USA Hoops: Tasmin Mitchell

<b>COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. –</b> "Taz" is determined to improve his game this summer. The pre-July No. 1 prospect shared his thoughts on his recruitment, his game and his standing in the Class of 2005.

The vocal leader of the South squad is 6-foot-7 combo forward Tasmin Mitchell. The South is off to an outstanding start at the festival and Mitchell is accounting for 17.5 points and 5 boards a game.

Mitchell looks and sounds like the perfect teammate. He's a hustler on the court, always talking to someone and when he's not in the game he's been a star on the bench as well.

"Taz" entered June as the No. 1 prospect on our list. He's not going to be able to retain his spot at the top when we revise our summer rankings, but he'll be diligently working on improving throughout the next five weeks. He's ready to close out his final summer on the circuit with a bang.

"I'm going to close it by playing my game," Mitchell said. "I'm about team ball. I want to get better with the ball and work on my ball handling and dribbling. In college I'll be a three. I want to be versatile."

Mitchell said that he wants to continue getting stronger and increase his versatility. So far, his jumpshot has been much improved since April and he's a legit small forward, albeit a very powerful one. He's not upset about being 6-7 or the fact that he hasn't grow in height much since his sophomore year. In fact, he says that if he had gotten taller who knows if he would have played as hard or been as versatile.

At camp, he's shooting 13-for-18 from field and 2-for-4 from behind the arc. You know once he hits the road with the New Orleans Jazz that his teams are going to be in contention for championships so it should come as no big surprise that his camp team is winning. In fact, after last year's state title and last summer's run with Sports Academy and Glen Davis, Mitchell has more than proven he can get to the winner's circle.

Mitchell saw part of the draft Thursday night but he knows that college is for him out of high school. "Some guys in my class are focused on the jump. Right now, I'm ready for college. I want to go to go rumble to the Final Four and win a title just like "Melo" did. I'm going to LSU or Kentucky."

Ah, LSU or Kentucky. The two SEC schools are his finalists and most think he'll wind up at LSU where assistant Butch Pierre is his Godfather. Mitchell says that he's no slam dunk for the Tigers.

"[Butch Pierre] don't have nothing to do with it. He's another father figure and when we talk it's not about basketball. It's not a done deal [for LSU]. I'm still looking at my options and if that wasn't the case I'd be committed already."

Finally, we asked Mitchell to tell us who his No. 1 prospect is in the class and where he shakes out. "Basically, I think it's Louis [Williams]. I give him No. 1 and me No. 2."

What about South teammate Richard Hendrix? "Hendrix is No. 3 but he might be No. 1, there's no telling."


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