Mickey Mitchell, the 119th prospect in 247Sports' Class of 2015 rankings, had an up-and-down recruitment with Ohio State, but in the end, the lure of Columbus to play for Thad Matta was just too much to pass up. Mitchell joins other four-star recruits JaQuan Lyle, A.J Harris, Austin Grandstaff, and Daniel Giddens to give Ohio State an impressive core of talent the next few years.
Mitchell can do pretty much everything on the basketball court when it comes to scoring and rebounding, but where the small forward from Texas is most dangerous is with his ability to pass the basketball. Even though he isn't projected to get major minutes during his freshman season, his versatility on the court could earn him more floor time than projected.
A Look Back:
After his brother was a part of Ohio State's 2013 football recruiting class, Mickey Mitchell committed to Ohio State in August 2013. Thad Matta and the Buckeyes were hot after Mitchell even though he tore a knee ligament while playing quarterback in high school, where he was a major-college QB prospect, in 2012. The knee injury caused Mitchell to miss the 2013 AAU and high school basketball seasons, but also did lead him to focus solely on basketball.
As if dealing with a knee injury wasn't enough, Mickey's father was dealing with some health problems, which were later learned to be cluster headaches which didn't allow for him to travel. Following the 2013 season, Mickey's brother Mike decided to transfer back to Texas Tech, where he would be closer to his family. Many were wondering if a decommitment from Mickey would be soon to follow, and almost a year after committing to the Buckeyes, Mickey decommited.
Luckily for Buckeyes fans, the decommitment from Mickey Mitchell was shortlived. Just a few weeks after his decommitment, Mitchell recommitted his intentions to play basketball for the Buckeyes. This allowed Mitchell to focus on excelling in his senior season, where he helped Plano West win a Texas State Championship. For the season, Mitchell averaged 9.5 points per game, 6.1 rebounds per game, and 5.9 assists per game.
Outlook for 2015-16:
Even with his tremendous skills, it might be asking a lot to see Mitchell get serious minutes in his first year at Ohio State. As seen before with numerous talented freshmen during Thad Matta's time, they might get solid minutes during the non-conference schedule, but once the Big Ten portion of the schedule hits, they don't come off the much that much.
It doesn't help that Mitchell is slotted as a small forward, which already has some depth with Marc Loving and Keita Bates-Diop. Mitchell certainly has the talent to make a name for himself during his time in Columbus, but it just might be during the sophomore season and after when people really start to learn just how great of a player he has the potential to be.
Best Case Scenario:
Mitchell impresses enough during the early portions of the weak non-conference schedule and earns more minutes in some of the higher-profile non-conference games, where he shows just how versatile he is on the court. Even though he projects as a small forward, Mitchell could play a number of other positions, which gives him the upper hand on some of the other incoming freshman. With the versatility, Mitchell becomes a strong option of the bench and works his way into Thad Matta's typically tight rotation.
Worst Case Scenario:
After getting some run in the non-conference schedule, Mitchell finds himself farther down on the bench during the Big Ten portion of the schedule. With the depth at small forward Ohio State already has, along with the incoming recruits, there just isn't enough minutes to go around and Mitchell gets left on the outside looking in. This wouldn't be on knock on Mitchell's ability, but Thad Matta just tightens up his subs when Big Ten play begins. Mitchell still is able to get a feel for Big Ten basketball, which should have him ready to have a bigger impact during his sophomore season.