Despite what you may have heard, AAU tournaments can be highly competitive. And team success does matter, both as a matter of how it reflects on a player's abilities to win and simply because deeper tournament runs create more exposure opportunities.
The Houston Defenders lost in overtime to the Illinois Wolves in the semifinal of the Jayhawk Invitational, and had they advanced to the final even more folks would have been able to catch Wendell Mitchell's exploits in action.
Mitchell is a pure scorer. He has the size of a combo guard (6-2) and that's his natural role, but I view him as more effective off the ball than on it. He's a burst player, not a quarterback or a game manager. He also can be pressure into turnovers off the dribble.
He's at his best off the catch and creating action with the first few seconds, either exploding to the bucket or launching a long jump shot.
While not a textbook shooter, he's a gamer. Mitchell elevates nicely on his jump shot and buried several heavily contested threes during my viewings. His shot selection sometimes can waver, but that's what being a volume scorer is all about. Not relying on others, he's very effective creating for himself.
His athleticism and ability to knock in shots off-balance, on the move and against defensive pressure suggest that he could develop into a college surprise. He buried a very difficult baseline jumper off an in-bounds play to send the game versus the Wolves into overtime, his concentration looming as one of his most impressive qualities.
Without question, Mitchell will be a must-evaluate as we continue in the Association league play.