said. “I just wanted to make my presence felt, make sure everyone hasn’t forgotten about me. I just played, did what I did best.”

Mitchell said it’s been difficult not to be able to play with his future Mean Green teammates, but the time away from the court has allowed him to focus on things outside of basketball. He has concentrated more on academics – the reason he is at North Texas in the first place – and he has matured on and off the hardwood.

Because he has no teammates to rely on yet, Mitchell has needed to become more independent in terms of his work ethic and schoolwork.

“He’s had to sit there and do some things academically on his own,” Jones said. “Because of his set back, it’s helped him in a sense. He had to apply himself in a different way. He’s really grown.”

“I’m basically being a college student,” Mitchell added.

North Texas went 22-11 last season, losing on a last-second shot to Arkansas-Little Rock in the Sun Belt title game. Moreover, the Mean Green lose the majority of last year’s team, including their top four scorers.

There is certainly room for Mitchell to step in and contribute immediately – and Jones needs him to be a star right off the bat. Despite not working out with the team or playing organized basketball for the better part of 18 months, Mitchell will need to shake the rust off quickly.

“Tony can play in any conference, and that’s how I gauge kids,” Jones said. “He has the ability to come in and make people around him better.”

CBSSports.com ranked Mitchell No. 16 among the freshmen entering college, because he should be able to come in and dominate the Sun Belt immediately. His talent along puts him on a different level than most players at the mid-major level.

Throw in the hunger and motivation of sitting out last season, and Mitchell is ready to get back on the court.

“I’m ready to make a huge impact,” he said. “But you still have to prove yourself. I have to live up to the expectations.”

North Texas is confident he will be worth the wait.

Photos: USA Basketball 

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Comments

Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: November 19, 2011 12:17 pm
 

UNT's Tony Mitchell eager to get back on hardwood

KSUCat01...your coach recommended to his family, Tony M. & his mom thet he enter BB prep. school in Miami, FL.. Tony and his mom realized just BB factory and school didn't pay attention to academics, so his mother pulled Tony M. out of prep. and but him back in school at Pinksin HS. in Dallas, TX. That's where all the issue of Tony's HS grades (jr. year) not transferring from prep. school in Miami, FL. to Pinkins. This issue of prep. school and grades infureated (sp) Tony M.'s mom. At that point mom said no more KSU, and they looked at MSU and committing to them. However, all the issue with prep. grades and Pinkson HS. (DISD) prevented Tony M. from qualifying on time. So, no MSU and BigXII. KSU and your coach caused all this, but you put the blame on Tony M., shame on you. Enter UNT with an opportiny to play for a team that's won over 20 games each of the last 5 seasons. UNT and coach Jones just recruited 31st best class in the US in 2011 per Texashoops.com. Then enter Tony Mitchell committing and Rodger Franklin (transfer from Oklahoma St.), and "BAM" much better 2011 recruiting class. Please don't misrepresent what happened to Tony Mitchell and put it at his feet when it was really KSU, and it's coaching staff.

As of Dec. 16th or so Tony M. won't be looking back, but playing great D1 BB at great school, as all of this qualifying situation will be behind him. Oh, as for your thought of Tony M. not making good at D1 level his is carriering approx. 3.25 or better GPA at UNT, so much for "stupid basketball player label" I can say for sure but I don't think KSU had any players on the USA U19 basketball team this year, but I could be wrong. All I know is UNT did per Tony Mitchell and we're grateful for that.

Good luck this year. We'll see you at the dance in March of 2012!!!!  




Since: Nov 11, 2008
Posted on: November 14, 2011 5:31 pm
 

UNT's Tony Mitchell eager to get back on hardwood

Oh yeah, real big class act..committed to Kansas State..then turned on them and went to a conference rival..and then didn't qualify academically and decided not to go there either.  He has already hurt two basketball programs and hasn't even touched the court.  He is really someone that commits to something and then follows through...oh wait.  My guess is the kid never pans out, which is unfortunate, he obviously has the talent.



Since: Aug 23, 2006
Posted on: November 12, 2011 8:24 am
 

UNT's Tony Mitchell eager to get back on hardwood

What an outstanding player, and a class act to boot.  I anticipate a legendary college career in his 2, maybe 3, years at North Texas before he goes as a lottery pick in the NBA draft.


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