Bama's Mitchell Gets High Praise
For Alabama Saturday in it's 69-56 win over Arkansas, Tony Mitchell's antics were on full display. There were the dunks, there was a key put-back late, and a key steal, too. Mitchell's final stat line of a career-high 27 points, nine rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals in 37 minutes doesn't really tell the full story of his role that put his team back atop the SEC standings.
It's the third time this month Mitchell has broken his career high, and the fifth time in the last six contest he's eclipsed the 20-point mark. Further, Mitchell had an assist he won't soon forget when he tossed a perfect alley-oop to JaMychal Green that the junior slammed hard through the rim as part an 18-5, game-closing Tide run.
"(Green) was pointing for it," Mitchell said. "I missed him the first time and I made sure I found him the second time."
"I thought (Mitchell) was outstanding," said Alabama Coach Anthony Grant. "I thought some of the plays he made in the second half -- the steal, the dunks -- took the wind out of (Arkansas). He was just spectacular."
"I just credit my teammates for finding me, and giving me the opportunity to score the baskets," said Mitchell.
Any concerns Tide fans had about Mitchell's sore right hand following a missed dunk in Thursday's win over LSU were allayed when the high-flying sophomore was announced in the starting lineup.
"He's getting better every game. He's very confident right now," said Hogs coach John Peppery. "That shows. He's a high-energy guy, and he impacts the game with transition baskets and offensive rebounding. He's obviously worked very hard, and is very athletic. He's even hitting 3-pont shots now."
"You can tell he worked a lot on his game since last year and he plays hard, every possession.," said Arkansas forward Glenn Bryant.
Said Alabama point guard Trevor Releford, "When Tony's on like that, I just try to keep finding him. Tony just gets up over the rim and outworks his opponent. That's how he scores his points."
Mitchell said the view from the ceiling at Coleman Coliseum "is pretty nice. There's a lot of lights up there."
Asked about a backyard trampoline from his childhood, Mitchell admitted that he "got a lot of whooping when I was a little boy for dragging the basketball goal across the yard and tearing up grass, tearing up the yard (to get it by the trampoline).
As for his dunks, Mitchell said, "I look at what LeBron (James) and Kobe (Bryant) are doing. I'm going for Blake Griffin in the NBA Dunk Contest.
NOTES: With the win, Alabama exceeded last year's win total of 17 and clinched no worse than a share of the SEC Western Division crown for the first time since 2005 and just the second time since divisional play began.
With its 13th win in the last 15 games, the Tide moved to 24-28 all-time against Arkansas, and 15-5 in Tuscaloosa…The Crimson Tide is a perfect 14-0 at home this year and has won 15 straight at home…The 10-2 start in conference play equals that of the 2001-2002 team, the last Alabama team to win the SEC regular season title… The Tide moved to a half-game lead over Florida for the overall conference lead, pending the Gators' trip to Baton Rouge Sunday.
Many of the nation's top juniors in the high school football ranks were at the game as part of the Tide's second Junior Day event. Perhaps the two best-known were running back Barry Sanders, Jr. (accompanied by his dad) and Hueytown star quarterback Jameis Winston. Both players are considered among the best in the land at their respective positions. As could be expected, Tide Football Coach Nick Saban drew a huge cheer when he was shown on the video board, and TV showed him seated between Sanders Jr and Sr.
Speaking of recruiting, with Angelo Chol's Arizona pledge week, the biggest name left on the Tide hoops board is Huntsville-Butler guard Trevor Lacey, who is visiting Lexington this weekend. Though Connecticut and Auburn remain on his list, Lacey is most likely down to Alabama and Kentucky.
Former Tide basketball player Terrance "Doc" Martin was at the game in a pro-scouting capacity with the NBA‘s New Orleans Hornets.
No one thinks this was a coincidence. The media pre-game meal was barbecue pork.
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