Mitchell Has Week Worthy Of Honor

Alabama Basketball Coach Anthony Grant wasn't taking anything away from Florida senior Chandler Parson. Grant knew that Parson had an excellent week, averaging 17.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.5 steals in wins over Vanderbilt and Kentucky.

The Southeastern Conference took note and made Parson the league player of the week.

Alabama's victories over Mississippi State and Tennessee didn't go overlooked. The Crimson Tide stayed number one overall in the SEC race at 7-1 with two wins last week, and Bama's Trevor Releford was the SEC Freshman of the Week.

More than a few thought Alabama sophomore forward Tony Mitchell would be the league's choice as player of the week. Mitchell scored a career high 23 points in a win against Mississippi State in Coleman Coliseum last week. The Tide went on the road to Tennessee Saturday and Mitchell bettered his previous mark, a new career high of 24 points in a win over the Vols.

Alabama had a tough time offensively in the second half at Tennessee, scoring only 17 points. Mitchell had nine of them, including two free throws in overtime. Bama made 10-10 in overtime to get the 65-60 victory that improved Bama to 15-7 overall.

Mitchell had nine field goals in 18 attempts against the Vols, the sixth time this season he has had nine field goals in a game. He has scored in double digits in 21 of 22 Tide games this year.

Alabama Coach Anthony Grant said, "I thought Tony had a great week. He does other things than scoring. He goes to the glass. He makes plays when they are needed to be made.

"Scoring takes two seconds. You can affect the game in a lot of ways.

"Tony took advantage of his opportunities."

Mitchell had seven rebounds against Mississippi State and six against Tennessee. He blocked three shots and had two steals in each game.

This week Mitchell and his Crimson Tide teammates have a Thursday night game at Memorial Gym in Nashville, where it has been 20 years since Bama defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores. Vandy is 16-6 overall and 4-4 in SEC play and ranked 23rd in the nation.

Mitchell, 6-6, 210, said that it has been enjoyable in winning seven of eight games in the first half of SEC play. "But we've still got a lot of work to do," he said. "Vanderbilt is a good team. We have to go with a good game plan and stay the course."

Alabama has won 10 of its last 11 games and has won three of four SEC road games and all three games against SEC Eastern Division opponents – Kentucky and South Carolina in Tuscaloosa and Tennessee on the road. "We've been going out and taking every game as one," Mitchell said. "You have to stay focused, play one game at a time."

Mitchell said that Alabama's early season struggles came at a time when the Tide was "finding out how to play the game and play together. We have talent, and we had to learn how to use all our weapons."

He said that his good week of work against Mississippi State and Tennessee was the result of "my teammates finding me and getting the ball to me when I was open."

Alabama has been successful this year because of its defense, allowing just 57.1 points per game and forcing almost 15 turnovers per game.

"If you want to get dunks, you have to get stops," said Mitchell, who leads Bama with 41 dunks. "You play defense hard, get a stop, and then get out in transition."

Mitchell said, "I love the game of basketball. I try to come out and give all I have. For some, it's a business. It's always been fun for me. I think it's because I always played against older guys growing up and it made me competitive."

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