Wendell Mitchell: Evaluation

Wendell Mitchell

Wendell Mitchell was one the players who jumped out at me during April, at the Jayhawk Invitational.

Introduction

A rising senior combo guard, Wendell Mitchell makes for a challenging evaluation. He didn't enter our radar until the spring of his junior season, impressing with the Houston Defenders at the opening Under Armour event.

But his play became sporadic thereafter. He enjoyed some outstanding moments with the Defenders, in a team setting, but the disappointed at the NBPA Top 100 Camp in June. (In fairness, that team was a mess and multiple players struggled).

He righted the ship in July but didn't play as well as when I'd observed him in April. From a rankings perspective, he entered the top 100 out of the blue and then fell out, though he retains a strong, four-star rating.

Assets

Mitchell is a scorer, plain and simple. He doesn't make any pretense of being a setup guy, he wants to get his own shot. And he's able to do so frequently, thanks to outstanding quickness and speed in the open floor. Despite being all the small side for a wing, he's a good finisher thanks to craft and a knack for short, off-balance shots.

At the Jayhawk, he made a left baseline runner over a big man that made me want to rank him then and there. That's the kind of stuff you can't teach, so we know Mitchell possess high-major scoring ability.

For Mitchell, speed and aggression are key

Meanwhile, he's also a capable three-point shooter. He can catch fire from deep and boasts ample range past the stripe, and he has proved he can knock down contested shots as well.

Though offense is his specialty, Mitchell possesses the feet and lean strength to develop into a solid college defender who could defend some point guards in addition to many wings.

Deficits

Most puzzling is his lack of consistency. A player holding the gifts he does should be able to exert an impact game to game, even if he isn't playing well. But Mitchell sometimes gets lost in the shuffle, and at times I have found myself wanting more. It isn't a lack of talent, just a lack of consistent presence.

He sometimes appears to go as his jump shot goes. I've observed Mitchell hit a couple shots early and start grooving, while on other occasions he'll begin cold and never get into the flow of the game. Becoming a more consistent shooter is part of his evolvement, and so is playing through a cold shooting spell.

Otherwise, he's definitely a little small for the wing at 6-2. He'll face certain matchup difficulties on both ends, likely in the form of taller, longer opponents.

Outlook

Despite an up and down travel circuit, the bottom line is that Mitchell went from national unknown to legitimate high-major prospect. There's no disputing that he capitalized on the travel circuit and placed himself in contention for big things at the next level.

His success there will hinge primarily on internal factors, of course, but choosing the right system also will help. If Mitchell lands in an uptempo setting that allows for creative scoring freedom and can live with bouts of inefficiency or wildness, he's likely to thrive. This isn't the guy to chain down on an overly structured, possession by possession basis.

Clearly, Mitchell will be one of the players we track most closely during his senior season. Don't be surprised if he continues on his upward trajectory.

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